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Family man Bubba Watson snubs $9.5M PGA Tour event

By Sheena McKenzie, for CNN
updated 7:47 PM EDT, Fri May 4, 2012
Masters champ Bubba Watson is taking time out to spend with wife Angie and two-month-old son Caleb.
Masters champ Bubba Watson is taking time out to spend with wife Angie and two-month-old son Caleb.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Bubba Watson pulls out of Players Championship to spend more time with young family
  • Masters champion will take a month off to concentrate on wife Angie and adopted son Caleb
  • The 33-year-old couldn't be swayed by tournament's $9.5 million prize purse
  • He also skips this week's Quail Hollow event, where Webb Simpson leads after day one

(CNN) -- Even by Bubba Watson's unpredictable standards, his decision to pull out of this month's Players Championship to spend more time with his family is an unusual one.

The Masters champion revealed he is skipping one of golf's biggest tournaments -- often referred to as the fifth major, with $9.5 million total prize money -- to spend quality time with wife Angie and their recently adopted two-month-old son.

"I've decided to pull out of the Players. I need to spend more time with Caleb and Angie, plan to take at least a month off. 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," he wrote on Twitter.

"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.

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It seems the prestigious PGA Tour event -- boasting a whopping $1.7 million prize for its winner -- wasn't enough to tear Bubba away from baby.

"I feel blessed and excited that I get to spend quality time with Caleb and Angie in the next few weeks. I am lucky to play golf for a living, it allows me to pick my own schedule," he tweeted.

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The 33-year-old, who earned the nickname "Wacky Watson" for his oddball home videos on YouTube, will miss the Players for the first time since his debut in 2007.

The American has missed the cut in three out of five trips to TPC Sawgrass, and recorded his best finish back in 2009 when he tied for 37th.

Watson's decision has been backed by the U.S. circuit's governing body.

"We respect Bubba's decision in light of the unique and life-changing circumstances of the past month," said PGA Tour executive vice-president of communications Ty Votaw.

"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."

Watson admitted ahead of last month's Zurich Classic that he'd rather be at home than defending his New Orleans title.

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It has been his only tournament since winning the Masters with a miraculous shot from the woods and onto the green in a playoff against South Africa's Louis Oosthuizen.

Fresh from the media whirlwind that surrounded him since winning his first major at Augusta, Bubba failed to live up to the hype, finishing 18th at TPC Louisiana.

He decided to miss this week's $6.5 million Wells Fargo Championship in North Carolina, where some of golf's biggest names returned to action on Thursday.

Former world No. 1 Tiger Woods was tied for 56th after the opening round, having shot one-under-par 71. The American, who won the tournament in 2001, was six shots off the lead shared by his playing partner Webb Simpson.

Ryan Moore and Stewart Cink also carded seven-under 65 to be a shot ahead of a group of five players.

World No. 2 Rory McIlroy's tactic of taking a long holiday before the tournament did not yield immediate results. The Northern Irishman, who will defend his U.S. Open title next month, finished the opening day at Quail Hollow equal 39th after a 70.

Four-time major champion Phil Mickelson recovered from an early triple bogey to join Woods on 71.

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