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ARNOLD PALMER INVITATIONAL PRESENTED BY MASTERCARD


March 20, 2013


Bubba Watson


ORLANDO, FLORIDA

DOUG MILNE:  We'd like to welcome Bubba Watson to the interview room here at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.  Bubba, thank you for joining us.  You're making your eighth consecutive start here at Bay Hill, and coming off of a Top 5 finish T4 here last year.  So with that, we'll take a few comments on being back here this week.
BUBBA WATSON:  Yeah, I'm excited about it.  I've played well here throughout the years.  Anytime you can come back and take a glimpse or shake hands with the King, it's a big honor and a big thrill for young golfers and for golfers everywhere, I think.
But to come back here and support the tournament, now having a house here in Orlando at Isleworth, it's right in my backyard.  And I've been talking to them about joining here.  So, yeah, I'm going to be probably a member here pretty soon.
DOUG MILNE:  Had a little interruption with rain, but you had a chance to see at least nine holes on the course today.  Just some comments on how you found it?
BUBBA WATSON:¬† It was good.¬† The rough looks thick, but it's not too bad.¬† It's playable.¬† The greens are running pretty good.¬† The firmness of them, I think are great.¬† I think the fairways and teeing areas are the best we've seen in years.¬† I'm looking forward to it.¬† I think the golf course is going to play well.¬† There are always pop‑up storms here in Florida, but I think overall it will be a good test.
They were showing the replay from last year when Tiger won, and I finished fourth.¬† They were showing the replay, so I think they went out to a big lead, and I finished tie fourth.¬† What was it?¬† Tied 4th.¬† So I finished at 5‑under.
So you look at that, and this golf course can take some good golf, and it shows a challenge to everybody.¬† You don't go out and shoot 20‑something under par.

Q.  Have you been up to Augusta at all this year to play any practice rounds, and will you between now and the tournament?
BUBBA WATSON:  I have not.  I'm supposed to go Wednesday and Thursday of next week.  I'm taking my manager and, I call him my money man, but Randall Wells, my good friend who does my taxes.  I'm taking them because I normally don't go.  I wouldn't go.  But I just feel like I should do something nice for those two.

Q.  Do you feel any different now than you did maybe when it settled in, maybe a week or two after last year?  As time has gone on, have you had like a moment like I really did this?
BUBBA WATSON:¬† Because of the way I live my life, the way I'm‑‑ I'm blessed beyond belief.¬† Where I grew up and where I'm at now in my career.¬† So I look at it that it's amazing that I even get to play in the Masters, and then to win it is a dream come true.¬† But I don't feel any different.
Since The Masters, I haven't won.  I've lost a lot of tournaments since then, so I just see it as another tournament.  But when I stare at the green jacket and I see it, and I see all these articles that we're doing about The Masters previews coming up, it's a big honor and a big thrill, and it hits me.
I've probably teared up once or twice looking at my son, because that is basically the anniversary of us adopting our baby boy.¬† So it's a big deal for our family because of that.¬† It's a celebration.¬† Now when I go back this year, it's going to be a celebration of our boy and a win.¬† But mainly for us and our family, it's about our boy, and our one‑year anniversary of adopting him.¬† So for us, it's about having a good time and trying to win the golf tournament again.
But when I look at it, I have a wow moment, because it's amazing that a guy from Bagdad, Florida named Bubba Watson actually won the green jacket.

Q.¬† When did you decide‑‑ you moved to Orlando last year, right?
BUBBA WATSON:  Well, we adopted our boy, Caleb.  He couldn't leave the state of Florida because of paperwork and government rules and regulations, so we had to lease a place.  So I went to Isleworth, most secure place, knew what was about to happen.  And I said, Do you all rent houses here?  And they said no.  And I said here's my situation.  And they got one that day.  Joe Lewis, and the team at Tavistock took care of us really well.  So we stayed there six months roughly, seven months maybe, until he was allowed to leave.  Then we went back to our house in Scottsdale, and then I bought a house during that time as well because we loved it there.  The golf course is great.  The facilities are great.  It's family oriented and all that stuff, so then I bought a house there.

