PENSACOLA — Sacred Heart Health System and professional golfer Bubba Watson announced a $1.6 million donation to The Studer Family Children’s Hospital at Sacred Heart.

It was also announced that Watson will serve as an ambassador for the Children’s Hospital. To recognize the support and ongoing relationship with Watson, Sacred Heart will name the entrance road to the new Children’s Hospital (under construction) as Bubba Watson Drive.

The announcements were made Sept. 8 during a ceremony at the hospital’s campus on 9th Avenue in Pensacola.

“I always felt like this community helped shape me as a golfer and a person,” Watson said. “When I moved back to Pensacola I asked myself how I can make a difference, how I can help build something for generations to come. Our children are the world’s next leaders, and every kid deserves a chance to grow up healthy. Being involved in our local children’s hospital is the perfect way to do that.”

Sacred Heart is part of Ascension, the largest non-profit health system in the U.S. and the world’s largest Catholic health system.

The Children’s Hospital began in 1969 and is currently in the process of expanding its facilities and services across the Florida Panhandle and South Alabama. Construction began earlier this year on a new four-story Children’s Hospital made possible by funding from Ascension with help from major donors such as the Watsons and Pensacola philanthropists Quint and Rishy Studer.

Expected to be complete in spring 2019, the new Children’s Hospital will be connected to the front of the existing children’s hospital. As a result of the planned naming of the entrance road, the address of the new building will be 1 Bubba Watson Drive.

Watson, who was born at Sacred Heart Hospital, made the contribution as part of his family’s ongoing support for the Children’s Hospital. On Aug. 27, he announced a separate donation of $500,000 to The Studer Family Children’s Hospital at Sacred Heart as a result of winning the MetLife MatchUp, an online voting contest associated with the PGA Tour.

“We are just overwhelmed by the generous spirit of the Watsons and their love for the children who need our care, not only today but for generations to come,” said Susan Davis, the president and CEO of Sacred Heart Health System. “Their amazing gift to our community will help to ensure that all sick or injured children in our region will have access to the best possible care. We are truly blessed.”

Watson added: “My hope in giving back is that others would be inspired to do the same, but in their own way and for causes that they care for deeply.”