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November 5, 2014

Bubba Watson


ROYCE THOMPSON:¬† We'd like to welcome Bubba Watson to the interview room.¬† Last season was probably one of your best seasons, if not your best, two wins, Northern Trust and then your second Masters and a total of eight Top‑10s.¬† If you could, just talk about starting your season here in Shanghai.
BUBBA WATSON:  It sounds weird; the year is not up yet, so it sounds weird that we are starting the season before the year is up.  But I'm looking forward to it.  Looking forward to every golf tournament we play.
But obviously a World Golf Championship, I've never won a World Golf Championship, so to be part of this, ten years now, this event, to be part of that, been here the last three years, looking forward to it.  The golf course is beautiful.  The resort's beautiful.  The atmosphere here is great and the weather is obviously perfect.
ROYCE THOMPSON:  Then you got to see a little bit of downtown last night at a cool event.
BUBBA WATSON:  Yeah, for sure.  Downtown was beautiful.  The building is right down the river and then to be a part of the lantern dance was pretty neat to see other cultures and be a part of other cultures, it's a pretty fun experience.
ROYCE THOMPSON:  And then lastly, happy birthday.
BUBBA WATSON:  Thank you.  36 today.  36 years old.  About to retire I guess (laughs).

Q.  Last year Dustin Johnson shot two 64s to win the tournament.  Do you think you've got to go as low as that to win it this year?
BUBBA WATSON:¬† I would say yes, because the guys are pretty good.¬† I think 40 of the Top‑50 in the world are here.¬† Obviously these guys can play golf.¬† Golf course is in beautiful shape.
Just like any golf tournament, it comes down to putting.  There's nothing I've seen that's going to, the rough is pretty bad but it was pretty bad last year.  So yeah, I expect low scores again.

Q.  How good do you think you can be?

Q.  Golf.
BUBBA WATSON:  All right.  Golf.

Q.  You know what I mean by that?

Q.¬† Do you think you've reached your ‑‑ how close do you think you've come to reaching your full potential?
BUBBA WATSON:  I don't think I've come that close.  I expect better from myself but it comes down to the mental focus and getting over the bad shots or too high of expectations, I'm not sure how you word it the right way.
Obviously I believe in myself.  I believe I can be better.  I believe I can perform at a better level.  I think I scratched the surface a little it last year, still had my hiccups, still had my bad moments, still had my bad press.  I think it's always learning.
But I think before, we used to talk about mid‑30s where guys play their best but I think it's now getting closer to 40.¬† The expectations of good players are getting older now I guess.¬† The 40‑somethings are still scoring at a high level.¬† I think I've just scratched the surface and if I keep grinding away, I can improve a lot.

Q.  Happy birthday once again, and great to see you for the season starts.  Is there any other than Masters you're aiming for after you've won a couple of them already?
BUBBA WATSON:  I think any golf tournament, you're trying to win, you're trying to compete at a high level.  It really doesn't matter if it's a major or regular event, World Golf Championship, you want to win.
So for me, any golf tournament that I'm in, I want to win.  I want to compete at a high level.  Yeah, I'm aiming at all of them.  This week is a big week so I'm trying to win all of them I play in.

Q.  It may be joking aside when you talked about media criticism, you said that a couple of questions ago.  Is there any legitimate criticism that you're referring to and that you want to improve on or not?
BUBBA WATSON:  Well, yeah, all of it.  Any time that somebody writes bad presses, the only way I'm going to improve as a human being, improve as a husband, improve as a dad, is when you get people that call you out.
When I make mistakes, when your friends call you out, when the media calls you out, when my wife calls me out, when my mom calls me out; when these people call you out and tell you you're doing something wrong, it's not to punish you or get on to you.  It's about to help you improve later in life.
So any time there's bad press where I show anger on a golf course, the media that calls me out and says something about it, that's the only way I'm going to improve.  If everybody said I was great all the time, then I would never improve as a human being.
So I love it, I love that the media calls me out.  I love when my friends call me out.  My mom calls me out a lot, and I do love it.  So that's the only way I'm going to get better as a person.

Q.¬† You can't love it at the time‑‑
BUBBA WATSON:  Well, I'm a human being, so I know when I do wrong.  I'm a Christian.  I believe in the Bible.  The Bible teaches us right from wrong, so I know.  I'm a sinner.  I mess up a lot.  So I know when I do right from wrong.  I've been taught the right thing to do.

Q.  What does your mother tell you off for most?
BUBBA WATSON:  She tells me that I'm not being good (laughing).  I need to smile more.  I try to explain to her on the golf course I'm focussed and not trying to smile and make everybody laugh.  I'm trying to play good golf.  She tells me I should smile more and not be so angry.  Pretty much what the media says.  I guess she could write for the media, too.

Q.¬† For a player to enter the final round and final day to be in the Top‑10, how does it feel and what do you need to do in order to prepare for that moment?
BUBBA WATSON:¬† For a guy going into Sunday as Top‑10, you're thinking about a win.¬† You're thinking about, you have a great shot at winning.
You know, when a guy is almost dead last or close to the bottom of the list, you know, it's a different feeling because you don't have that pressure and you don't have the emotions of trying to win to try to pull out a victory.
Obviously the night before, you just keep doing what you're doing.  You need to just relax, get something good to eat and then just kind of get away from the game of golf.  Just hang out with your friends, like over here.  I Facetime with my child back in Florida, so you kind of get away from the game of golf and just try to relax as much as possible.
ROYCE THOMPSON:  Thanks, Bubba.  Good luck this week.

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