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April 26, 2017
DOUG MILNE: Like to welcome the long-hitting team of J.B. Holmes and Bubba Watson here to the Zurich Classic of New Orleans.
BUBBA WATSON: First of all, it's J.B.'s birthday today, so happy birthday, J.B.
DOUG MILNE: Obviously good feelings for you, Bubba, being a winner here in 2011, and J.B., I believe you're making your fourth start here at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. I guess the burning question is how did the team of J.B. Holmes and Bubba Watson come about?
J.B. HOLMES: Well, we had so much fun at the Presidents Cup playing. We had five matches and played really well together and had a blast doing it, so when we heard there was a team event, I asked Bubba if he wanted to play, and he said no. So then I continued to bother him, and then finally he said yes.
BUBBA WATSON: No, it was funny because we were in China, HSBC, last year, and we're at dinner, and he said, hey, do you want to play with me in a team event in New Orleans, and I said, there's no team event in New Orleans. So the next day, Thursday morning, I asked Rory and Adam Scott if there's a team event, if they've heard about this team event, and they said, yeah. And I said, am I the last person to heard about this team event that's going to happen? But obviously why would I not want to play with J.B., great player. We had a blast at the Presidents Cup in Korea, and then asked me right away, so obviously he trusted me to be a decent player, so it's easy to say yes to a good friend like that.
DOUG MILNE: On the way over, you were comparing notes on how you each played in the pro-am today. Bubba, you mentioned you were a little stiff, and J.B. said you'd better work that out because I plan to hop on your back tomorrow. There's obviously got to be a lot of fun and camaraderie looking forward to the week.
BUBBA WATSON: First of all, at Zurich, you've got to take your hats off to Zurich. You've got to take your hats off to the PGA TOUR. For them to come up with this idea of showing the fun side of golf, you're going to see buddies, friends -- it really doesn't matter how they partner up, they're going to be buddies for a couple days and you're going to see a lot of smiles, a lot of laughing and a lot of enjoyment of the game of golf. Zurich and the PGA TOUR, you take your hats off -- how would you not want to be here for this event, for them to step out of the box and do something creative like this is pretty amazing.
J.B. HOLMES: Yeah, it's awesome for the players, too, just to be able to play something a little bit different. You get so much attention for the Presidents Cup and the Ryder Cup and everybody watches that, and this is another format that the coaches can watch teams play together, and like he said, it's a blast. We absolutely love it, and hats off to the PGA TOUR and Zurich for doing this because I think it's going to be great. I think they've got a great field this year. I think they're going to get a lot of people watching on TV. Like he said, you're going to see different -- you'll see a lot more smiles, I think, than maybe you normally do, people just relaxing a little bit and having fun.
Looking forward to it. Should be a blast. It's always an awesome deal to play with Bubba. We've played a lot of practice rounds and been getting ready for this all year. We're ready.
Q. I have two questions for Bubba. One, is it nice to be back, because I know you're one of the more popular players at this event being a native of the Gulf Coast and having won here. And two, you mentioned it being fun; is that also going to be something that you have to be cognizant of, to realize that this is an ultra competitive event and you don't want to have too much fun?
BUBBA WATSON: Yeah, it's always great to be back here. You know, my mom is the one that begged me to play in 2011, and I won 2011. It was my mom's idea for me to play and get me to play. And so, you know, a lot of friends and family come over from Pensacola, Florida. It's a pretty easy drive to get over here, so it's always good to be back here and play here.
And then the other part of it, no, I think that's what we miss sometimes. We miss the fun aspect of golf for viewers at home, viewers that are here, and for me personally, it's fun to have a partner. I can shank one in the woods and if my partner makes birdie it doesn't matter how bad I play, we still get a birdie on the scorecard.
You know, it's going to be fun. But obviously we're competitive. We happened to play the Koepka pairing yesterday, and we might have won. I don't know the true answer to that, but we might have won in our nine-hole match that we played.
You know, there's going to be some competition and some fun side of it, but at the same time, you're right, we're going to be grinding it out and trying to win. We want to hold a trophy at the end of the day, or two trophies. I don't know if they have two or one, but we'll figure that out.