Q.  Somebody said you bought Tiger's house; is that true?
BUBBA WATSON:  No, now it's my house.

Q.  But it was Tiger's house?
BUBBA WATSON:  Yeah, it was Tiger's house.  We redid it all.  We loved the location of it, and we redid it all.  He let me buy it because he moved out of there.  Yes, we just redid it.  I've been in there for four nights now, yep.

Q.  Does anybody make jokes about doing anything with the fire hydrant?
BUBBA WATSON:  I don't listen to those people.  The main thing is there's a lot of people that mess up in this world.  There are a lot of people that do wrong.  I've done wrong in my life.  Not you guys, because you guys are great all the time.  But other people that aren't in this tent right now really mess up.
So when you look at it, there are people that have done tax evasion, they've done other things in this world, and people still buy their houses.  So I love him as a person.  He made a mistake.  I forgave him, and he's living through that.  So, no, I see nothing wrong with me buying his house, and the people that are making the jokes, they're dumb.  They mess up too.  So when I look at it, that's the way I see it.

Q.  People are talking to you a lot about The Masters.  Do you get more questions about that or being in the Golf Boys?
BUBBA WATSON:  Right now all these writers are trying to do their previews, and The Masters is coming up a lot.  I'm like, man, I'm trying to win the Bay Hill tournament.  But, yeah, the Golf Boys was a lot better this year.  We stepped up our game on it, so obviously I'm getting a lot of younger people liking the Golf Boys.

Q.  Any major renovations to the house?
BUBBA WATSON:  Yeah, we saved about roughly 5% of it, and we added and made it bigger.  We changed pretty much everything.  It doesn't look like the same house.

Q.¬† You talked about having not won since The Masters.¬† In some strange way did winning there make it‑‑ not to suggest that it's easy to win‑‑ but did it make it almost harder for you to kind of follow‑up on that success, given the way you won and the emotions of it and everything else?¬† And all the attention and demands that everything else that goes with winning The Masters, did it somehow make it harder this past year for you?
BUBBA WATSON:¬† No.¬† I think the competition is hard.¬† It took me five years to finally win on TOUR, and then I just had that stretch where I won a few in a year period.¬† Then I came close to all these tournaments last year.¬† I'm top 25 in‑‑ I think there was a stat, my wife told me the other day, 85% of the time now I'm top 25 in tournaments, top 10 a lot of times.
So to get to win status, to win a tournament, things have to go your way.  Not lucky.  You have to make the right putts, chip in.  Like Streelman, he chipped in on the third hole in Tampa the other day when the ball was kind of rolling fast.  So things just have to go your way.
I've had some good tournaments.  I've played some solid golf, consistent golf, just not good enough to win.  So I don't see it as the tournament made me do it.  It took me five years to win the first time.  If it takes me five more years to win, I'll accept it, because I'm winning again.

Q.  There have been a lot of positives.  What's been the most difficult thing for you since that Masters victory?
BUBBA WATSON:  Most difficult thing is more media attention and more fans.  My platform now, I can raise charity dollars, some good charity dollars.  Not just me putting my own dollars behind it, but my partners, all my companies that I'm with, Ping, eBay, Richard Mille, Titleist, all these people, Oakley, all these people want to be part of the charity events and do some good in this world.  So that's what I see now.
My platform now is bigger because of the win, and I can do better things in this world, not just be a golfer that just grinds on the golf course.  I've got other things I want to do in my life.  So golf is not the only thing I do in my life.  It's just the only thing the media talks about in my life.
So for me, the challenge is more media attention, more fans.  You don't want to make the fans mad.  You're signing autographs, spending more time there talking to them and things like that.

