home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


March 16, 2023

Bubba Watson

Harold Varner

Talor Gooch

Thomas Pieters

Tucson, Arizona, USA

The Gallery Golf Club

Range Goats GC

Press Conference

THE MODERATOR: Welcome the Range Goats GC. We have Bubba Watson, our captain; Thomas Pieters, who is new this year; Harold Varner III; and Talor Gooch, who is new to the Range Goats.

Bubba, this is your first press conference since the rebrand and since you're a playing captain. Can you please tell everybody the genesis of the name Range Goats, the pink, the logo, tell us everything.

BUBBA WATSON: There's too much to tell, but when you think about it, we all go to the range, we all want to become professional golfers on the range, so goats, but golfers on a team. That's what "goat" stands for. That's what we're doing. That's what we're trying to grow. We all want to play on a team. We all want to have fun playing the game, but why not play with your buddies. If you lose, you play with your buddies and you try to build each other up, and if you win, you celebrate with each other and try to do it again. You go to battle with them.

For me, we wanted to make something fun, something energetic, something that we could get behind and love, and hopefully the guys agree they kind of like it.

It turned out well. I think the branding turned out well, and it's been fun to do. It's been really fun to do.

THE MODERATOR: For the three players, what was your first reaction when you heard Range Goats and saw the pink and the logo? Did you guys like it?

TALOR GOOCH: At first I was like, all right, explain this to me, and once he explained it, I'm like, man, I'm in. It's cool. I love it. It's going to be different, like I said, energetic and just bringing something different to the game and to the league which kind of fits what we're trying to do as a whole here in the league.

I fell in love with it after I kind of got more of the backstory of it.

HAROLD VARNER III: I just think pink looks really good on Black people, so I was really pumped about that. I really like the color and the logo. I wasn't really sold on the name. Still not, but it's pretty funny for our group texts. But it's Bubba's team, so he's going to do what's best for the team.

I think it doesn't matter what team name it is, if you're winning they're going to love it. I don't really like the Aces but they're winning all the time, so it looks good. I'd rather play well.

THOMAS PIETERS: Same. It stands out. I like the pink. I think Bubba is obviously very creative, and I think we're all behind him on this one.

THE MODERATOR: This is in our your second LIV event. Tell us about your experience so far, how does it feel to be out here and part of a team for the first time.

THOMAS PIETERS: Yeah, the team thing is what really is catching me. I obviously didn't play well in Mexico, but you felt after the first round you can really contribute -- I've looked up to Bubba playing golf; he's an awesome golfer, and he's really like taken this team thing. I feel like I'm part of it. Talor played college golf with him, and he's an unbelievable player, and then Harold, we go pretty far back, as well, and it's pretty nice to be on a team with them.

Q. Talor, this is your first year with the Range Goats. How has the experience been different for you, and are you enjoying being part of this team?

TALOR GOOCH: Yeah, it's been great. These two guys and now this third guy are the reasons why I came over here. We're really optimistic and excited to get the season going and go try and win some trophies, get on podiums. I keep telling them I can't wait to spray them right in the face with some champagne. It's only a matter of time before it happens, and hopefully sooner than later.

THE MODERATOR: I just want to read some statistics to you guys. I wasn't sure if you guys were aware of the quality and caliber of the field that you guys are playing against week in and week out. We have more than a quarter, 13 of our players are major champions, more than half, 25, have competed in either the Ryder Cup or the Presidents Cup, we have four former World No. 1s, one current Hall of Famer and 11 have already met Hall of Fame criteria. Our field out here is on par with what you guys were doing before you came over. Do you feel that when you're out there? Do you feel like the quality and integrity of play is on par with the other tours you guys have played on?

HAROLD VARNER III: I mean, I think they're really good because whenever I play bad, I don't finish very well. I think it's pretty noticeable.

I don't really -- my job is just to compete. All that other stuff, if I cared about the other stuff, I wouldn't have came to LIV. Yeah, they've done all that stuff but this is new and this is fresh and I want to win, so I don't really care how many times they've won.

THOMAS PIETERS: I think about James Piot and Eugenio and guys like that that came straight from college golf basically into these types of fields. If I was 23 and that happened, my eyes would have been wide. It's cool for them, they don't know any different, but like I said, anytime I see them I kind of chuckle because I see Lee Westwood and Phil Mickelson and Cam Smith and Bubba, all these guys next to these kids who have never played professional golf and they're out here competing and doing well, and Eugenio obviously won, so it's cool to see.