J.B. HOLMES: Too much fun, I don't know if you can have that. We're going to go out there and have a blast. We're professionals. We like to win. So we're going to have more fun winning for sure. But the plan is just to go out and have a blast. We would love to win this week, but if we don't win, it's not going to change our lives any. It will be an awesome experience, and we're looking forward to it, but if we just have a blas no matter what, then we can be winners all week. We're just planning on having a blast, and hopefully at the end we'll be sharing that trophy, shipping it back and forth every six months, right?
BUBBA WATSON: Right.
Q. You both play with different golf balls, so how are you approaching that this week, how much have you practiced with the other's brand, and how strategically will you do that on the course?
BUBBA WATSON: So at the Presidents Cup a few years ago, I played his ball. I just told him, I said, I want him comfortable. Don't worry about me. I've never had a lesson. All I do is just play golf, so it doesn't matter what ball you give me. I'm going to play to the best of my ability. I want him comfortable, so if he tells me tomorrow we need to play my ball, his ball, I'm in. It doesn't matter to me. I want to play -- I want him to play his best, and so let me just figure it out after that, so that's what I always want to do. I want to make sure he's comfortable, and I'll figure it out. I'm pretty good at the game, so I can figure it out. And we did all right in the Presidents Cup playing his ball. So if he decides that we're playing his ball, we'll play his ball.
Q. Bubba, somebody earlier today was talking about being aggressive, that you have to be aggressive to win. Do you have an aggressive gear? Can you go more aggressive?
BUBBA WATSON: I can be aggressive. That doesn't mean it's going to work. I think tomorrow is alternate-shot, right, so tomorrow is more conservative. You're playing pretty conservative tomorrow. When you play -- for me and him, we can make a lot of birdies if we're both hitting them pretty good off the tee, so the other days is where we can be aggressive, you know, one person can get it on the green or the next guy can do something or try to chip in when you normally would just try to get up-and-down or something. So you can be aggressive on those days. Alternate-shot, though, that's a different ballgame. That's a hold on, especially if it gets windy like it is today.
Q. Does that mean the pink ball is going to stay in the bag? Is that what that means?
BUBBA WATSON: We'll just have to wait and see.
J.B. HOLMES: It's up to me.
Q. Could you play with a pink ball, J.B.?
J.B. HOLMES: It's a golf ball. I don't know why.
Q. I'm only being half serious, but could it be distracting?
J.B. HOLMES: No, if you had a couple days to practice with it, it wouldn't be distracting.
BUBBA WATSON: I'll answer the question. I only brought white balls here this week. I told him that we'll just make sure I have white ones. I don't want him to -- you know, it does look different if you're not used to it, so I made sure it was just all the white ones, or blue pearl as we call it at Volvik.
Q. J.B. just looking at the field, so many top-10 players, 25, top-50 guys, what do you think of the field, and then are there any intriguing pairings that you guys want to see how two other guys do?
J.B. HOLMES: I know it's a really strong field. It's awesome that this tournament has got that. I think this format has brought in some players maybe that don't normally play, and as far as other teams, I'm just worried about our team and us having fun. We'll just go out there and do what we've been doing and have fun and hopefully at the end we'll be -- have a chance there on Sunday.
BUBBA WATSON: I thought it was pretty cool that we get to play with Gary Woodland. Obviously as we know, he's had some heartaches the last few weeks, months or so. What a great guy that is. And then also his partner is Kevin Chappell, who just won, another great guy on TOUR, and watching him win and the excitement of him winning. It'll be cool just walking the fairways with them, trying to build up Gary -- my name is Gary, as well, so we always make fun of that. So it'll be fun playing with those two the first two days just seeing them and hanging out with them and trying to uplift one and talking about how amazing it was for the other one to get a win after being so close for so many years.
Q. And just the depth of the field overall?
BUBBA WATSON: Obviously you can see in just the names top to bottom, great field, and it's amazing that you get the team event like this, and it still brings a great field, a great atmosphere, and the players I think accepted it right away. We knew how much fun that's going to be, right, playing with your buddies and trying to win and having a partner there when you're not playing so good. You've got another partner to build you up and move you along, and hopefully every team wants to have a chance on Sunday, but there's a lot of good players, so it's going to be a tough week.
