It's all in the mind for hyperactive Watson

Bunkers, the beach, his baby... the Masters champion is finding much to overanalyse

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The Independent Online

Bubba Watson was faithful to the stereotype. Golf's hyperactive handful, firing darts at teacher from the back of the class, exists in a state of perpetual agitation, only part of which is attributable to the challenge facing him at Royal Lytham. He is troubled by the distant shoreline on this part of the Fylde coast, by the over-population of bunkers on some holes, and by the choices he must make when he gets back to his digs.

"I've got issues. No matter if I've won the Masters or not, I have a lot going on in my mind. This is a week that my wife is not here, my new son is not here, so the first time out of the country away from them. And so it's just something different.

"You know, my head is always racing about something. I'm thinking about what meal I'm going to eat, what TV show I'm going to watch, what video game I'm going to play when I get home. There's a lot of things going through my head, not just golf, so I've got to calm my mind down and focus on golf and try to get better.

"When I focus right, I play pretty good, and when I don't focus right, I miss the cut pretty quick."

Thus does the American with the mindbending game bend the mind of others. He did not quite hit the heights of Paris last year when he treated reporters at the French Open to Bubba classics like "that big tower", (the Eiffel Tower), the "building starting with an L" (Louvre) and "this arch I drove round in a circle" (the Arc de Triomphe).

But the distance between sea and shore on the Lytham waterfront perplexed him. "I haven't seen the water yet. We're really close to the water, my house is close to the water, but the water seems like it's way away from the shoreline, like miles. Why is the water so far away? Like the beach goes for miles and then the water is way out there. Can you answer that one?"

Nothing wrong with the question. Perhaps it is one that would have been better put to his geography master at school. The geography of the course he likes, however, if not the proliferation of bunkers.

A total of 206 litter this links. After finding two of them on his practice round before the rain yesterday, Watson thinks that this a missed opportunity: "There's 17 on 18, and there's nine on No 1. I don't understand why there's that many, but they didn't ask me to design it. They should have just threw one more on 18 and made it 18 on No 18."

Britain's Lee Westwood has the pleasure of Watson's company over the opening rounds. The favourite, Tiger Woods, tees off with Justin Rose and Sergio Garcia. Starting in the afternoon in the other side of the draw, Rory McIlroy plays with Louis Oosthuizen and Keegan Bradley, Padraig Harrington with Rickie Fowler and Luke Donald alongside Phil Mickelson.