We all know, you can't just fake it out here. You've got to play well, or more so, if you don't play well, there's not another 147 guys to cover up your bad play.

If you don't play well, it gets exposed, so no one wants to be the guy that's not playing well.

BUBBA WATSON: To feed off what they said, there's pressure out here. You're trying to compete. You're trying to not finish dead last, and you're trying to compete for yourself but also mainly for your team. That's what you want to do. These are great players out here. The competition is pressure packed. I can't wait to get in the last group. The second off, No. 1, just so I can feel that pressure again and try to attack and try to overcome that, not only for me but to keep the team up there and have a chance to get on the podium.

THE MODERATOR: Thomas, being new out here, how do you feel the quality of play is compared to other tours you've played on?

THOMAS PIETERS: I think obviously it's very competitive. I told my caddie in Mexico, watching one of the leaderboards, seeing like Oosthuizen and Smith and all these names up there, it looked like a morning wave of a major, just no afternoon wave because the field is that small. But obviously the quality is there. Same as Harold, I didn't play in Mexico and I finished almost last, so that does not feel good.

Q. Just kind of piggy-backing off what Jane said, this week we've got 13 major winners, 24 major wins. Last week of the 75 guys that made the cut at Sawgrass there were 12 major champs with 16 major wins. What's your reaction when you hear about the difference in the quality of fields?

HAROLD VARNER III: I ain't answering that.

BUBBA WATSON: I think, yes, we're all good players. We've all won tournaments around the world. We're here to compete and we're not worried about what other tours have. We're just trying to win and we're trying to win for our teams, and the 48 guys here are trying to all do that for their team. It really doesn't matter.

Like you said, coming from college, they've won tournaments in college, they've played high levels to get here, and they're trying to make a name for themselves, so we're all trying to compete for each other. I'm trying to beat these three guys and I'm hoping they finish right behind me this week so we can get that win.

We're not really -- it doesn't matter what tournament we're in, we're just trying to compete at a high level against ourselves and against the other guys. We don't look, we know who's a good player. We know which players are ranked in the world or what should be ranked in the world. When Phil Mickelson, when DJ, when Cam Smith, when these guys show up, you know they're a great player, so you're trying to battle them. Same thing with these guys, we're all trying to battle, and it doesn't really matter what World Rankings are, we're just trying to lift the trophy at the end of the day.

Q. Talor, do you have any thoughts on that?

TALOR GOOCH: Yeah, exactly what Bubba said. Last year being on the Aces we won a lot, but it wasn't coasting easy wins, and we all played well. Like we know each week, each round how crucial it is for the team and how easily things can change day in and day out out here.

Getting a win is so important to us, and that's why we keep talking about we're just trying to compete, we're trying to win, and that's our main focus. Like I said, I keep telling them in the group text, I'm about to spray you all with some champagne, so get ready. It's what we want more than anything.

Q. For all four of you, I was wondering if you could take us inside the Range Goats' team room. What's a typical meeting look like? Who does most of the talking?


THOMAS PIETERS: It's fun. It's entertaining.

BUBBA WATSON: We had fun. We had a match this week, yesterday, the Hy Flyers asked if we wanted to kind of compete, and we want out and played with them --

HAROLD VARNER III: Went out and busted that ass.

BUBBA WATSON: I didn't want to say that, but yes, both of our two-man teams won their match.

HAROLD VARNER III: Tell them Phil got busted in the mouth.

BUBBA WATSON: I really wanted to say that because Phil asked me and I said, let me ask my team, and they were like, yes, we want to beat Phil Mickelson, so that worked out good. So it's fun. Our team has been fun. Other teams want to play, they want to get in the vibe, they want to get the team going. That's what this is all about. We all jumped ship because we want to play on a team. We want to compete at a high level.

That's good to see that interaction that other teams want to compete against us during practice rounds just to kind of give us that competitive edge so we don't lose it while we're playing practice rounds and shooting the breeze. We're really grinding out there and trying to beat each other.

