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TRAVELERS CHAMPIONSHIP


June 17, 2014


Bubba Watson


CROMWELL, CONNECTICUT

DOUG MILNE:  Bubba Watson, thanks for joining us for a few minutes here at the Travelers Championship, past champion here, and with that said, just some comments on being back here at the TPC River Highlands.
BUBBA WATSON:  I look forward to it.  This is a week I always look forward to.  I think I was the first one this year to signed up for the tournament.  You know it was a dream come true to win here in 2010.  My dad was about to pass away, so my dad got to see me win for the first time.  At the time it could have been the only time, but I happened to back it up a couple years later.
Yeah, it's dear to my heart coming here.  The fans, the volunteers here, the title sponsor, Travelers, they put together a great tournament, and I just registered, and they give your wife a little gift, a little bag, and then my son, they give the little kids some toys, as well.  He got a little spaceship, but he thought it was an airplane, so he thought it was the greatest thing in the world.  When the tournament does little things like that, it makes it special for us, and I told them, so I get nothing?  That's how it works.

Q.  The tournament has talked about this date the week after the Open, with the charter flight and with these little gifts, but they also talk about the loyalty that the players feel because when they're young they do things for them.  Can you talk about why players are loyal to this tournament?
BUBBA WATSON:  Well, I think when you look at this tournament, they do everything.  The sponsor knows the date is very tough.  It's very tough to get all of the top players in the world.  You're not going to get all 50 of the best here.  But when you look at that tough date, some people say tough, some people don't, but it's the little things they do, like the little toy for my son, the little gift for my wife, just all the activities they have.  They have the bounce house, they have the different things.  They've built the range.  Everything they're doing in this town, everything they're doing at this golf course, everything the sponsor is doing, the sponsor is signed up for, what, 10 more years now?  So Travelers is all forward.  They're all about trying to give back and trying to give back to the communities, give back to the families that show up.
But when you look at that you see the hard work that a sponsor like that is putting in, so when they're dedicated, the players are very appreciative of that, that they're guaranteeing us another chance to make money for the next 10 years.  So obviously as a player you see those things, the small things, but they add up to big things.  Hopefully that helped.

Q.  You just gave your reasons why it's important for you to come back.  Not everyone that wins every tournament is able to come back every time, but most of them do, and there are some circumstances, but do you ever foresee anything unforeseen, or barring that, do you think you'll always be back here for this because of the reasons you just gave or do you think there is something that maybe sometime you won't be able to?
BUBBA WATSON:¬† No, this one is always on the schedule.¬† Medical problems are different, but I don't see that there's a reason for me not to be here.¬† I can't see there's any reason.¬† I'm going to be here any time I'm in the field, or if I need an invite in the field, I'm going to be asking.¬† So I'm going to try to be here as much as I can.¬† Yeah, I don't see‑‑ I would say 100 percent I won't miss it, unless I win a couple majors early, and then just be like, hey, guys, I happened to win back‑to‑back majors so I'm sitting out.¬† We know that ain't happening.

Q.¬† Scheduling is always an important part of a player's success or coping out here.¬† You seem to be doing a good job with that with your family and the TOUR and you've won a couple majors.¬† How is that process going for you scheduling‑wise?
BUBBA WATSON:  Well, when you look at different people's schedule, how they work, Matt Kuchar seems like he plays a lot, Jordan Spieth is real young so he still plays a lot, Tiger Woods was always limited how he played, maybe 18 to 20, Steve Stricker has calmed it down but still playing at a high level.  So for me mentally, I've figured out that two in a row, to be my best was two in a row, and this playoff this year, the playoff is going to be four in a row, which is awesome.
But you know, I've tried to scale back.  I'm trying to get to 20 events, 21 events, right in that area.  If I go overseas maybe 22 events.  And the reason why is because of me personally, my head, trying to stay mentally prepared, have the energy level to compete at a high level each week, and then also have the focus and drive to want to be a better husband and a better dad.
When you add that all in, it means I'm going to have to take out some tournaments to create the atmosphere I'm looking for, the balance in life I'm looking for.

