Bubba Watson explains decision to remove Confederate flag from General Lee

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W. Va. -- Saying he didn't want to offend people, Bubba Watson on Friday elaborated on the rationale behind his decision to paint an American flag over the Confederate battle flag on the General Lee, the 1969 Dodge Charger featured in "The Dukes of Hazzard."

"After all of the controversy and everything, I don't want to offend anybody," Watson said after his second-round 68 at The Greenbrier Classic. "The car is American history, so why not the American flag on it? The show is a great show. It was what me and my dad watched. There was no racism in the show, but the flag offends people, so I thought for sure that was what we should do is to take it off. Remove it, hide it, whatever you want to call it. And make sure nobody is offended by it."

After his opening round Thursday, Watson tweeted that he would be modifying the top of the General Lee, which he purchased three years ago.

Featured prominently in "The Dukes of Hazzard," the car has a Confederate battle flag on its roof. After the June 17 shooting in which nine black congregants were killed at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, photos surfaced of the suspected gunman with the flag, raising public consciousness about what it represents.

In recent weeks, the flag has been taken down at sites throughout the United States, and the television network TV Land pulled reruns of "Dukes of Hazzard."

The recent debate, Watson said, led to his decision to paint over the flag.

"I bought it because of the show," he said. "I bought it because who doesn't want a car that jumped? It jumped six days after I was born. When I looked at the show, there was no racism in the show. It was about a car that was jumping. It just happened to have an 01 and a flag on the top.

"All my friends, nobody is offended by it, but now with all of the controversy going on, I felt like it was the right thing to do. Make a statement, make a gesture, whatever you want to call it."

Watson purchased the General Lee at a 2012 auction for $110,000.