Bubba Watson is not one of the more well-liked PGA Tour players. He has been known to throw hissy fits and berate his caddy in front of fans. It leads people to wonder, does Bubba have an anger problem?
As social creatures, we are concerned, often to a fault, with whether or not other people like us. You would think that Bubba would try to behave affably and maintain composure, all for the sake of pleasing viewers on TV.
It seems that gaining approval from the masses is not a top priority. If it were, Watson wouldn’t be engaging in the negative behavior he displays when things don’t go his way on the course.
As it turns out, outsiders just misunderstand him. Watson might be one of the most introverted and fearful PGA professionals in the sport.
In a recent 60 minutes interview with Sharyn Alfonsi, the 37-year-old admits to having general anxiety. He says the physical part of the game is easy for him. The mental part is an entirely different matter, though.
“I have a lot of mental issues that I am just so fearful of things, which I shouldn’t be, right?” Watson told Alfonsi. “Scared of heights. Scared of buildings falling on me. Scared of the dark. Scared of crowds. Those are my biggest issues.”
In one such instance, Waston’s fear of crowds triggered his “defense mechanism” at the Travelers Championship in 2013. He lost a lot of fans after he ripped into his caddy after a shot went in the water.
Passing blame is a common response to stress when one feels that others are contributing to it. Watson used his caddy as a way of explaining away his irritation, even though his anxiety was the main cause for his poor performance.
Does Bubba Watson truly have an anger problem?
Anger is a completely normal, usually healthy, human emotion. It becomes a problem when it surfaces for no reason or is unable to go away. That’s when it can start to interfere with work and personal relationships.
Arguably, Watson’s anger outbursts have damaged his professional image. With millions of dollars of sponsorship money on the line, companies expect him to act like a role model – not an explosive teenage boy.
Furthermore, overt aggression is not accepted on the course. Golfers are expected to control their emotions. Golf is considered a gentleman’s game. Players are expected to follow certain rules and etiquette.
At least Watson recognizes the source of his anger comes from his anxiety. Many people are reluctant to acknowledge they are afraid at all.
People still like Watson for his unorthodox style of play and seemingly great sense of humor (take a look at the hilarious Golf Boys video below). He just needs to learn a few coping mechanisms and control his anxiety better.