Watson tired but eager to tee it up in Big Easy

Associated Press Modified: April 25, 2012 at 5:01 pm •  Published: April 25, 2012

AVONDALE, La. (AP) — As Bubba Watson walked off a course carved from cypress swamp toward the TPC Louisiana clubhouse, his path was lined by autograph seekers who held out yellow pin flags bearing the emblem of a golfing shrine hundreds of miles away in the pine-covered hills of Georgia.

The buzz from Watson's Masters triumph at Augusta National has followed him to his first encore performance in New Orleans, where he'll begin the defense of his Zurich Classic victory in the tournament that opens Thursday.

He was already a crowd favorite in the Big Easy, having grown up a Saints fan three hours away in the Florida panhandle. He calls New Orleans' PGA Tour stop his "home tournament."

Now that he owns a green jacket, he's trying to learn how to handle the heightened demands on his time, a task made even more difficult by the fact that he's a new father.