Golf

Bubba a media darling after Masters

Rick Horrow discusses the Bubba Watson brand.
Rick Horrow discusses the Bubba Watson brand.
Sports Xchange Tom LaMarre
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Bubba Watson will come back down to earth this week, with touchdown set for TPC Louisiana.

The Masters champion has learned to change diapers, spoken on the phone with President Obama, rubbed elbows with Tim Tebow and charmed America with his down-home candor on almost every talk show in existence since winning the green jacket.

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On Thursday, he will begin defense of his title in the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, where tournament officials were holding their collective breath. Within hours after Watson whipped a 40-yard hook shot out of the trees to beat Louis Oosthuizen in a playoff at Augusta National, Bubba was asked on Twitter whether he still was going to defend in New Orleans.

"Great question. Great question," was the answer.

Tournament organizers in New Orleans, euphoric that their defender was wearing the green jacket, must have gone into a state of apoplexy when they heard that. Not to worry.

All they had to do was tune in to "Late Show with David Letterman" to learn that Watson hadn't made other plans.

"I'm going to go back to New Orleans and defend my title there," Bubba said into the camera when asked about his next tournament.

Letterman was one of what PGA Tour officials said was an unofficial record of 13 shows Watson appeared on in a whirlwind 48-hour media blitz in New York. When it was over, probably even before that, all he wanted to do was get home to his wife, Angie, and their newly adopted 1-year-old son, Caleb, in Florida.

"It will be the first time we will be home together by ourselves," the 33-year-old Watson said.

It was for only two days, but Bubba took New York, sort of like the British army in 1776. All the anchors, commentators and celebrities wanted to meet him. During interviews, he was folksy, funny and charming, never seeming to tire of the attention he said he never has pursued.

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When Letterman asked Watson to describe his personal style and approach to golf, he paused before flashing his goofy smile and said: "Awesome."

After Piers Morgan of CNN asked if he thought Augusta National should admit women as members, Watson gave a political answer before turning the question around on his host. After Morgan said the green jackets should "just get over themselves," Bubba quipped: "I know who's not going to be a member — you."

When Bubba was asked on one show what he knows about finance, he said with yet another smile: "I know the government is going to take a lot of my check."

Before flying off to New York, he made a surprise appearance on "The Morning Drive" show on the Golf Channel, where he was asked what he might serve at the Champions Dinner the night before the first round of the Masters next year.

"I love Waffle House," he said. "A grilled cheese from Waffle House and hash browns."

Bubba was back in Florida on the weekend for the Tim Tebow Foundation Celebrity Golf Classic at TPC Sawgrass and had a present for the quarterback, who recently joined the New York Jets. Watson gave Tebow his player badge from the Masters, which oddly enough bore No. 15, Tebow's jersey number.

"It was very special," Tebow said. "He didn't have to do anything like that. He's just an amazing guy. He's been so supportive of me and my foundation."

When President Obama got through to Watson on his cell phone, the nonplussed Bubba greeted him with: "What's up, bud?" before switching gears quickly and saying, "I mean, Mr. President."

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TROPHY WAGs

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Watson will get the chance to meet Obama later this month because CBS has invited Bubba to be its guest at the White House correspondents dinner.

Bubba has charmed people almost everywhere he has gone except in Paris, where he created a public-relations nightmare for his handlers in a disastrous trip to play in the Alstom Open de France last year. It was bad enough that he complained about the lack of crowd control at Le Golf National, declined to share a courtesy car with another player and refused to take a pre-tournament mug shot to be shown on television.

Not to mention shooting 74-74 — 148 and missing the cut.

But he also didn't seem to be too impressed or even know all the names of French monuments such as the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, the Arc de Triomphe and the Palace of Versailles.

Obviously, Bubba-speak does not translate into French.

Tagged: Bubba Watson

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