Watson: I’m ready for it this time

European Tour

Bubba Watson feels he will deal with the pressure of being a Masters champion much better the second time around.

The 35-year-old admits he was overwhelmed after winning his first green jacket back in 2012, believing he almost “lucked into” a play-off victory over former Open champion Louis Oosthuizen.

That victory also came just days after Watson and his wife Angie had adopted a baby son.

Returning to Augusta in 2013, Watson struggled to cope with the attention on him as the defending champion.

“I didn’t know how to handle it the best way and so I didn’t play my best golf last year,” said Watson, who had a long barren spell inbetween his first Masters win and February’s Northern Trust Open.

“The team I have around me, we have always thought that I’ve had the talent.

“We always felt like I could play golf at a high level, but then to actually do it is the hard part. After getting the green jacket the first time it’s overwhelming, a guy named Bubba from a small town, born in Pensacola, Florida, raised in Bagdad; it’s crazy to think that you’ve won.

“Adopting my son the week before threw a wrench in there as well. Learning to be a dad and then learning to have a green jacket with you is two big things to adjust to.

“So it just took me a little time. When I won in LA (at the Northern Trust Open in February) I said I might never win again, but I’m going to give it my best effort. I just kept working hard, even though it doesn’t look like I practise that much.

“With hard work and my wife’s dedication we worked out schedules, how I can practise at a high level, if it’s 30 minutes or if it’s an hour, just get a quick practice in and then come back and be a dad and be a husband. We figured out our schedule and how to travel better and everything and here we are.

“The first time we treated it a lot different because of the family. I had to be there for my son and so golf was the farthest thing from my mind. So I took off some tournaments. Trying to be a good husband, a good dad at that moment was the most important thing.

“This one is a little bit different. My schedule is probably not going to change. Everything’s a go. We are trying to make the Ryder Cup team. We are trying to win the next tournament, trying to make the next cut. So it’s a lot different situation now than it was back then.”

Watson’s win on Sunday took him top of the Ryder Cup standings and United States’ captain Tom Watson was quick to send his congratulations, writing on Twitter: “Way to go Bubba! Enjoy your victory. See you on the plane to Gleneagles.”

As to the prospect of appearing in a third Ryder Cup, Watson added: “I love it, going over there (to Scotland) and playing golf, so I can’t wait.

“I know a win here is double points, so I figure I made the team. It’s a great feeling. I haven’t won a Ryder Cup yet, so that’s the next big tournament I’d like to win.”

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