Masters champion Bubba Watson is suffering from panic attacks, some of which have been so serious he has checked himself into the hospital for tests.
Watson made the announcement on Wednesday, ahead of this week’s Tournament of Champions, with Charlie Beljan at Kapalua. This is the first time he has started since panic attacks almost forced him out of the Children’s Miracle Network Classic last fall.
SB Nation reports that Watson is no stranger to airing emotions about the difficulty of playing professional golf. He stated of the panic attacks:
“I’ve had a lot of panic attacks off the golf course. I actually went to the hospital three times thinking I was having something wrong with my heart and my wife is like, ‘What is wrong with you?’ So I’ve had some issues.”
Anxiety problems are nothing new to Bubba Watson, who was also forced to withdraw from the 2011 Northern Trust Open in Los Angeles. He stated that that episode two years ago led to what he calls an every-other-year visit to the ER, plus a battery of tests that continue to show he is fine.
USA Today notes that Charlie Beljan also suffers from panic attacks, most famously at Disney last fall. Beljan stated of his quest to get better:
“I got myself into better shape, and I’m feeling healthier. I’m a little more flexible and I’m in better condition. I wasn’t one to eat on the golf course, and I think that had something to do with the attacks. I have to give fuel to my body, so I’ll be eating on the course this year, drinking a lot of vitamin water, too.”
But Watson’s panic attacks tend to happen off the golf course. Despite his struggles with anxiety, Bubba is looking forward to 2013 with the same goal he sets every year — winning.