DUBLIN, Ohio – Bubba Watson studied the headline with specific curiosity:
“Naomi Osaka withdraws from French Open, will ‘take some time away’ from tennis after controversy over media obligations.”
In what has turn out to be a surprisingly polarizing challenge, Watson is one in every of a only a few who can really perceive what motivated Osaka to skip her media obligations this week at Roland-Garros and then withdraw from the Grand Slam occasion.
Osaka spoke of dealing with melancholy and anxiousness and how interactions with the media created undesirable doubt. She spoke of being weak and not a “natural public speaker.” She skipped her post-round interview following her first-round victory and was fined $15,000 earlier than saying her withdrawal.
“I get really nervous and find it stressful to always try and engage and give [the media] the best answers I can,” Osaka wrote in an announcement launched on social media.
Watson might sympathize as he settled into his digital press convention Wednesday on the Memorial.
“I can sit here and draw up a whole story for you. I’m sitting in a room right now with cameras looking at me,” Watson mentioned. “I don’t like enclosed places. I don’t like elevators. I don’t like heights. I mean, there’s a lot of things that trigger a lot of my mental issues.”
Watson has been impressively trustworthy with the challenges he faces each on and off the golf course. He has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and anxiousness points and will let you know with shocking ease that the challenges of golf pale compared to the problem of mental health.
“I have anxieties. I have doubts. I have pride issues. I have ego issues. I’ve got them all,” he mentioned. “I’ve got every issue you can think of and I’m still dealing with it, and hopefully I get better with it.”
When Watson was requested about Osaka on Wednesday this was removed from an uninformed take. Many of her demons are his demons. But he’s additionally a professional athlete who understands in addition to anybody that the eye and fame of his job aren’t mutually unique to the wealth and reward he enjoys.
Two days after Mental Health Awareness month ended is not any time to query Osaka’s resolution. Anyone who has battled related anxieties can attest to how debilitating doubt will be and let’s all agree that solely the tennis star knows what’s finest for her mental health.
But the choice query of an athlete’s accountability is the place Watson is torn.
“I understand what she’s saying, but it’s part of the job. I mean, you got to do interviews. People are sponsoring an event. People are having prize money because they’re sponsoring,” he mentioned. “That’s part of the job.”
This just isn’t about Osaka. Her mental health and her happiness will not be a dialog any of us are entitled to be part of. This is in regards to the stability in sports activities between athlete empowerment and professional accountability.
As Watson appropriately identified, the untold riches he and the opposite PGA Tour millionaires compete for each week is straight associated to the sport’s publicity on tv and past. The circuit went as far as to create a system, one thing referred to as the Player Impact Program, to reward those that drive that curiosity with a wholesome slice of a $40 million pot every season.
Finding the stability between having compassion for what Osaka goes via and an elementary understanding of how sports activities enterprise works is not any straightforward job.
“It’s tough and I felt terrible for her,” Justin Thomas mentioned. “It can be tough at times and I think there’s certain times in your life or whatever it might be that you maybe just need less of it, but I just think there’s so many good stories out there and so many great things going on in sports and in the world that it doesn’t always need to be negative.”
If Watson discovered a kindred spirt in Osaka, this episode means that Osaka might look to Bubba as a possible path ahead.
Watson would be the first to inform anybody who asks that’s he’s not “fixed” and that the anxieties he offers with are merely part of his life. But he has realized find out how to reside with that doubt.
“I’m always going to deal with it. Even if I quit golf today, people are still going to ask me, why did you quit?” Watson mentioned. “I’m always going to deal with stuff. I think me talking about it helps me, if I share, then somebody else might be willing to share and I think the more you hold it in, especially for me, the more I hold it in, the worse it eats at me.”
The assertion issued by Osaka on social media has make clear a aspect of sports activities that goes largely unnoticed. Unlike Osaka and Watson, most athletes are reluctant to speak publicly about mental health points. As Watson gazed on the quite a few cameras fixated on him Wednesday, he might wearily affirm that anxiousness and doubt will be very actual.