Bubba Watson Defends Olympic Doper: ‘Who Cares About the Past?’

August 11, 2016

Bubba Watson is at the Olympics representing the United States on the golf course and sat down with TIME this week to talk about his experience. As usual, the top-ranked American golfer in Rio (thanks to Jordan Spieth and Dustin Johnson’s decision to drop out of the Games) did not temper his opinions.

When asked about fellow U.S. Olympian Justin Gatlin, a sprinter who won gold in Athens in 2004 before serving a suspension for doping, Watson defended his teammate, saying, “Who cares about the past? I mean, we’ve all had issues. People write negative things about me that aren’t true.”

While U.S. swimmer Lilly King has suggested that dopers should be banned for life, Watson is on the side of forgiveness. “What he did, true or not, I don’t care about that. He’s changed,” Watson told TIME.

Whether or not you agree with Bubba’s comments, it’s hard not to commend his enthusiasm for the Olympics. As he said, “To be called an Olympian, no matter how I do in my event, it means everything. This is why we play sports. To make it to the pinnacle.”