Golfer Bubba Watson to paint over Confederate flag on 'Dukes of Hazzard' car
Confederate flag waving on the wind (Shutterstock)

Golfer Bubba Watson says he will paint a U.S. flag over the contentious Confederate battle banner on his "General Lee" Dodge Charger from the hit 1980s TV show "The Dukes of Hazzard".

Watson, a two-time Masters champion who is ranked third in the world, made the announcement on Thursday on Twitter.

“All men are created equal," he wrote. "I believe that, so I will be painting the American flag over the roof of the General Lee #USA.”

"Dukes of Hazzard" ran from 1979 to 1985 on the CBS network in the United States and centered on the fictional Duke family, who lived in rural Georgia. An orange 1969 Dodge Charger bearing a Confederate flag design on the roof and nicknamed "General Lee" was regularly featured in the show.

Watson bought the car in 2012 for $110,000, saying he was a fan of the car and the TV show, but not the flag, Golf Digest reported.

There has been growing criticism of the flag from the 1861-65 U.S. Civil War after the shooting of nine black churchgoers in South Carolina last month.

The man arrested in the shooting, Dylann Roof, is a 21-year-old white man who had posed with a Confederate battle flag in photos posted on a website that displayed a racist manifesto attributed to him.

Viacom Inc's satellite-TV channel TV Land said on Wednesday that it was no longer showing reruns of "The Dukes of Hazzard".

Owners of 30 tracks that host NASCAR auto-racing events issued a joint statement on Thursday asking fans not to display the flag at their facilities.

Watson was playing the Greenbriar Classic in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, on Friday, and was not available for comment.

(Reporting by John Clarke in Washington; Editing by Ian Simpson; and Peter Galloway)