Bubba Watson on dealing with anxiety: ‘I thought I was going to die’

Bubba Watson talks with his caddie Ted Scott on the ninth hole during the first round of the 2020 Memorial Tournament. Photo by Aaron Doster/USA TODAY Sports

USA TODAY/Golfweek | By  | October 28, 2020

On many sleepless nights, Bubba Watson thought he was going to die.

Alone in the darkness with only his thoughts to keep him company as he dealt with crippling anxiety that kept him up at night, Watson contemplated his mortality and often thought back to the passing of his father and namesake, Gerry, a former Green Beret who battled post-traumatic stress disorder and died in 2010 after a long battle with cancer. Not even wonderful memories of his wife, Angie, and their two adopted children, Caleb and Dakota, gave him comfort enough to sleep.

His days weren’t easy, either.

“I had a lot of noise in my head,” Watson told Golfweek in a recent phone interview about some of his darkest moments some two years ago. “I thought I was going to die. It was rough.”

So, too, were the three times in recent years he was rushed to the hospital thinking his life was going to end from a heart attack. Or when he just didn’t feel like playing and wanted to withdraw from a tournament. Or the time 18 months ago when he tipped the scale at 162 pounds, some 30-35 pounds below his normal weight, because the fear raging through his body made eating nearly impossible.

“When I started losing the weight and was getting skinny, it gave me flashbacks to my dad,” Watson said. “So that gave me more mental issues, more anxiety.

“So I quit weighing myself.”