Golf gets in the way of Bubba's Olympic experience
Bubba Watson is excited about the chance to be an Olympian.
Two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson is more excited about the chance to be an Olympian than he is about the opportunity to win a gold medal at the Rio Olympics.
The 37-year-old American will be part of golf's return to the Olympic lineup after a 112-year absence and he wants a chance to boost the sport's global appeal.
"A gold medal is not really what I'm looking at, just being on the team and being part of this," Watson said. "The reason we brought golf to the Olympics was to try to get the world involved and grow the game.
"The gold medal, or any medal, is a bonus." Watson, who captured green jackets in 2012 and 2014 at Augusta National, said he is going to a different Olympic sport every night as a spectator. "I'm going to be a fan of the Olympics and I can't wait," Watson said. "I've already bought my tickets from Monday to Saturday. I'm going to a different event every single night, and then golf gets in the way.
"Watching and meeting other athletes, that's going to be the growing part for who I am as a person." Watson will be needed to help restore some of the luster lost from the men's tournament when the world's four top-ranked players withdrew. He was the highest-ranked golfer when the 60-man Rio field was named, but Swede Henrik Stenson won the British Open to leap past him into fifth, Watson falling to sixth.
World number one Jason Day of Australia, America's second-ranked Dustin Johnson and number three Jordan Spieth and four-time major winner Rory McIlroy all cited the Zika virus, which has been linked to birth defects.
Watson, who had not dreamed of the Olympics until golf was in the lineup, had no Zika fears, having adopted children Dakota and Caleb because wife Angie is unable to have children. He said security in Rio was never a worry.
"I've had to adopt my two kids. We can't have kids. So that aspect is completely wiped away," Watson said. "When it comes to security, I mean, I've seen the worst. I grew up in what some people wouldn't say was a country club lifestyle, so I'm not worried about that.
"No matter what I finish, I don't care if I finish dead last. At the end of my career I get to say I played in the Olympics."
Watson joked he was fine as long as his business manager was with him. "I'm not worried about the security part. I've got my manager that's going to be right by my side, so as long as I can outrun him, we're good."
Watson will miss the opening ceremonies so he can defend his title at the PGA Travelers Championship from August 4-7 in Connecticut.