Q.  How did you come to meet the Duck Dynasty people?  Did you play golf with them or hunt with them?
BUBBA WATSON:  So we happen to be on Twitter writing stuff to them on Twitter.  And all my loyal fans on Twitter that follow me, they retweet a lot of my stuff, and I thanked them for that.  So Jase and Willie got to see it on their Twitter accounts, and it was me, Larry Fitzgerald, Bryce Harper, the baseball player, and then Johnny Manziel got on there as well.
So we were all talking about the Duck Boys and Duck Dynasty, and they saw that, and reached out to us and reached out to me.
Them being Christians and me being a Christian, they wanted to hang out.  So last week I said, Hey, I'm going to come up.  So I came up and hung out with them.  Had dinner at Willie's house, and then Kay and Phil, they cooked for us the next morning for lunch and everybody from the show was there.  Met Si, Justin Martin, all the guys from the show.
Then we played golf.  We had two groups.  Took them out to play golf, and I beat them.  But they took me to their land.  They have hundreds and hundreds of acres to hunt on.  So they took me to their duck blinds.  I've never been hunting in my life.  I'm only saying duck blind because that's what they said to me.  I don't know what that means.
I don't like guns.  I don't like shooting.  But I said I'd go duck hunting with them.  So next year we might sneak out there and go duck hunting with them.  So we met through Twitter, basically.

Q.  Did you have duck to eat when you ate with them?
BUBBA WATSON:¬† No.¬† Godwin and another guy from there, they caught some fish, I think, on Saturday, and we ate‑‑ they froze it and we ate the fish.¬† They cooked it up at Willie's house on Monday when I was there.¬† Then some kind of steaks Phil cooked up for us on Tuesday for lunch.¬† Then he also cooked me some‑‑ I think he calls it sticky chicken, because I wanted chicken.¬† So he made an exception and cooked me chicken as well.

Q.  Is this something you think would have come your way had you not won The Masters, or do you think this is one of the upsides of having won The Masters to do things like this?
BUBBA WATSON:  The power of Twitter and the power of my Twitter fans is they retweeted enough.  Then talking to the greats of their sport, Johnny Manziel, Heisman Trophy winner, Larry Fitzgerald who is pretty good at his sport too in football, and Bryce Harper is a pretty good baseball player as well.  So I was just a lonely guy named Bubba that joined in the conversation.  So I'm the low man on the totem pole in that group.
But, yes, it helped my influence through Twitter, but also I think their show that's brought to the U.S. now their family time together, their prayer at meals at the end of the show.¬† Without me seeing that, I wouldn't have reached out to them.¬† So I think for their success, my success, it made us match‑up, knowing what they believe in life and I believe in life.¬† Now they're coming to Bubba's Bash here in Orlando on May 17th.¬† They're going to come here and speak.

Q.  All 12 event this is year on TOUR have been won by Americans.  Going back to last year, it's 14?
BUBBA WATSON:  I hope it happens this time, and his name is Bubba.

Q.  Are we seeing a little bit of a Renaissance of American golf after there's been a lot of talk last year that foreigners were winning a lot of our events?
BUBBA WATSON:  You know what's funny, and I've always said this.  Nobody's ever listened before.  But most of what we call foreigners live in the U.S.  They play on our TOUR.  So when we look out on the first tee, I don't look and say, oh, that's Tiger Woods, the American.  I say that's Tiger Woods, the greatest that's ever played.
Tomorrow I'm playing with Webb Simpson and Bill Haas.  I don't care where they're from.  I'm trying to beat them.  And the foreigners don't care where I'm from.  They think I'm foreign because I'm from Bagdad, but they don't care where I'm from.
We're the only people not looking where they're from.  Talent is talent, no matter where you come from.  It's like anything.  Americans have had a stretch.  I remember a few years ago, not y'all again, but other media outlets said that Europe was dominating the majors and Americans were losing it and all that stuff.  So it always has its ups and downs.
My golf career is going to have ups and downs.¬† People are going to write bad stuff, people are going to write good stuff.¬† It's just one of those things.¬† Right now we happen to be winning and making a few more putts‑‑ well, not we, because I haven't done anything.¬† But the other guys are making a few more putts.