Q.  Looking back at last week, reading between the lines, your comments beforehand might not have been your favorite course or your favorite course setup.  What's your takeaway from last week and what you thought of the course?
BUBBA WATSON:  Last week was very difficult for me.  I took away that I need to be tougher.  I need to be tougher mentally.  I played good the second day, as good as I could play, and I still shot I think it was even, and there was other guys shooting under par every day.  For me it was a tough week.
I thought Merion was very tough, but I thought Merion was a U.S. Open course that I liked, even though I barely made the cut.  Like I said last week, I've played in eight U.S. Opens, about half of them I liked, half of them I didn't like, and that's just how it is.
I love Hilton Head, but I'm not going to play Hilton Head because Hilton Head doesn't love me.  The golf course doesn't like the way I play golf.  I love it, but it's just one of those things, it's just tough for me to play that golf course, and the golf course was obviously better than me last week.  Hopefully if we ever play there again, I'll beat it one day.

Q.  Can you talk about the change of approach coming to a place where you may need a dozen or more, 20 birdies to win, whereas last week 72 pars was probably going to get it done?
BUBBA WATSON:  Well, if Martin wasn't there then it might have gotten it done.  Martin messed it up for everybody.
Yes, we were joking last week, not that you want to be bored with this but I'm going to tell you anyway.  We were joking with friends last week because all my friends like coming to the U.S. Open and watching everybody struggle.  We were joking about Travelers.  We were looking forward to Travelers, because I can sit here and tell you exactly what clubs I'm going to hit for the next four days on each hole.  I know exactly.
First hole is going to be a wedge; second hole, wedge; third hole, wedge.¬† These are the approach shots.¬† And then next hole is going to be ‑‑ it'll change, but 8, 9 or wedge; next hole is a 6‑iron to a 5‑iron; next hole is a 3‑iron, going for it in two; next hole is a wedge; next hole is an 8‑iron; next hole is a wedge; next hole is a wedge; next hole is a wedge; next hole is a wedge; next hole is going for it in two; next hole is a wedge; next hole is a wedge, or if you drive the green you can putt; next hole is a 9 or an 8; 17 is a 9 or a wedge; and 18 is a wedge.¬† So when you look at that, why would I not want to play here if I'm hitting that many wedges?
I've got in Teddy's yardage book, we've got eight years of notes, and those are the clubs I hit.  First hole is always a wedge, some kind of wedge, when I say wedge.  Lob wedge or sand wedge into the second hole.  Yeah, when you come here, I'm looking forward to it.  It doesn't matter if I'm in the rough or not, those are the clubs I'm hitting.  It comes down to me putting; if I can putt halfway decent, I have a chance to top 10 here or scare a victory.  When you add those numbers in, not that we make to make this course longer for anybody, but for me those are some comfortable numbers I can hit into those holes.
Getting away from the U.S. Open, obviously this is a‑‑ this year is different, but normally it's lighter rough.¬† There wasn't any rough last week.¬† But coming off those greens, these greens are a little bit more forgiving, more friendly.¬† When you look at that, yeah, it's a tough week the week before, but at the same time you know you're coming here to a sponsorship that loves you, that are giving back to community, giving back to the golfers here, and then a golf course that is a little bit more friendly to us, as well.¬† So it's always fun coming back here.
Does that answer it sort of?  Perfect.

