Bubba Watson Reveals Why He Was 'So Worried' About LIV Golf Move

The American has explained the potential backlash to the move was a sticking point as he weighed up his options

Bubba Watson commentates during the 2022 LIV Golf Team Championship in Florida
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Bubba Watson has revealed that fear of criticism stopped him from joining LIV Golf sooner. The two-time Masters winner was unveiled as a LIV Golf player in late July. While injury prevented him from playing in the inaugural season, he took on a non-playing captaincy role with Niblicks GC.

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Watson has explained to Bunkered that putting pen to paper with the PGA Tour’s controversial rival was not an easy decision, though, with the potential reaction on social media weighing on his mind. He said: “In this day and age, it’s so easy to make up a fake name on social media and say what you want and there are no consequences. Nobody gets in trouble, and that’s really sad to see. For me, personally, that’s what I was dealing with when I was trying to sign the paper. I was so worried about what people were going to say to me and think about me. But I can honestly say that I’ve had nobody, face to face, say anything negative."

“Truthfully, I loved everything about the idea of it but it’s a scary thing when you have to actually sign your name. It’s like buying a house. When you look at how much that new house is costing, it’s like, ‘I don’t know if I should put my whole name on that.' There was nothing wrong with the product. There was nothing wrong with what they were giving us, what they were showing us and what they ultimately produced. It was just fear of the unknown, I guess." 

Watson, who has previously said he fears being banned from the Masters following his LIV Golf move, also admits uncertainty over the success of the start-up caused him further hesitation. He said: “I mean, let’s be honest, it’s a new business and every new business has a really good chance of failing. So, do you want to put yourself in that situation or do you want to take a leap and not so much change the face of golf as add something new?”

The decision seemed even greater for Watson considering his past struggles with his mental health. He said: “It was a scary thing for me, not least because I’ve got mental health issues that I’ve been pretty open about. I had a lot of conversations with my team and with my wife and, ultimately, we made the decision to go for it. “

Watson hasn't played since May's PGA Championship as he recovers from a torn meniscus in his knee. However, after joining LIV Golf he revealed he expects to be fit in time for the start of the 2023 season, which begins at Mexico's El Camaleon Golf Club on 24 February.

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Mike Hall
Freelance Staff Writer

Mike has over 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on a range of sports throughout that time, such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance staff writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the game's most newsworthy stories. 

He has written hundreds of articles on the game, from features offering insights into how members of the public can play some of the world's most revered courses, to breaking news stories affecting everything from the PGA Tour and LIV Golf to developmental Tours and the amateur game. 

Mike grew up in East Yorkshire and began his career in journalism in 1997. He then moved to London in 2003 as his career flourished, and nowadays resides in New Brunswick, Canada, where he and his wife raise their young family less than a mile from his local course. 

Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.