Q.  In Orlando now you go to Magic games a few times?
BUBBA WATSON:  Friday night and Monday night, I might be there.

Q.  Do you like to go back and forth with Jameer Nelson on the Twitter wall.
BUBBA WATSON:  Yep.

Q.  Your thoughts of the Magic now?  You live here, and going back and forth with Jameer?
BUBBA WATSON:¬† Yeah, so next season, my goal, wife allows me, I'm going to have season tickets court side at the Magic games.¬† You know, Jameer was in a house in Isleworth, and he's still there.¬† He just started playing golfright after I won the Masters.¬† A lot of these athletes‑‑ I follow every sport because I love sports and I love ESPN.¬† So I'm following every sport.¬† So he follows golf, and he just started getting lessons.¬† I met him, and so we've been friends.¬† He's got four kids.¬† I just adopted Caleb, so I met his kids, he met Caleb, and we just became friends.
Things we do in life kind of were similar, so I've talked with him and text with him a lot.  So I got to see him in Miami against the Heat, and they almost pulled it out against the Heat.
Yeah, we just became friends that way because we lived in the same community.  They have family night Wednesday nights at Isleworth, so we met at family night one night.

Q.  You Tweeted living in Orlando and a couple of radio stations that you listen to.
BUBBA WATSON:¬† Yeah, I grew up loving rap music, but rap music, I don't know if y'all know this, but it has a lot of cussing in it.¬† So this station here is called Hot 95.9, and it's positive hip‑hop.¬† So basically, I'm not supposed to say this, but it's Christian music, but Christian hip‑hop, Christian rap.¬† But positive music is what they like to call it.¬† So, yeah, it's Christian music.¬† And Z88.3 is just a Christian radio station as well, but it's not hip‑hop.¬† It's the more slower stuff.¬† So I listen to both of those.
Yeah, that's a big positive for me, because around the house my wife listens to Christian music, so Caleb and everything, and we're trying to get away from the cussing because that's just boring hearing.  Not a very good education when you use cuss words all the time.

Q.¬† The new Masters video game has the old Augusta National‑‑
BUBBA WATSON:  And it has me on the cover.

Q.¬† With the Legends, that you can play with the Legends.¬† Your thoughts?¬† Have you have a chance ‑‑
BUBBA WATSON:  Do you consider me a legend or are you talking about the other guys?

Q.  Well, if you keep going.
BUBBA WATSON:  Yeah, if I keep winning, I guess.

Q.  I know you're a gamer.  Playing the old national in black and white as a legend, who would you pick?
BUBBA WATSON:  Obviously, I'd pick someone who has won a lot so maybe I can play good on the video game.  Obviously, you're going to go through all of them.  As a fan of golf, golf happens to be my profession, but I'm a fan of golf, a history buff of golf, you're going to go with the greats.
But obviously, I really want to play myself.  I mean, what kid grew up that played video games doesn't want to play themselves on a video game.  And that's why they started creating and you can put your own face and everything, and now that mine's on there, I want to play with mine, because I'm still a kid at heart.
I'm 34, play golf for a living, and I'm a Masters champ, I guess, but play golf for a living, and I still enjoy it.  Like yesterday, we went out.  Sorry to name drop, but we took out Rickie Fowler, my caddy, Bubba Stewart, the supercross motorcross guy, and Ken Griffey Jr., so all of us are big kids.  We just want to play.
We talk trash to each other, and same thing on the video games.  If me and Rickie or somehow Tiger ever played video games with me, we'd talk trash at that as well, because we're athletes, and we want to compete at every level no matter what it is.  But I want to see myself.  I want to become a legend.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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