Q. Harold, how would you describe a typical Range Goats meeting?

HAROLD VARNER III: It's me talking smack. Yeah, there's things I don't like and I'm very opinionated, and they answer to it. Like same way, if I do something wrong I want to know, and I think that's what a team is for. I express it and I say it loudly, and I listen and try to. It's fun for me because usually it's like I'm going to do what I want to do and I'm really good at doing that. Yeah, it's fun.

Q. What do you say is your biggest responsibility as a team captain, number one, and secondly, the business end of it, how much do you get involved? How much time is that taking off the course, and do you enjoy that part of it?

BUBBA WATSON: The first part is to make sure these guys are -- I've said it before. Let me change that up. I said it before when I was on Ryder Cup teams, Presidents Cup teams. When I have a partner, my job is to make them loose, make them focused, let them enjoy the round. Now it's a different level. I've got three guys that I want to be here for, whatever they need me to do, whatever they need the team to do. That's what I'm here for. Make them enjoy the game of golf, help them grow the game of golf but also help them compete.

We keep saying, this is about our team. We want to be on the podium. The Niblicks were not on the podium so we tried to change the name so we could get on the podium as the Range Goats.

HAROLD VARNER III: That's not why we weren't on the podium; it's because you were walking with a limp over there.

BUBBA WATSON: They needed it be to commentate. Man, Harold made another bogey. It's the third one in a row for Harold, yay.

From that aspect, that's really what I'm doing is just trying to fire those guys up. When this old guys is beating them or out driving them that puts a little fire under them, but then from the business side I enjoy it. I truly enjoyed it.

Man, a few years ago, I never thought I'd be an Olympian. Olympics came to the game of golf after 102 years, 103 years. When I think about that now being a franchise owner or part of a franchise, it's a dream come true. I never thought that would happen in the game of golf, and being able to do that, break away and start something new and creative, it's awesome. That's why the Range Goats, like I said, the Range Goats, there's so much more meaning behind it. It would take too long for this press conference to get that out there, really what the name means to me and my team. It's been a pleasure and an honor to be able to say that I'm one of the guys that are part of LIV and part of a team and getting to play golf with these guys. So from the business aspect, it's been a dream come true.

As a young kid, I never thought there was an opportunity, but now there is an opportunity to be a franchise owner. I can't afford an NBA or a baseball team or an NFL team or a hockey team or any other team, so it's cool that I'm part of the start of history. Maybe y'all can but I can't.

Q. Bubba, given that you're a Masters winners and the numerous amount of Masters winners that are here at LIV Golf, what do you think the atmosphere is going to be like in that chins dinner this year?

BUBBA WATSON: I think it's going to be great. I still talk to guys on the PGA TOUR. I still talk to people that work on staff at the PGA TOUR. It's been amazing communicating with them.

I still reach out on their birthdays, reach out at Christmas. We still talk. I still watch and pull for my guys. So I can't wait to get there because when you're wearing the green jacket at the dinner, everything goes out the window. You know how blessed you are to be in that room and how thankful you are to be in that room. I've already talked to guys, and we can't wait to hang out because I haven't seen Ted Scott in a while.

I'll give you a secret, normally I eat before, eat a couple burritos before I go to the dinner because I don't know what they're going to have. But when I saw his menu, definitely want the dessert and I definitely want a couple sliders. So yeah, I can't wait. It'll be fun.

Q. Thomas, what was your deciding factor in joining LIV, and what is your thoughts on the so-called strategic alliance that the other Tour has tried to form?

THOMAS PIETERS: I mean, the only team I wanted to play for was Bubba's team.

BUBBA WATSON: Say that again.

THOMAS PIETERS: You heard me. And a team that Harold was in because I knew that would be fun and competitive, and then I heard Talor was joining, so it was obviously a no-brainer for me.

Your second question, I never wanted to really play full-time in America, and this was too good to be true to come over to LIV, so I did it.

Q. If you could go into a playoff this weekend with any team, what would it be, and I think Talor would -- I think I know what he would choose.

HAROLD VARNER III: I think we would all choose that. We got his back. We want the Aces all day. DJ knows the deal.

BUBBA WATSON: The better question is which two is going to play. Don't I get to pick two?

HAROLD VARNER III: You can pick whoever you want; I'm going.

BUBBA WATSON: I can pick whoever I want but you're one of them.

