DUBLIN, Ohio — Two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson has opened up recently about his own anxiety issues, saying how uncomfortable he can be in crowds, and acknowledging that criticism of him on social media has taken its toll.
And it’s why he showed support for tennis star Naomi Osaka, who withdrew from the French Open on Monday, citing her experiences with depression and her reasons for outlining why she had hoped to skip media interviews.
Watson, 42, was part of a pre-tournament list of players who did interviews in advance of the Memorial Tournament, which begins Thursday at Muirfield Village Golf Club. He admitted that such situations often make him feel uncomfortable.
“I’m sitting in a room right now with cameras looking at me,” Watson said of the interview he conducted remotely with reporters. “I don’t like enclosed places. I don’t like elevators. I don’t like heights. There’s a lot of things that trigger my mental issues. So I understand what she’s saying. But it’s part of the job.
“You’ve got to do interviews. People are sponsoring an event, people are [paying] prize money because they’re sponsoring. So that’s part of the job. But if you don’t, if you’re not there mentally, then, yes, you need to go home and get better. I don’t know her situation, but I feel for her.
“I would be there for her if she needed help because I’ve been through it. The media part, yes, it’s part of the job. We have to talk, we have to share with people around the world, and I get that part. But if you’re not feeling up to it mentally, physically, whatever it is, then you need to go home and get rest and find a place to cope with what you’re dealing with.”
Watson, a 12-time winner on the PGA Tour, said he has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and the problems got worse two years ago, when he lost a lot of weight, couldn’t sleep and feared for his life. The last of his victories came in 2018.
“I dropped down to…last time I weighed myself was 162 when I was dealing with it, and it’s going to come back at some point,” he said. “This is not something that goes away. There’s not a miracle drug that it goes way. I’m still going to have issues. I have anxieties. I have doubts. I have pride issues. I have ego issues. I’ve got them all. I’ve got every issue you can think of and I’m still with it, and hopefully I get better with it and hopefully she gets better with it, too.
“So I see it both ways. From the media side, it’s something we’re supposed to do, but from her side as a human, we need to help her and help other people in that situation going forward.”