Q.  The two Masterses, was there any big difference?  Did it mean more?  Did it bring you more attention, less attention?  Was it all about the same?
BUBBA WATSON:¬† You know, it's a fine line because it meant more to me personally‑‑ for personal satisfaction, for personal gain, yes, it means a lot to win as many majors as possible.¬† But this year was different.¬† The first year that I won the Masters, it was out of my comfort zone.¬† I felt like I wasn't good enough to win a major, like why did I win a major, all these things go through your head.¬† So I wanted to just hide the jacket from everybody and just put it in my closet.¬† I didn't want to boast about it.
This time was about the platform I've been given.  There's a platform we're given playing professional sports and it's how you use it, and my platform got a little bit bigger with the second win, and so I went back to my schools, donated some money to my schools, tried to help in the small town that I grew up, tried to help them and show them that whatever you want to do in life, you can do it, no matter where you come from, if you come from Bagdad, Florida, or from a big city.  If you have the drive and the dedication, you can succeed at whatever it is in life.  It'll be tough.  It won't be easy, but it'll be tough, but you can do it.
So that's what I tried to do this time with this win.  I wanted to use my platform in the right way to give back to charities, to help inspire charities and just help inspire some kids a little bit, golf or in education.

Q.  (No microphone.)
BUBBA WATSON:¬† Well, no, I gave back to my elementary school.¬† We look at giving back to cancer research.¬† We look at giving back to anything with children, for abused children.¬† Well, I do.¬† When I look back‑‑ military.¬† When you look back at all these things, but I never once dreamed about giving back to my elementary school, my middle school, my high school, my college.¬† So when I looked at that, I asked these schools what they wanted, what they needed, so I gave each school‑‑ my elementary school $15,000 for computers, iPads for the kids.¬† They wanted a better sign at my middle school to give back for the parents to see the bulletin board basically, electronic sign out front.¬† So I gave them the money for the electronic sign.¬† They thought that's what they needed the most.¬† And then my high school wanted more technology, as well, and it's 1,800 kids in high school, so I gave them $35,000, so hopefully that provides a lot of iPads and technology for them to educate.¬† So that's what I did.¬† It sounds weird saying that Bubba Watson wanted to help education, but that's what I did.¬† I changed it up on everybody.

Q.  You talked about being on a platform and it gets bigger with more majors.  How do you prepare, and how are you successful connecting with the public?  You draw large galleries, you can charm a room, you charm crowds.  Is it something you've worked on?  Is it just natural?  How do you relate to the public so well?
BUBBA WATSON:  I'm just naturally awesome.  (Laughter.)  See?
No, you know, it's nothing I've ever tried to do, but social media brings it out.  Like a golf course, a golf tournament can be very boring sometimes.  We get the PC answers, we get "I really played good today, I just didn't make any putts."  We can say the same answers, but for social media it lets you do videos, a lot of guys are funny out here, but on the golf course it's hard to be funny and play at a high level.
So social media helped me get my mindset, my attitude out to the world, but then when you get to a certain level, I believe that your platform, you have to use it in the right way.¬† Also it's a double‑edged sword.¬† If you don't use social media the right way, it makes you look pretty bad.¬† It's all about how you deal with that.
So I think the public kind of sees who I am, who I want to be, who I want to become, and we're all trying to get better in life.  We don't want to always be at the bottom, so we're all trying to get better, and I think that the golf fan, the average golf fan, sees that Bubba Watson is just having fun, having a blast, trying to hit the ball hard.  What golfer out there doesn't want to hit it farther?  The amateur side of it, they see me and they enjoy watching me play because I can hit shots sometimes that other people can't hit.  I'm just having fun right now on the game of golf but also trying to be the role model for my son, so I think everybody sees that, and hopefully it grows me one or two more fans than the average person.

Q.¬† You mentioned Teddy earlier.¬† This is kind of the one‑year anniversary of down the stretch last year in the final round when microphones from the cameras caught you maybe giving it to him a little bit.¬† Do you guys talk about that, what do you think about thatand what was your reaction?
BUBBA WATSON:¬† Yeah, I told him I'm hitting 8‑iron, I ain't hitting 9‑iron.

