Rumored to have been paid a $200,000 appearance fee, Bubba Watson played in the French Open on the European Tour this week. It was Bubba’s first trip to France, and for some reason, I think it might be his last.
Prior to the first round, he toured several of Paris’ most famous sites, but apparently he wasn’t exactly aware of what he saw. Here’s a gem from his Wednesday pre-tourney presser that might make you cower into the fetal position…
Q. I heard you went to Paris yesterday?
BUBBA WATSON: Yeah, yesterday.
Q. Did you like — what did you see?
BUBBA WATSON: I don’t know the names of all the things, the big tower, Eiffel Tower, an arch, whatever that — I rode around in a circle. And then what’s that — it starts with an L, Louvre, something like that. One of those. And then we just went around to different shops, just kind of walked down the streets and went to different shops and just to see if there was anything we wanted to buy. Just kind of looked around and kind of road around and really that’s it, just to see stuff that we don’t get to see normal.
That big tower! It starts with an L! Hasn’t he read — I mean, watched The Da Vinci Code??
And apparently Bubba is very homesick and acting like a prima donna (which isn’t uncommon for him in the States, but they don’t cater to that in Europe). When I read Bernie McGuire’s account of Bubba’s trip (hat tip: Geoff Shackelford), I cringed with second-hand embarrassment:
Also Watson’s been ‘difficult’ all week by declining simple requests for interviews and even an approach from one of SKY’s more attractive female employees to film a head shot of him during the informality of Wednesday’s Pro-Am.
“See my manager,” was his only comment.
Also it’s believed Watson refused to share a courtesy car from his hotel to the course with a European Tour player and instead demanded his own courtesy car.
You don’t do those things in Europe.
And Watson’s also done little to earn the appearance money he’s been reportedly paid.
He’s known to enjoy spending time with young children but has Waston asked to host a clinic for young French golfers? Of course not!
For all you may think about Tiger Woods, at least the former long running World No. 1 happily agreed to bringing smiles to young golfers.
All Watson’s done is tarnish his fun-loving image and drawn comparisons to the ‘ugly American tourist’ that we all thought we saw the back of decades ago.
Oh, it gets better. After Bubba missed the cut, he blamed the poor security for his unenthusiastic showing at his first European Tour event, according to Reuters:
“It’s different for me, there’s cameras, there’s phones, there’s everything, no security,” a visibly disgruntled Watson told reporters. “I don’t know which holes to walk through, there’s no ropes. It’s something I’m not used to, I’m not comfortable with.”
European Tour tournament director David Probyn said the American would have to experience plenty of disturbance on his home tour, but did admit that course security was much more relaxed in Europe.
“You can’t ban everyone who is carrying a mobile phone,” the tour’s senior tournament director said. “It’s the same with cameras. You can’t scan everyone for a camera at every event, that would just make it hard for people to watch golf and we don’t want to do that.
“Sure, we are not as rigorous with the way we run things as they might be in America. But we don’t have 1,200 volunteers like they have in America for a tournament. Anyway, our players are happy to walk through the crowds.”
Bubba will return to Europe sooner than he’d probably prefer to play in the British Open in less than two weeks, but he can’t get out of France quick enough:
Watson said he would now “go sightseeing real quick and get home as fast as possible.” He will play the British Open in two weeks’ time “because it’s a major,” but he would not commit to his entry for the Scandinavian Masters the week after Royal St George’s.
“I think this might be the only one,” said Bubba when asked if he would play more globally going forward. “I miss my home.”
/shaking head, burying face in hands
(AP Photo/Bob Edme)