Q. Two questions. Bubba, you weren't a guy that screamed overweight. I think the average fan would look at you, you were a thin guy, so what's behind the weight loss? What benefits were you hoping to derive?
BUBBA WATSON: It wasn't any benefits, it was just trying to be healthier. No fried foods. One of the main things that I do, though, is I don't drink any water -- all I drink is water, by the way, and so I don't drink any water or eat anything at least two hours before I go to bed, so everything is digested. Everything is out of my stomach. You know, it just cuts weight pretty quick that way.
Q. Is it a challenge this week being in one of the great food cities in the world?
BUBBA WATSON: No. It's easy for me. I eat food because I have to, not because I really want to.
Q. And I guess I'm stereotyping, but a guy named Bubba doesn't eat fried, fill in the blank, that might be a disappointment to --
BUBBA WATSON: Well, the good thing is my real name is Gary, so I guess it works out that way. When I'm skinny, I'm Gary, I guess.
Q. The Presidents Cup thing, how much do you think a successful week here together could hammer home the point to Steve Stricker say or Jim Furyk that you guys have to be on the Presidents Cup team later this year and possibly the Ryder Cup team in 2018?
J.B. HOLMES: Well, I don't think it necessarily would have to, but if we have another good showing -- like I said, we played well in Korea and this week we come into a team event and come in right at the top or maybe win, it's definitely something to look at. Whether or not they would -- that would be enough to say make sure they have to be on the team, but definitely would confirm that we play well together and our games suit up well.
Q. Just wondering what you guys -- how you went about determining which holes each of you would tee off in the alternate-shot.
J.B. HOLMES: Bubba said he wanted to tee off first. I said okay.
BUBBA WATSON: He gets nervous on the first tee.
J.B. HOLMES: Real nervous. Can't stand it. So I said, you hit it and I'll just watch, and then I'll go up there and shank the one in the fairway, and after that I'll be fine.
BUBBA WATSON: And I'm a good chipper so I'll chip it close. No, you just look at the holes and see what you're comfortable with. First hole is a -- I like to hit driver off the tee matter 100 percent or 50 percent, and it shapes perfectly for my cut driver, so I like the first tee shot. There's a couple holes that he liked hitting the tee shot, so it just worked out. Like No. 4 is better for him on that hole, so it worked out odds and evens.
J.B. HOLMES: I like to hit a cut and he likes to hit a cut, but he's left-handed.
BUBBA WATSON: It just worked out that way. Yeah, it was easy to decide. We decided back in China.
Q. Just wondering how much advantage do you think you'll have with your length, both of you guys?
J.B. HOLMES: Depends on where we're hitting it. If we're hitting it in the fairway, it's a big advantage. If we're hitting it in the woods it's tougher.
BUBBA WATSON: I'd rather putt really well. I'd rather be known as the best putter in the world than the longest hitter. You didn't say the longest hitter, you just said one of the longer hitters. I'd rather be the best putter ever.
Q. Does it play more of an advantage in this format or less?
BUBBA WATSON: Alternate-shot is just -- that's a toss-up. It just depends on who's hitting the shot at the right time and chipping it close and making the putt. Best ball, obviously, yes, we can -- with the right weather conditions we can hit it farther. We have two chances for eagles on some of the par-5s. Again, if we're hitting it in the fairway and we're having the right conditions.
J.B. HOLMES: Definitely, the length helps us be able to make more birdies or being more aggressive, and I think in this format it can free us up because we have another guy that's -- another guy to lean on. As far as the alternate-shot, like he said, I think a big key in that is trying to get somebody that is used to your yardages, or you get somebody that's playing from spots they're not as used to that could get a little bit uncomfortable, but that was one thing that we are used to hitting in the same spots. If I hit it in the woods, I'm not worried about him. I know he knows how to play out of the woods --
BUBBA WATSON: I'm pretty good out of the woods.
J.B. HOLMES: Tall grass. So if he hits it in the woods he's not worried about me, I know how to get it out of there, so in turn for us, I felt like that freed us up a little bit on the driver to be able to not worry about it so much because if you hit it in a terrible spot, we're used to being there.
