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Bubba Watson reveals own anxiety issues while offering support for Naomi Osaka

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·3 min read
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While offering his support for tennis star Naomi Osaka — who withdrew from the French Open on Monday — Bubba Watson revealed his own struggles with anxiety this week ahead of The Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village.

The two-time Masters champion said that he too can feel uncomfortable during interviews with reporters, something that Osaka wanted to skip entirely at Roland Garros.

“I’m sitting in a room right now with cameras looking at me,” Watson said, via ESPN. “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.”

Watson is among countless others in the sports world who tweeted in support of Osaka after her withdrawal from the French Open. Osaka, 23, announced on Twitter on Monday that she was pulling out of the event, just days after she made the decision not to speak to reporters during the tournament. Osaka also revealed that she has “suffered long bouts of depression” and will step away from the game.

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Watson said that he suffers from ADHD himself, and that he had a terrifying episode with it two years ago — which he said actually made him fear for his life.

"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," Watson said, via ESPN. "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."

Watson: ‘You’ve got to do interviews’

While Watson is standing with Osaka, he also said that speaking with reporters is “part of the job” of a professional athlete.

That, however, comes second.

"You've got to do interviews,” he said, via ESPN. “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 has won 12 times on the PGA Tour, most recently at the Travelers Championship in 2018 — which was one of three wins that season. He has four top-10 finishes so far this season, though he finished in 80th at the PGA Championship in his last outing.

“I see it both ways,” he said, via ESPN. “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."

Bubba Watson at the 2021 PGA Championship
Bubba Watson of the United States plays his shot from the seventh tee during the final round of the 2021 PGA Championship on May 23, 2021 in Kiawah Island, South Carolina. (Mike Lawrie/2021 Getty Images)

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