CRAWFORD | Watson declines long-drive contest, says it's 'hokey' - WDRB 41 Louisville News

CRAWFORD | Watson declines long-drive contest, says it's 'hokey'

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- We're talking about practice. Bubba Watson didn't exactly reprise Allan Iverson's famous NBA refrain, but the longest driver on the PGA Tour wanted nothing to do with the re-instituted Long Drive Contest on Valhalla Golf Course's No. 10 tee Tuesday.

It was no surprise. Watson said earlier in the week that he wasn't going to participate. It's a little like LeBron James skipping the slam-dunk contest, but Watson has his reasons.

He said he wanted to focus on learning the course, which he's never played. So he got to No. 10 and hit a 3-iron right down the middle.

"I want to practice the game of golf," Watson said. "I want to learn this golf course. I haven't seen the 10th hole. I don't see that we should have a competition like that while we're playing a practice round and learning the course, trying to win a great championship. There's no reason to make something up in the middle of a practice round like that. That's just me. Like it or not, that's just who I am and what I think. . . .

"I'm here to win a championship. I'm not here to goof around. I just see it, if it's going to be a contest, make it where you could participate and not participate. Calling your name on a Tuesday of a practice round just seems hokey to me, so I just didn't."

Watson said he would hit a driver in competition, but he was happy with his iron shot.

"I hit my 3-iron perfect, right down the middle," he said. "Longest 3-iron of the day. I won that competition. Take that."

Watson is a prickly character, and with the celebrity that came with winning The Masters in 2012 and again this year, he's come under increased scrutiny. He has snapped at fans in galleries and can be sharp with media when he has to. He criticized European galleries for being loud and unruly, and has a reputation for not being the easiest person in the world on caddies. He drew ire from the homosexual community for comments critical of homosexuals when he said in 2013, " It's just my belief system on the Bible says you can't be gay. That's a sin. So somebody living in sin I believe to be wrong."

Asked yesterday about his relationship with the media, and whether he worries about how he's perceived, Watson answered at length.

"The way I want to live my life is as a Christian," Watson said. "I don't read -- I took the Internet off my phone. I don't read what people write about me. I don't read what people say about me. My true friends, my family, they know who I am as a person and what my heart is all about. And then the fans -- I think the fans just see me as a small-town guy that's worked hard to get where he is, and I appreciate that, and I think that they see it as a guy that's just out there having fun with the game of golf. Just like anybody else, though, I'm going to get mad when I hit a bad shot and I think the fans see that, and I'm going to be happy when I hit a great shot. I just try to have fun playing the game."

Except when it involves a long-drive contest. Watson will have a chance for long drives soon enough.

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