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Bubba Watson’s sort of homecoming at RBC Canadian Open

Bubba Watson, of the United States, hits off the 16th tee during the Pro Am at the Canadian Open golf tournament Wednesday, July 22, 2015 in Oakville, Ont. .
Bubba Watson, of the United States, hits off the 16th tee during the Pro Am at the Canadian Open golf tournament Wednesday, July 22, 2015 in Oakville, Ont. . THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

You wouldn’t expect the RBC Canadian Open, held just outside of Toronto in Oakville, Ont., to be a home game for Bubba Watson, who was raised in Bagdad, Florida.

But Watson’s wife, Angie, is from Pickering, Ont. The pair met at University of Georgia where Watson played golf and Angie played basketball, and the two often visit her parents outside Toronto when the Canadian Open is held locally.

Yesterday it was Angie who joined Watson on the golf course—sort of. While Watson played the pro-am at Glen Abbey, where the RBC Canadian Open will be held this week, Angie and her father, Wayne Ball, played alongside U.S. Open winner Retief Goosen.

Watson said his father-in-law, or his “money man” as the golfer called him in a press conference at the tournament, would be thrilled to have the chance to play in the pro-am.

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“I bought a pro-am spot for them so my father-in-law could think he was king of the world,” Watson explained.

For Watson, Canada has a deep connection to him. The highest-ranked golfer at the Canadian Open at third in the world, Watson says winning Canada’s national golf tournament would mean a great deal to him.

“Winning a national open and an open that is part of my family now—with me being part of Canada, I guess you could say—would be a big deal,” he said. “I’ve got two flags at the house, so it’s a big deal. It would be a great honor.”

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Watson is paired in the first two rounds at Glen Abbey with Jim Furyk, who is the seventh-ranked player in the world, and defending Canadian Open champion Tim Clark, who won last year in Montreal.

With eight wins in his career, including two Masters, Watson has become one of the game’s most dominant players. He and Angie have adopted two children, and the additions to the family have changed him, the golfer said.

“I think before, and I don’t know if you ever checked the media, but they wrote me off as a head case and I agree with that,” Watson said. “I was a hot head. But I think as the kids arrived, it makes you realize what’s more important. My son could care less what I shoot. So it puts life, not just golf, in perspective.”

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