Bubba Watson: 'I was close to retiring'

Bubba Watson

Genesis Open champion Bubba Watson has revealed how 'close' he was to retirement after a tough 18 months battling an undisclosed illness.

The two-time Masters winner recorded bogey-free back nine at Riviera to edge out Kevin Na and Tony Finau by two strokes to lift his first PGA Tour title for two years after falling from inside the world top ten to No.117 in the rankings.

Since the 2016 Ryder Cup, where Watson was vice-captain after failing to get one of Davis Love III's captain's picks, he had managed only two top tens and, at a very low ebb, the left-hander admitted he considered quitting.

"I was close," he said. "But my wife was not close. My wife basically told me to quit whining and play golf. She's a lot tougher than I am. I get a paper cut and I'm out for a week or so. So yeah, for me it was tough.

"I would rather be healthy than play golf, so that's what I was focusing on, and I was focusing on the wrong things - pitiful me and not how beautiful my life was, things like that."

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Watson is renowned for displaying his emotions and, again, there were tears after he made his final putt on the 18th green. That, he said, was a culmination of everything that had transpired since missing out on the 2016 Ryder Cup.

"So from that downfall of the letdown of not making the team and then to get sick, to lose all this weight, family drama of my son starting school, my wife having surgery, five screws and a small plate in her leg, just all these things added in, never knowing if you're going to make it again - you don't know," he continued.

"We can't predict what health is going to come around the corner or what's going to happen around the corner. So you never know if that was going to be the last time.  You don't want it to be because I'm an athlete, I want it to keep going. The emotion was just that, like wow, I still have a chance in this game, so it was very emotional.”

Watson finished by quashing a remark made in the past that he'd retire if he made it to ten PGA Tour wins, which he did by winning for the third time at Riviera.

"I'm not going to retire," he added. "I've got two more years guaranteed now so I'm going to last two more at least. And I'm going to be at Augusta until they kick me out."

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