Masters gift enhances Watson-Tebow bond

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- Bubba Watson was three strokes out of the lead heading into the final round of The Masters, but one of the first things he thought about after he got to Augusta National Golf Club last Sunday was Tim Tebow.

It was hard not to, Watson said, when he was handed his randomly-selected player badge for the day. It was No. 15 -- Tebow’s jersey number at the University of Florida and with the Denver Broncos and now the New York Jets.

Watson’s immediate thought: I got No. 15 on Easter Sunday? I gotta give this to Tim.

That’s what the University of Georgia alum did Friday when he arrived at the Tim Tebow Foundation Celebrity Golf Classic at TPC Sawgrass. It was an emotional moment between the two men, both of whom are devout Christians, and showed the kind of bond they have developed through their faith.

"I told my caddy, 'I’m going to keep it unopened and I’m going to hand it to him' " Watson said. "I don’t know if he really wanted it, but I just felt like I should give it to him because it’s his football number, and I thought he might even want it more now because I did win [The Masters]. Hopefully he thinks it was special."

Tebow certainly did. So much so that he didn’t want to show it off. He just patted his pocket when asked about it.

"He didn’t need to do anything like that," Tebow said. "He’s just an amazing guy."

Tebow was appreciative that Watson remained committed to his tournament this weekend after a whirlwind week that began last Sunday when he put on the green jacket for the first time. Watson made multiple television appearances -- including The Late Show with David Letterman -- and also spent time at home with his wife and newborn son, but still traveled to Florida to participate in the charity golf tournament to which he committed two months ago.

"He’s been so supportive of me and my foundation and really cares about giving back and making a difference," Tebow said. "I just think he has a huge platform [for his faith]. I think it’ll continue to increase because he’s so real and genuine and authentic. He doesn’t try to fake it or change who he is. He is who he is, and that’s who he is all the time, whether it’s on camera or not. He’s an amazing person."

Watson said he never considered backing out because it would have been disrespectful to a man he admires for the way he is able to share his faith and his dedication to helping children.

"I’m honored to be here. I’m honored that he asked me to play in it," Watson said. "Watching him perform, watching him show his character, his true colors, it’s awesome to watch, it’s awesome to see and you learn from that. Everybody can learn from Tim."