Q.  What was your reaction to the reaction to it?
BUBBA WATSON:¬† I thought the reaction was really bad.¬† Again, Teddy, I think‑‑ we kind of figured it out a few months ago or a week ago.¬† We tried to figure it out with the story of Phil and Bones came out, how long they've been together.¬† I think Furyk and Fluff have been together probably the second longest, and me and Teddy are going on nine years.¬† We've got to be top five, maybe third, somewhere in that area, working together.
Teddy knows I love him.¬† He knows what my heart is.¬† He knows what my heart is all about.¬† He knows I would never yell at him.¬† He knows that he was the one that wanted me to hit that club, and I gave it to him, and if we had that same shot again this year, I'm going to try to do the same thing.¬† He gave me that much‑‑ I don't know the right word to say, but that much effort, and that's what he wanted me to hit.¬† He believed this was the right club.¬† You're pumped up, this, this and this, and perfect, and I thought I hit it pretty good, and it drew, came up short.¬† I told him afterwards, all the media attention, people writing him, people texting him saying how bad I am as a person.¬† You know, he takes up for me a lot and I take up for him a lot.¬† We love each other, and I would do it again.
I've told him, I have 100 percent confidence in you, and if you preach to me this is the club again, I'm going with it.  There's many times where he tells me the right club and I just hit it terrible.  That one I was posing, I thought it was really good.  So when I walked over there, I said it, and I probably did say it the wrong way and with cameras all around us.  I said, "That's the club?  That's the club, Teddy?"  Which obviously was not right at the time, and we've all made mistakes.  Probably not you guys, but I've made many mistakes.  That's not the only one I've ever made.
But Teddy, he forgave me, and I told him I looked like a jerk, and I shouldn't have done that.  I shouldn't have done it that way.  In the heat of the moment we do things that we don't like.  I've been yelled at before in situations that I didn't like.
No, we're all good.  I gave him a raise trying to make him happy so he wouldn't quit.  But no, we're all good.  We've been together nine years.  Obviously he's a grown man.  He's 41 years old, so he can quit me at any time if he didn't like what I was doing.  But other than that now we're going to be enemies this week because you brought that up.  Sorry, Teddy.

Q.  What do you think of the field in this year's Travelers Championship?
BUBBA WATSON:¬† I was looking at it.¬† It's pretty good.¬† When you look at some of the names, some of the different names that have come in here, it's good.¬† I think this tournament always leads to the newcomers, the first‑timer, and some of the older guys, they're trying to make sure that doesn't happen again.¬† I would like for my name to be back on there instead of one of these young guys.¬† You always have a different field all the time, but you always have a few top 10 or top 15, 20 guys in the FedExCup that are here that are trying to improve their position, but also the young guys are trying to get that first win.
The young guys get pumped up around here, too, because they see all the first‑timers winning around here.¬† I think sometimes we look at depth of field and we forget about how great some of these young guys are going to be at some point.

Q.  Erik Compton was in here speaking with us before.  What do you think about his story?
BUBBA WATSON:¬† Oh, it is absolutely amazing.¬† I was pulling for him.¬† I was pulling for a lot of guys.¬† I'm good friends with Martin.¬† Martin beat me at the PGA Championship in a playoff, so I'm mad at him still.¬† Not holding any grudges.¬† It was good to see Martin win, Rickie was up there, and Erik.¬† I traveled at University of Georgia with Erik.¬† We roomed together, and he used to have this pill, it's called Sandimmune, and he doesn't take it anymore, but when he takes it out of the package ‑‑ he takes about 20 pills a day.¬† When he takes it out of the package, it stinks.¬† It's the worst smelling thing, and everybody‑‑ he used to leave it in the van.¬† He'd take it, leave it in the van, so when we'd get back in there, we'd be like, Erik, what are you doing, and he'd put it under your pillow, he would do it all.¬† It's the worst smelling‑‑ it's called Sandimmune.¬† He doesn't take it anymore, and I'm glad.¬† We used to have fun with it.
But when you look at Erik and what he's been able to accomplish, no matter if he ever wins or not, what he's been able to accomplish to make it to the TOUR with the heart issues that he's had, it's just remarkable, and I think with his platform and what he's doing, he can do some great things and keep doing great things, and if he keeps playing well he's going to have a bigger and bigger platform, bigger than any of us.
DOUG MILNE:  Bubba, we appreciate your time.  Best of luck this week.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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