Q. Also tickets for Saturday, there seems to be a trend, we saw Adelaide where there are no more tickets for Friday, Saturday and Sunday and now here in Tucson now that golf is back, Saturday tickets, I've heard it's sold out. What are your thoughts on playing here in front of Tucson fans? Golf is huge in Arizona. How excited are you guys?

BUBBA WATSON: Yeah, I actually talked to some volunteers and some people outside around the town. They're very excited to have golf back. They had the Champions Tour. That's all they have right now, so they were very excited to get us back here. They want to see some great golf, so they're pumped.

Arizona has always loved the game of golf, but Tucson is thriving for it, so yes, Saturday is sold out, we're really close to selling out the other day. It'll be a privilege to be able to put on a show and us be on that podium.

Q. Bubba, this question is for you. You've had your son on the course with you all week, on the range. What's it mean for you to be able to have your son right there, enjoy the game of golf with you, grow up within the game?

BUBBA WATSON: Yeah, it's absolutely amazing. It's one of those things where I haven't been able to do that inside the ropes other places that I play, and so for me to come here and be part of a team, be part of these guys -- my family was a big component of coming here, but also a big component of the Range Goats' logo and color, and to have my son, who will tell you he's not a golfer, he wants to play other sports, it's fun coming here and letting him hit balls and just interact with these guys. These guys have treated him like their own kid. It's been a dream come true. It makes me tear up sometimes that these guys would take him under their wings, and for him to play in the pro-am today, it was special. He birdied the last hole, so it was cool to be able to do that.

He and my family have put a lot to the side to let me play golf for a living, so it's been an honor and a privilege to have him inside the ropes, and LIV, I can't thank them enough for letting us be a family out here and letting us 48 do pretty much whatever we want, so it's been fun.

Q. The ruling on the golf ball, we'd like to get your reaction?

BUBBA WATSON: Justin Thomas. I do not like it. That's pretty much what he said.

Q. Why?

BUBBA WATSON: Well, there's many reasons, but first off, first of all, the commercialism is the one that's paying all these bills for USGA and all these other organizations, and now you're asking them to spend millions to change a ball or design a new ball and do all those things. Why? Professional golfers are a small, minute in the game of golf as a whole, who all plays it, so why not make a driver that lets some guy hit it straighter, further. Make a ball that lets a guy or a woman, kid, hit it further. Just because you hit it further doesn't mean it's going to go straighter. I'm not trying to throw Bryson under the bus, but Bryson tried to do something, he did do it, but he dialed it back a little. He still hits it further than everybody but he dialed it back a little because he realized your misses are further -- because I've been dealing with that for a while, my misses are further off.

Going back to the ball, I just don't see the reason why. We're the one sport that's changing what we do, and we get mad when a guy shoots 10-under for three straight days, but we celebrate when a guy scores 50 points or scores three home runs or four home runs, a guy throws seven touchdowns. We celebrate that. We don't make him, hey, you can't throw that many passes the next game, so why are we messing with that.

The sport is at an all-time high, so let's don't mess with it, let's just keep it growing. That's my short answer.

Q. The question to all of you, if you're playing in a major and it actually requires you to play a different ball, is there a possibility you might say, no thank you?

BUBBA WATSON: I'll ask my sponsor first if I'm allowed to, and then I will gladly play that ball if they let me. If I'm in a major --

HAROLD VARNER III: I'm going to play whatever they tell me to play.

BUBBA WATSON: Or if LIV says you've got to play this ball, then --

HAROLD VARNER III: That's the only thing that gets me about the whole ball thing. Everyone is complaining about the millions of dollars, there's a lot of money, but if they change the golf ball and they give you a golf ball, we're going to play the golf ball.

BUBBA WATSON: I'm not good enough to do anything else. Make up random questions, I guess I could do that.

HAROLD VARNER III: I just don't think that we're -- everyone is mad about what's happening, but if they tell us to play a ball, we're going to play that ball. It's pretty simple.

BUBBA WATSON: Long hitters are going to be long hitters. Corey Pavin -- I'm not trying to call out Corey Pavin. Zach Johnson, Jim Furyk --

Q. Harold mentioned you in that conversation.

BUBBA WATSON: That's fine.

HAROLD VARNER III: Hey, I haven't seen him play tomorrow. He's old and decrepit.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

ASAP sports

tech 129
About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297