SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Bubba Watson wants no part of deer-antler spray. The name alone makes the Masters champion a bit squeamish.
“It sounds like something I would never want near me. … I don’t even know how you take deer-antler spray,” Watson said Wednesday at the Phoenix Open, responding to a report that Vijay Singh admitted to using the spray but was unaware it’s banned by the PGA Tour. “Who’s the guy that thought of that? He might have been on something, too.”
PGA Tour spokesman Ty Votaw said the tour is “looking into the matter.”
“It’s sad that people live and die by their sport and they have to, I guess, cheat and go around it and try to better themselves with deer-antler spray,” Watson said. “I’m not just going to take something and ask questions later. I’m not going to take deer antler-spray and find out what it is later. … I think we should check them for mental problems if they’re taking deer-antler spray. That’s kind of weird.”
Watson has taken a lot of approved medications lately. After fighting through illness to tie for fourth in the season-opening Tournament of Champions in Hawaii, the Masters champion withdrew before the start of the Farmers Insurance Open last week in San Diego.
“I had strep throat in Maui and then I had the flu last week,” Watson said. “My energy level isn’t where I want it to be, about 80 percent right now. … Yesterday was the first time I played golf, and so about seven days off. I’m still kind of under the weather trying to get the medicine out of me. Kind of groggy, just don’t have the energy. I lost about 10 pounds since Maui, but I want to be out there competing.”
The long-hitting lefty was paired with Olympic swimming star Michael Phelps in the pro-am Wednesday a day before the start of play at TPC Scottsdale.
“Being able to play with Bubba, it’s something else,” Phelps said. “We were throwing jokes back and forth the whole entire time and keeping it very light.”
Dodging another round of questions about his tax comments, Phil Mickelson didn’t hold a media session. The former Arizona State star has struggled on the course, tying for 51st last week at Torrey Pines after opening his season with a tie for 37th in the Humana Challenge.
Defending champion Kyle Stanley is making his fifth straight start of the season, joining Tommy Gainey and Scott Stallings as the only players yet to take a week off.
“I think after this event, I’m probably going to take an offseason,” Stanley said. “I didn’t really have much of one. I’m definitely looking forward to having some time off.”
Padraid Harrington is playing the tournament for the first time.
“It’s a tournament that you have to go and play it sometime in your career,” the Irishman said. “I’ve looked at it over the years and it’s never quite fit the schedule, but I’ve always wanted to come and see what it’s like in person.”