• "It really hurt me a lot, hurt my family a lot," he said
• And despite hefty criticism, has vowed to return to the event
Bubba Watson revealed he was ‘really hurt’ and 'heartbroken' at his treatment by the media ahead of the Waste Management Phoenix Open – but has vowed to keep returning to play in the tournament.
The two-time Masters winner caused a stir in the build-up to the PGA Tour event, saying he ‘didn’t like’ the TPC Scottsdale course, insinuating that he was only there because of his sponsors.
As a result, he was heavily heckled by fans for the first three rounds, coming to a head on Saturday in front of a record crowd – 201,003 were in attendance – Watson backtracked and said he felt really hurt by the comments.
"The headline was a bad headline. It made me look bad" - Bubba Watson
“It really hurt me a lot, hurt my family a lot to see that and know how much we have supported this city, been behind this city,” said the 37-year-old. “When I say ‘city’, make sure I word that right, Phoenix and Scottsdale. It was pretty sad.
“The last three years we went to the Mission on Friday afternoon, made snack-packs for the kids – made 1,200 this year. I have lived here for the last eight winters. And for somebody to turn my words around -- when I say ‘turn my words around’, we don't read articles; we read headlines. And the headline was a bad headline. It made me look bad.”
But Watson has said he will be back at the event, despite feeling ‘pushed away’.
“Again, it was heartbreaking. And this is what pushes athletes away in many sports when the media starts putting labels on you. Very heartbreaking.
“Sad thing is I'm the first guy to register for this tournament. They put out the schedule, put it on our special website where we can register, and I sign up. Every year I'm the first guy to sign up here. I love signing up for my tournaments early to know that I have signed up so I won't forget to sign up.”
Bubba Watson retracts comments :: Your thoughts
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