Golf-Masters champion Watson exits Torrey Pines due to flu

SAN DIEGO Thu Jan 24, 2013 6:26pm GMT

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SAN DIEGO Jan 24 (Reuters) - Masters champion Bubba Watson has pulled out of this week's Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines because of flu, PGA Tour officials said on Thursday.

Watson, who had been scheduled to tee off in Thursday's opening round in a high-profile grouping with three-times winner Phil Mickelson and defending champion Brandt Snedeker, has been replaced by PGA Tour veteran Billy Mayfair.

"Pulling out of tourney this morning, don't have energy for golf. Feel the same as Maui. Got to say thanks to my peeps for the prayers!," Watson tweeted earlier on Thursday.

"Wife and I are sick, hope little man doesn't get it. Time to rest and be ready to play next week."

Left-hander Watson endured a stomach complaint in the PGA Tour's season-opening Hyundai Tournament of Champions in Maui where he tied for fourth and has not competed since then.

A four-times winner on the PGA Tour, he is one of the biggest drawcards in the game with his prodigious length off the tee and his creative shot-making.

Watson is also a former champion at the Farmers Insurance Open, having triumphed by one shot in 2011 after holding off late charges by Mickelson and Venezuela's Jhonattan Vegas. (Editing by Gene Cherry)

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