Bubba Watson wants to improve himself, not his golf

Sharyn Alfonsi profiles the compelling and controversial golfer Bubba Watson on the eve of his attempt to win a third green jacket at the Masters

The following is a script from "Bubba" which aired on April 3, 2016. Sharyn Alfonsi is the correspondent. Rome Hartman, producer.

When the 2016 Masters Tournament begins this week, much of the attention at Augusta National will be on the "young guns" of golf: Rory McIlroy, Jason Day, Rickie Fowler, and defending Masters champion Jordan Spieth. They're all in their twenties, and they've taken the PGA Tour by storm in the last couple of years especially Spieth, who's just 22.

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But those "kids" had better keep an eye on 37-year-old Bubba Watson. He's left-handed, self-taught, and has won more green jackets than any of the young guns...two of the last four.

Gerry "Bubba" Watson is one of the most gifted and creative shot-makers on the tour, but he's also one of the most complicated and polarizing personalities in golf.

Bubba Watson makes it look easy. At Estancia, a private club in Scottsdale, Arizona, he's playing a round with his wife Angie, his longtime tour caddy Ted Scott, and his childhood friend - now his accountant - Randall Wells. A relaxed foursome, with a trio of 60 Minutes camera crews tagging along.

Bubba Watson: I love it. You gonna go right there? I love it. Don't worry though. If it hits you, you won't even know it. 190 miles an hour, you won't even feel it.

This is "Bubba golf" -- a dash of juvenile, a dash of genius, and a full cup of cocky.

Caddie Ted Scott says that creativity--and a ... 01:16

Bubba Watson: Oh! That's a par. Stay one up.

Sharyn Alfonsi: Are they allowed to beat you?

Bubba Watson: Oh, they're allowed. They just can't.

Ted Scott: In 10 years of playing, you know, golf with him and caddying for him, really, he's only hit the ball bad a few times. So I don't really know where that comes from, but he's just-- he's a physical genius, you know, when it comes to his ability.

Watson doesn't like the driving range, and hates talking about technique. He just plays. He's one of the longest hitters on tour; his drives with that playful pink club average 315 yards, and he hardly ever hits the ball straight...everything's a hook or a slice, a fade or a draw.

Golfer Bubba Watson tells 60 Minutes why his ... 01:38

Sharyn Alfonsi: What have you seen him do?

Rickie Fowler: Pretty much everything possible on a golf course or that you thought might be impossible.

Fellow pro Rickie Fowler is also a close friend.

Rickie Fowler: It's pretty amazing what he can do. He is a freak.

The best example of that freakish talent came in one of the most famous shots in Masters history, on the second hole of a playoff in 2012. Watson's drive landed in the pine straw.

Bubba Watson: When I hit it in the woods, I was devastated. My shoulders went down. I was done. Then I get over there. When I walk down there, I see the crowd has made a path-- so I could pull this shot off, big hook.

[Jim Nantz, announcer: Did it hook? Oh, what a shot!]

Sharyn Alfonsi: How hard of a shot was that?

Ted Scott: It really is not that hard a shot for Bubba.

Sharyn Alfonsi: Come on.

Ted Scott: No, no, listen to me, listen-- hear me out. For Bubba to hook a golf ball 40 yards or whatever it is, that's not that hard for him to do. I mean, he does that for fun. If we would have been just playing golf for fun, I would have just said, "Good shot," 'cause I've seen him do that shot before.

That shot in 2012 produced a two-putt par and his first Masters victory. Angie had to watch from home with infant son Caleb, who they'd adopted just two weeks earlier. They were both there to see Watson win his second green jacket two years later. They've since adopted a daughter, Dakota.

Bubba and Angie Watson share their emotional ... 01:52

He's won four tournaments in the last two years and he's climbed to number four in the world.

Sharyn Alfonsi: And the legend is you never took a golf lesson?

Bubba Watson: Still haven't.

Sharyn Alfonsi: Is that true?

Bubba Watson: Yep. The physical game is easy. That sounds bad. But it's easy to me. I can do that. I can hit it far. I can curve it. I got the shots. It's just mentally being at that moment, right then.

Sharyn Alfonsi: And how hard is it to control the mental stuff for you?

Bubba Watson: It's getting better. Again, it's a process. It's a learning process. I'm getting better at it.

But it doesn't always look that way. A few petulant outbursts have alienated a lot of people.

"The physical game is easy. That sounds bad. But it's easy to me. I can do that. I can hit it far. I can curve it. I got the shots. It's just mentally being at that moment, right then."

[Bubba Watson: There's just no reason for me to show up.]

