PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. (AP) - Bubba Watson has decided to skip The Players Championship to spend time with his family, making this the second time in five years that the Masters champion has not played in the PGA Tour's flagship tournament.
Watson announced his decision Thursday afternoon on Twitter, saying he needed to spend more time with his wife, Angie, and the 2-month-old son they adopted just two weeks before he captured his first major at Augusta National.
"The Players is one of the best weeks of the year but bonding with my son and wife is what it is all about right now," Watson tweeted.
Watson played two weeks after his Masters victory in New Orleans because he was the defending champion. He pulled out of the Wells Fargo Championship this week, and along with not being at The Players, said he planned to take at least a month off.
"Sorry to disappoint fans but the Players has one of the best fields all year, tourney is more than fine without me," Watson said in another tweet. He added that he was lucky to play golf for a living and that it allowed him to set his own work schedule.
The Players Championship has the largest purse in golf and typically attracts the strongest and deepest field of the year. But this is the second straight year that a player who won't be at the TPC Sawgrass is attracting attention. A year ago, Rory McIlroy and Lee Westwood opted not to play. They were not PGA Tour members at the time.
Watson talked in New Orleans about not having as much time with his new son since returning from Augusta National and a media tour in New York.
"We respect Bubba's decision in light of the unique and life-changing circumstances of the past month," PGA Tour spokesman Ty Votaw said in a statement. "His focus on his family is admirable, as was his decision to honor his commitment to the Zurich Classic of New Orleans as defending champion. We look forward to having him back on the tour soon."
Trevor Immelman never teed off in The Players Championship in 2008 after winning the Masters. He became ill on the eve of the tournament and returned home to Orlando.
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