Bubba Watson might be the toast of the golf world this week, but if he had it his way, he'd be passing to LeBron James instead of putting against Tiger Woods.

The 2012 Masters champion's first love was basketball, but his hoop dreams were shot down. Murray Rutledge, Watson's golf coach his senior year at Florida's Milton High School, tells WKRG that he's the man who put a stop to Bubba's basketball dreams.

"Bubba always wanted to play on the basketball team. And I was the basketball coach and I wouldn't let him play. I'd say you need to stick to golf," Rutledge said.

Watson maintains he's never taken a golf lesson, but that doesn't mean he wasn't passionate about the sport, even back then.

"He just practiced, he just played every day, and he still plays every day," Rutledge said.

Besides his performance on the greens, Watson's first name draws attention. How does one pick up the name Bubba?

CNN reports Watson's father nicknamed his son after former Michigan State and NFL star Bubba Smith.

After his playing days were over, Smith became an actor, better known as Moses Hightower in the first half dozen "Police Academy" movies.

Smith passed away last August in Los Angeles at the age of 66.

Follow Ben Maller on Twitter @BenMaller.

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