Bubba Watson started looking a lot thinner at the tail end of 2016, and the two-time Masters winner had told media it was related to a change in his diet -- ditching sugar and introducing lots more protein, including fish.
However, the left-hander had been losing weight, in part, because of an undisclosed illness -- the specifics of which he prefers not to discuss -- that may have also been a catalyst for a big decline in his performance in 2017.
In 22 PGA Tour starts in the 2016-17 season, Watson missed an uncharacteristic seven cuts. He withdrew from another event. While Watson had lost weight, he'd also made a somewhat surprising switch from Titleist to Volvik for golf balls in 2017. Most observers, unaware of the illness, blamed Watson's dip as karmic payback for changing balls for more money.
Meanwhile, Watson was thinking about walking away from golf.
“I thought about retirement,” Watson, now ranked 117th in the world, said Friday, to Golf Digest. “Physically I’m not going to be out here if I am going to be sick or it’s going to cause problems. I needed a change for the better.”
Now, Watson feels good. He's putting weight back on from his low of 165 lbs., getting closer to that 185 lbs. range. In fact, Watson said he's expanding his schedule because he's excited about where his game is going. He came back early from an originally planned four-month vacation after getting knocked out of last year's FedEx Cup playoffs to play a pair of events. This is his second start of 2018.
"Physically, I love where I'm at," he said. "Mentally, I love where I'm at because I'm getting stronger, getting the weight back that I wanted to get back," he said. "My son's reading and writing now, so life's in a good spot and golf just happens to fall in a good spot, too."