PACIFIC PALISADES: Bubba Watson knew the day was coming. He just didn’t expect it to happen in Los Angeles as he was getting ready to play in the Northern Trust Open.
Watson’s wild week in Southern California started with an unavoidable trip to the doctor to deal with a kidney stone and ended with the two-time Masters champion celebrating his ninth career PGA Tour victory.
“Five years ago [my doctor]said there was one more in my system and obviously it de-cided this week. My baby came out, I guess,” Watson said after shooting a three-under 68 to win the Northern Trust Open by one stroke on Sunday.
The 37-year-old Watson said it is the second kidney stone he has passed in his life. The first one was discovered five years ago when he was playing in a tournament in New Or-leans and had to take a bathroom break.
“I took a bathroom break on the 16th hole. And the nicest way of saying it is, red liquid came out. And I called [my wife]Angie over and I said, ‘We need to call a doctor, some-thing’s going on.’
“There was never any pain. We flew home. They said it’s a kidney stone. It’s coming through. So you just start drinking a lot of water and stuff.”
Watson said he felt the same discomfort last Sunday while playing with the kids. So he called his physician and arrangements were made for him to see a doctor in Los Angeles on Monday as soon as he arrived.
“They set me up with a place. I landed on Monday morning, went. Did a CT scan and 30 minutes after the CT scan, again, just downing water, thinking it’s going to be the same thing.”
Watson said there was never any great pain so he really didn’t consider pulling out of the Los Angeles event.
Asked by reporters after his victory Sunday at Riviera Country Club what he wants the headline about the kidney stone to be, Watson joked, “Bubba is a tough guy.”
Bubba bites his tongue
Watson has needed that mental and physical toughness more than usual over the past few weeks.
A couple of weeks ago, he found himself in the doghouse of golf fans in Phoenix for say-ing that he was only playing there because that is what his sponsors wanted.
Watson said Sunday he is still upset about the bad treatment he received.
“The Saturday where I got booed on every shot — even though I’ve lived there for the last eight winters. I love Scottsdale, I love Phoenix,” he said.
“I’m just saying, the mental stress, that I had to just bite my tongue, sometimes when things are written or things are said, and there was a lot of things said in between those ropes.”
Watson’s best previous finish this season was a tie for 10th at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions. He stumbled at Pebble Beach last week in the third round and missed the 54-hole cut.
Up until Riviera, the third round had been a problem for Watson this season. In his last three outings he shot 73s in Maui and Phoenix and 74 at Pebble Beach.
But the 37-year-old from Florida is back on track as he hopes to use this victory as the start of his run to a third Masters title in seven weeks.
“What makes Augusta so special is that every year it’s that major tournament in the same spot so we can see past champion after past champion,” he said.