In Hartford in 2013, microphones picked him up criticizing Ted Scott for the nine iron he'd recommended.

[Bubba Watson: Water. It's in the water. Because of that club.]

Sharyn Alfonsi: All of a sudden everybody went, "Oh, my gosh, Bubba Watson's a jerk.

Bubba Watson: Well, so-- with-- with me, I gotta get my anger out. Don't let it linger. Just get it out. And Teddy knows. Teddy'll-- he always jokes, "Ten seconds. Give Bubba 10 seconds, he's good."

Ten seconds for Bubba, but it's left a lasting impression with some fans.

Ted Scott: My wish is that people wouldn't just be quick to judge over that moment in Hartford and I'll say this on TV, about-- I'd say probably 80 percent of the guys bash their caddies verbally on the tour.

Sharyn Alfonsi: Eighty percent?

Ted Scott: Guys that would be labeled the nicest guy on tour bashing his caddy. Why is that? Because it's pressure. You can't take it personally. If you're thin-skinned, you don't need to caddy, 'cause trust me, you're gonna get it. You know, it's just part of the job.

Perhaps, but when PGA players were asked last year which of their fellow golfers they'd be least likely to help in a fistfight, Watson finished first.

Bubba Watson: First time I heard this question or this poll came out was nobody wants to help Bubba in a fight. And I say, "Well, everybody thinks I'm tough. I like it." And my caddy, Teddy said, "No, that's not what they mean."

Sharyn Alfonsi: You missed it, Bud.

Bubba Watson: I said-- but that's what I'm goin' with. And he said, "People don't like you." And he said the reason - what Teddy told me is the reason why they don't like you, or they just don't understand you: 'cause you're nuts.

Sharyn Alfonsi: Were you surprised to hear that people didn't like you?

Bubba Watson: Nah.

Bubba Watson insists he's not tryingto rub people the wrong way...it's just tough for him to be in his own skin sometimes.

Bubba Watson: I have a lot of mental issues that I just am so fearful of things, which I shouldn't be, right? Scared of heights. Scared of buildings falling on me. Scared of the dark. Scared of crowds. Those are my biggest issues.

Sharyn Alfonsi: How do you reconcile that when you have to go out there and play golf with hundreds of people all around you?

Bubba Watson: You know, in between holes-- is really scary to me-- because there's so many people that close to you.

Sharyn Alfonsi: Scary?

Bubba Watson: Yes.

Sharyn Alfonsi: What are you scared of?

Bubba Watson: I'm just scared of people. It's just-- in general.

Ted Scott: He's scared of everything, EVERYTHING.

Ted Scott learned of Bubba's fears the first time they worked together, 10 years ago.

Ted Scott: There was a 10-year-old kid who asked for his autograph and we were out in the middle of nowhere and, you know, nobody really knew who Bubba was at the time. He was-- he was a rookie on tour. And this kid walked up to him and he just kind of ignored him like he didn't see him, and I thought, "Man, what a jerk." But then, as I got to know him, I realized even that young kid coming up to him as someone Bubba doesn't know is a fearful situation for him. And it sounds crazy, but it's crazy because it's not our fear.

Sharyn Alfonsi: He's legitimately fearful of people he doesn't know?

Ted Scott: Very fearful of that, absolutely.

That kind of fear would be enough to deal with, but Watson's nerve endings also seem to be closer to the surface than in most people.

[Bubba Watson: There's your boy over there. Do you see him? You see him.

Ted Scott: I see him.]

Ted Scott: Bubba notices everything. He'll be looking at me and say, "Look over your right shoulder, there's a guy with a red shirt and a blue cap and he's got his phone underneath that thing." And I'm like-- I mean, there's 3,000 people, I-- I can't even find 'em. He's like, "No, right there, man."

He did it with us, during a break in our interview.

Bubba Watson: When we're doing this interview do you hear them like clicking a pen, and tapping?

Sharyn Alfonsi: No, do you?

Bubba Watson: I hear them all the time. I'm like, can they hear that on the microphone? And this thing over here keeps flickering. You hear that?

Sharyn Alfonsi: No.

Bubba Watson: Gosh!

Ted Scott: Whew, man, he is a mess.

Sharyn Alfonsi: A mess?

Ted Scott: Yeah, he's a mess, but he's a fun mess, you know? I think Bubba is an extremely emotional person, but 95 percent of the time that's happiness.

Bubba Watson's emotions are most closely connected to one person.

Sharyn Alfonsi: Tell me about your dad.

Bubba Watson: Umm... (Cries)

Gerry Watson was an Army combat veteran, a Green Beret in Vietnam. He died in 2010.

Bubba Watson: My dad was a hard worker, very dedicated to his family--very smart. Didn't like to-- didn't like to be told what to do. Kind of where I get my stuff from. One of the things that I've learned from my dad is - good or bad - is not to trust.

Sharyn Alfonsi: You mentioned that he would sit with his back always-- he always wanted to be in the corner looking out. And-- and you're kinda the same way?

Bubba Watson: I-- I-- yeah, I've learned it from him. He didn't want people behind him. Because he wanted to always watch. He wanted to see what people were doing, just because of-- I'm guessing because of-- the stuff he's been through in his life.

Sharyn Alfonsi: Did he ever talk about that stuff?

Bubba Watson: No, he didn't talk about it.

Bubba Watson won his first PGA tournament in June 2010. His dad died four months later.

Bubba Watson: First time I hugged my dad was when I got home that night from the red-eye when he said he had cancer.

Sharyn Alfonsi: The first time in your life?

Bubba Watson: First time. But it wasn't because my dad didn't love me. It wasn't because-- it's just my upbringin', right?

His upbringing was more country than country club, raised in the tiny panhandle town of Bagdad, Florida, just outside Pensacola.

Bubba Watson: So this is Tanglewood.

Tanglewood Golf Club is a public course a few miles from Bagdad, and the first place Bubba Watson ever played. Hiram Cook has run it off and on for more than 30 years.

Bubba Watson: When my dad came in, I was six years old, he said, "Hey, do you know anybody that's-- do you have left-handed clubs?" So he said, "I'm the head pro and I'm left handed." And so he gave me a nine iron, or gave my dad the nine iron and my dad cut it down and put the grip on it.

Hiram Cook: Bubba was a permanent resident after that.

Tanglewood is also where he learned to "Bend it like Bubba," around all those pine trees. He was a junior golf champion, then played at the University of Georgia where he also met his wife Angie.

Golf has taken Bubba Watson all over the world. Now he's bringing his family home. He's renovating a house in Pensacola, bought a stake in the local minor league baseball team, and is planning to open "Bubba's Sweet Shop" downtown.

Sharyn Alfonsi: So you're really gonna open a candy shop?

Bubba Watson: Yeah.

Sharyn Alfonsi: Are you an 8-year-old boy 'cause this is what I'm starting to get--

Bubba Watson: If you think about it--

Sharyn Alfonsi: --you've got a baseball team and a candy shop.

Bubba Watson: My wife's not letting me buy cars anymore, so I've got to change it up.

Watson's childlike nature is confirmed online. His million-and-a-half Twitter followers are regularly treated to goofy photos, and this YouTube video of him using a hovercraft as a golf cart has nearly 10 million views.

Bubba Watson: It takes you everywhere you wanna go. Through sand traps, through waters, shortcuts.

In this music video, Watson put on a "Hillbilly meets Sasquatch" look and joined three other pros -- including Rickie Fowler -- to raise money for charity.

[Bubba Watson: Let the bogeys go! I say hey! Oh la la la la.]

Rickie Fowler: I mean, he's like a 12-year-old kid stuck in an older person's body now. And Caleb's catching up to him. It's gonna be a tough-- it's gonna be a close one here soon--

Sharyn Alfonsi: At age four?

Rickie Fowler: Yeah.

Angie Watson: When his fun meter gets low--

Sharyn Alfonsi: His fun meter?

Angie Watson: His fun meter. I like to call it his fun-- he just always likes to be having fun. So I would say yes, he's definitely-- he's definitely a big kid.

"I don't care about getting better as a golfer. I want to be better as a person."

That childlike mind allows him to tap into his imagination, creating shots others can't see, let alone pull off.

Sharyn Alfonsi: Will he win another Masters?

Ted Scott: It's likely. He doesn't like expectations, so don't tell him I said that, but he just sets up so well for everything he loves, you know? And an artist wants to see eye-popping-- he wants to see differences. And when you go to Augusta, I mean, the grass is so green. Then you go to the brown pine straw, and then you got the azaleas and the dogwoods and then the sand is so white. And there's slopes and there's mounds and you got all this stuff going on, so all that alone is just bringing out the kid in Bubba, you know, he just gets there and it's like, "Oh, yeah," everything he likes, OK.

Sharyn Alfonsi: You said an artist loves color. You think he's an artist?

Ted Scott: Yes. Oh, he's an artist for sure. I'm just carrying the brushes.

Bubba Watson would like another green jacket. But he says there's something else he'd like more.

Bubba Watson: I don't care about a golfer. I don't care about getting better as a golfer. I want to be better as a person.

Sharyn Alfonsi: It's important to you that people think you're a good guy.

Bubba Watson: Right. Right.