“Boy, those French,” Steve Martin once joked, “they have a different word for everything!” After Bubba Watson’s performance as a petulant redneck at this week’s French Open, we’re betting the Parisians became quite familiar with the American word for jackass.
Playing and behaving like a guy who couldn’t wait to get on the next plane back to Palookaville, Watson’s antics have, by now, become legend in France and back home in the U.S. of A., where even the most Freedom Fries Francophobes have to be embarrassed.
Indeed, some of Watson’s peers were not amused by the golfer’s disrespectful behavior. LPGA Tour player Christina Kim suggested that the big-hitting lefty had been acting like a prima bubba for some time.
“I’ve been slamming him for years, Kim tweeted Friday. “He’s not the prince charming his people claim him to be.”
On his way to missing the cut at France’s national championship, the three-time PGA Tour winner who poked fun at his good ol’ boy persona in the Golf Boys video may have lost a few fans with his whining about how the French fans’ bad manners (Gasp! They use cell phones and cameras on the course! Call the gendarmes!) were to blame for his missing the cut, and that he had to (OMG!) rub shoulders with the hoi polloi between greens and tees.
“It’s different for me, there’s cameras, there’s phones, there’s everything, no security,” Watson said, according to reports. “I don’t know which holes to walk through, there’s no ropes. It’s something I’m not used to, I’m not comfortable with.”
Mon Dieu! The horror of it all!
Watson’s ignorance of all things French did not stop inside the ropes (Oops! That’s right; there were no ropes, according to the formerly fun-loving Monsieur Watson). No, Bubba from Bagdad had obviously left his Frommer’s at home or he might have put a sock in it before showing the world just how provincial a bubba can be.
“I don’t know the names of all the things, the big tower, Eiffel Tower, an arch [that would be the Arc de Triomphe, for those keeping score at home], whatever I rode around in a circle,” he said, according to the Associated Press. “And then what’s that — it starts with an ‘L’ — Louvre, something like that. One of those.”
But, wait; there’s more.
Watson, who, contrary to reports, spoke with some members of the media during the U.S. Open two weeks ago, purportedly refused interview requests and, apparently believing his own press that his Golf Boys video made him a rock star, insisted on riding solo in his own luxury car rather than share it with a European Tour player.
Kim let Watson have it for his conduct as a stereotypical Ugly American:
“…he acted like a fool.
“He’s given Americans a bad name.
“…he was a spoiled prima donna
“he’s not a rapper or A-list celebrity, who IMO are the only ones who need security. Seriously. He is no Tiger or Rory.
“Bottom-line he was being rude and insulting to the culture.”
Australian golfer Stuart Appleby chimed in as well. “Rumour has it that Bubba Watson has had surgery to mouth to make it smaller so foot won’t fit with as much ease,” he tweeted. “hope it’s successful ???”
Appleby also did not let the 32-year-old Watson off the hook.
“I’m not perfect all the time,” he tweeted Saturday, “but is not acceptable to come to another tour and more then once show a lack of respect, for him understanding [tweet continued] It needs to be a learning experience that he can look back on and [realize] how good we have in on the US Tour. Appreciation is the key.”
Watson remarked that he was homesick after shooting his first of two 74s and may never play in Europe again (wonder if he knows what French-speaking home of some arch and that “L” thing will host the Ryder Cup in 2018?). He will, however, tee it up at Royal St. George’s in a fortnight.
“I’ll play the British Open because it’s a major,” Watson said. “That’s the only reason.”
We’re betting the British people can’t wait to welcome the sophisticated world traveler to their shores. But fair warning, Bubba; even the Brits have different words for just about everything, although a bubba in any language is still a bubba.