Q. What kind of strategy do you have on 13?
BUBBA WATSON: What hole is 13?
J.B. HOLMES: Yeah, which one is that one? Depends on where they put the tees.
BUBBA WATSON: Depends on the tees. Today the tees were all the way back but it was straight downwind. I felt like it was going 20 miles an hour, so I drove it probably 20 yards from the green. If it was an up tee, if it was the same conditions today and we were one tee up, I could have drove the green. So tomorrow when I'm there, it's going to depend on where the tee is and what the wind is doing, what shot we have. We might play it out more right and have 100 yards or 80-yard shot it in there. Just depends on the weather and what tee we're playing. Like if there was no wind and we were playing the back tee, you would have to play it more to the right.
Q. Bubba, I was just wondering what your thoughts were on Sergio winning the Masters at Augusta and what does it do for his career going forward now that he's a major champion?
BUBBA WATSON: No, I think it's amazing. I mean, I was pulling for him. When you looked at that, you had two great guys going into the playoff. One had a major and one didn't. And Sergio has been so good for the game. How could you not pull for a guy like that? And so to see him win, his reaction, his excitement, and I think going forward, obviously he wants to win more, but at the same time, he's had a good career. Even if he walked away tomorrow, he'd be very happy with what he's done and being able to win one. I mean, anybody that can win a major, what a special privilege that is to say you've won a major. And with his career and his background of golf, what a special occasion for him and his family and everything. But yeah, I mean, that's just going to make him try even harder to win another one.
Q. J.B. if your teammate bought you birthday dinner tonight, what would it be?
BUBBA WATSON: I did it last night, by the way.
J.B. HOLMES: He got me a magic show and a steak, so I'm good to go.
BUBBA WATSON: It was $1,500, by the way.
J.B. HOLMES: I didn't know I could bring as many friends as I wanted to.
BUBBA WATSON: We had a magician last night. Teddy, my caddie, is from Appaloosas down the street here a couple hours away. They went to high school together, but he lives here in the city. He's a magician. He left today to go to a world competition for magicians. I didn't know they had that. But every time I come to the tournament here, we always go to dinner, and he performs for us, and so last night a bunch of us went, about 15 or 16 of us went and put on a show and everything, and it was awesome. Great food, and then the magic tricks were awesome. That was a day early for his dinner, but I paid for it all.
Q. How did you get teamed up with your caddie?
BUBBA WATSON: In 2006, Ben Crane calls me and said, hey, I've got a guy. I know what kind of caddie you're looking for. I was looking for a Christian man, and so he said, he's a Christian, and I said, perfect, I'll hire him. And so I called him, and then when I called him, he said, hey, I can't work yet, but about six weeks from now, I'll be available, and I said, what? I said, I'm trying to give you a job, and he said, we just had our first child, and I said, perfect, I'll see you in six weeks.
So Boston in 2006, now it's a FedExCup, so 2006 was our first week together, and we've been working together every since. He hasn't quit me yet, so it's working out good.
J.B. HOLMES: The slight of hand was amazing.
BUBBA WATSON: Yeah, slight of hand. Even though you knew he was cheating he was still good.
J.B. HOLMES: You still couldn't see him do it. It was amazing. He was really good, really good.
BUBBA WATSON: The one he did -- so he got three people --
J.B. HOLMES: That one was pretty good.
BUBBA WATSON: And he gave us like 20 cards each. I wasn't involved in it, but he gave three guys give or take 20 cards each -- maybe 15, 16 yards each. And then you had to shuffle them, and he said, the magic number is 3, like that's a real magic number. He sold it to us and everything. We're shuffling, and about that time after he does all this counting and all this stuff, everybody flipped their first card over and it was the number 3. Each person had a number 3 --
J.B. HOLMES: And he never touched the cards.
BUBBA WATSON: He never touched the cards. He stood like this the whole time, now flip that card over and do this. How do you --
J.B. HOLMES: Pretty unbelievable.
BUBBA WATSON: But I liked the balloon animals. They were my favorite.
DOUG MILNE: Well, J.B. happy birthday, and best of luck to you this week.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports