Making the shots and the putts is the easy part for two-time Masters champ Bubba Watson. It's making his way through the crowds of strangers on the course that presents the toughest challenge for this often controversial PGA star. And, he tells Sharyn Alfonsi, his fear of people he doesn't know isn't the only mental issue he copes with every day. Watson opens up in the interview chair and on the golf course for a profile to appear in a 60 Minutes profile on Sunday April 3 at 7 p.m. ET/PT. A longer version of the segment that includes Watson at play in a fun, friendly golf match will appear on the next edition of 60 Minutes Sports April 5 at 9 p.m. ET on Showtime.
"I have a lot of mental issues...I'm just so fearful of things, which I shouldn't be," says Watson. "Scared of heights...buildings falling on me...the dark. Scared of crowds." When Watson goes for his third green jacket in Augusta next week, the real "white-knuckle-knee-knocker" won't be a 10-footer to win on 18. "In between holes is really scary to me, because there's so many people that close to you," he says. "I'm just scared of people...in general."
Watson has earned nearly $40 million playing golf, but says he has never taken a lesson. "It's easy to me...I can hit it far. I can curve it. I got the shots. It's just mentally being at that moment...," he tells Alfonsi. She then asks Watson, who has had a few memorable outbursts on the course, how hard it is to control himself. "It's getting better...it's a learning process. I'm getting better at it."
The profile includes the folks Watson is most comfortable with, his wife Angie, boyhood friend and financial advisor Randall Wells, and his caddie Ted Scott, who has sometimes suffered the brunt of Watson's anger. Scott says what looks to some like abuse is not offensive to him, and is part of being a PGA Tour caddie.
During a friendly match among the four in the 60 Minutes Sports segment, Scott explains that Watson's other reputation as sometimes being annoying is just another symptom of his shyness. "If he doesn't know you he's standoffish, and if he does know you, he picks on you ruthlessly...," he says. "You know, I always say that if you're Bubba Watson and you're in eighth grade and the girl sits in front of you and she's got a ponytail and you like her, he, like, pulls her hair and she goes, 'I don't like that,' and he goes, 'Yeah, you do.'"
There are other quirks to this ball-striking genius, including extra sharp eyes and ears that notice the tiniest things. Says Scott, "He's a mess, but he's a fun mess, you know?"