HARTFORD, Conn – Free-spirited Bubba Watson turned a few heads this week with an off-the-course development.
Watson, who will seek a record-tying fourth Travelers Championship victory June 20-23 at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, announced a multi-year partnership with cbdMD, a company that produces products containing cannabidiol, which is credited with combating pain, anxiety, depression and other things.
cbdMD products include hemp-oil extracts, gummies, topicals, oils, bath bombs and pet items.
“I was taking the product, I love the product and for me, you know, it’s all about safety,” Watson said in an interview with “The Street.” “So for me, on a performance level, I got to have safety, I’ve got to [take] drug tests, I’ve got to do all these things and to protect myself and be able to play competitive golf.”
Watson, 40, said he takes cbdMD products because he’s getting older and they help him deal with inflammation and allow him to sleep better. In a statement, Watson called the cbdMD products the safest on the market and said he’s “proud to partner with them to help millions feel better.”
Watson will start the new sponsorship in two weeks at the PGA Championship May 16-19 at Bethpage State Park Black Course in Farmingdale, N.Y., with the agreement calling for Watson’s hats to feature the cbdMD logo on both sides.
Last week, Watson toured the cbdMD headquarters and lab. On Wednesday, Watson was in New York City as the cbdMD stock ticker symbol, on the New York Stock Exchange, officially changed from LEVB to YCBD.
Watson is a 12-time PGA Tour winner and two-time Masters champion who is currently ranked 18th in the World Golf Ranking.
“By joining forces with one of the biggest names in the sport, we’re excited to see how the golf community embraces the newfound popularity of CBD,” Caryn Dunayer, President of cbdMD, said in a statement. “We’re looking forward to the continued success of Bubba, while educating the public on the many benefits of hemp-derived CBD.”
CBD is non-psychoactive and shouldn’t contain THC, the chemical that produces the “high” feeling in marijuana. Like THC, CBD is a chemical extracted from cannabis plants. It can be found in both hemp and marijuana plants — both are technically “cannabis” – but hemp must have less than 0.3 percent THC present.
CBD oil has expanded into natural medicine, cosmetics and even food. Both Walgreens and CVS announced in March that they would begin carrying CBD products in some stores.
Walgreens will sell the product in creams, patches and sprays in Oregon, Colorado, New Mexico, Kentucky, Vermont, South Carolina, Illinois and Indiana.
“This product offering is in line with our efforts to provide a wider range of accessible health and wellbeing products and services to best meet the needs and preferences of our customers,” Walgreens spokesman Brian Faith said in a statement to USA TODAY.
CVS will sell CBD in topical products, including “creams, sprays, roll-ons, lotions and salves” in seven states: California, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland and Tennessee.
CBD is also being introduced in popular cosmetic and skincare brands, with stores such as Sephora and Ulta Beauty both carrying CBD products.
Side effects may include dry mouth, diarrhea, reduced appetite, drowsiness and fatigue, the Mayo Clinic reported. The chemical can also interact with other medications. If you have a heart condition or take blood thinners, some doctors recommend staying away from CBD.
Watson rallied for a three-stroke victory in the 2018 Travelers Championship and then donated $200,000 of his $1,260,000 winnings to give the tournament a record $2 million for charity in a single year. Other leading entries who have already committed to the $2.7 million tournament include 2018 PGA Tour Player of the Year Brooks Koepka and fellow Top 20 players Justin Thomas, Francesco Molinari, Bryson DeChambeau, Paul Casey, Jason Day, Tony Finau and Patrick Reed, as well at 2012 Travelers Championship winner Marc Leishman. When Reed, who won the 2018 Masters, committed last month, it gave the tournament all four reigning major champions. Kopeka repeated in the U.S. Open and then the PGA Championship, while Molinari became the first Italian to win a major championship in the British Open. Tiger Woods ended the Travelers Championship major run when he rallied to capture the Masters in April.
This year’s tournament will feature a new clubhouse, which has been expanded from 10,000 to 40,000 square feet. It will be the third-largest clubhouse on the PGA Tour behind those at TPC Sawgrass, the flagship course that hosts The Players Championship in Ponte Vedra, Fla., and TPC Scottsdale, the home of the Waste Management Phoenix Open in Arizona. But both of those courses are at resorts.
TIGER TO RECEIVE MEDAL FROM TRUMP
Woods will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Donald Trump in a ceremony at the White House Garden on Monday that will be telecast live by Golf Channel. Trump will honor Woods after he won his first major in 14 and first title in 11 years. His 81 career wins are one behind Sam Snead, and his 15 major victories are three behind Jack Nicklaus.
Woods and Trump have been frequent golfing partners, with their most-recent public pairing came in February at Trump National in Jupiter, Fla., not far from where Woods lives. The invitation-only ceremony was announced by White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders.
Trump cheered for Woods on Twitter during and after his Masters victory April 14. Trump announced the next day on Twitter that he would present Woods with the nation’s highest civilian honor. It’s not known if Woods’ caddie, Newtown native Joe LaCava, will attend the ceremony.
Trump has been an outspoken supporter of Woods throughout his golf comeback from several personal and physical problems. Woods, in turn, has been pressed by the media about his relationship with Trump. Last August, Woods was asked: “At times, especially 2018, I think a lot of people, especially colored immigrants are threatened by him and his policy. What do you say to people who might find it interesting that you have a friendly relationship with him?”
Woods’ answer avoided partisanship or politics: “He’s the President of the United States. You have to respect the office. No matter who is in the office, you may like, dislike personality or the politics, but we all must respect the office.”
Woods won $2.07 million for his Masters victory, extending his record career earnings to more than $118 million. And that’s despite numerous knee and back injuries and being arrested in May of 2017 on DUI charges and later completed a pre-trial diversion program and his probation term one month early. He also had a humiliating public breakup with his ex-wife, a five-year victory drought on the PGA Tour and having to relearn his golf swing and game.
Woods decided to skip this week’s Wells Fargo Championship, so he won’t play again until the PGA Championship, where he will be paired in the first two rounds with Molinari and Koepka, who tied for second in the Masters.
Golfers Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Charlie Sifford also have received Medals of Freedom. Palmer and Nicklaus received their medals from President George W. Bush in 2004, while Sifford was honored by President Barack Obama in 2014. Sifford was the first African-American player on the PGA Tour, and his first victory was the 1967 Insurance City Open at Wethersfield Country Club.
The medal is awarded to individuals deemed to have made special meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors. Trump gave posthumous awards to Elvis Presley, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and Babe Ruth in 2018.