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November 9, 2014

Bubba Watson


ROYCE THOMPSON:¬† Congratulations on a great win, 4‑1 in playoffs, fifth come‑from‑behind victory on Tour.¬† If you could just take us through what happened on 18.
BUBBA WATSON:  The first time?
ROYCE THOMPSON:  The first time.
BUBBA WATSON:¬† Okay.¬† Walking to 18 after making double‑bogey, I knew that I still had a chance.
The par5, you could make eagle.¬† I hit a great tee shot down the hill, tried to hit a 4‑iron from 2233 a little bit into the wind so tried to hit a 4‑iron and kind of fanned it out into the bunker.¬† And.
Then it's one of those things, you always joke about holing it.  And then it actually went in.  So I didn't know how to react and so I just kind of screamed and I lost my voice a little bit.
It was one of those shots, one‑in‑a‑lifetime kind of shots, and so it was pretty neat.
ROYCE THOMPSON:  And the playoff with Tim Clark, take us through what happened, hitting in the bunker again and obviously that great putt.
BUBBA WATSON:  I drew No. 1, so I hit first and I hit it just as good.  It was a little bit cooler temperature.  I think we had two yards farther.
So we had 225 again, the same kind of wind, a little bit into the breeze.¬† 4‑iron again, the same shot, just kind of left it out, because the last thing I wanted to do was hit it in the water, so I did the same shot.¬† Got down to the‑‑ Tim Clark laid up, wedged it in there 25 feet or so.
Got into the bunker.  It was different.  It was on the side slope so it was tough to get at.  You could easily hit it fat because you definitely don't want to go over into the water.  Came out a little soft, softer than I wanted to.  Landed short of the green and trickled out.
Lucky for me though, it was the same line as the bunker shot from earlier so I could see the line and knew what kind of pace I needed to hit on it, knew how much it broke, and I hit it perfect and again it was perfect pace, barely went in.  And then the rest, I'm here talking to you guys.

Q.¬† When you won the Masters, you talked about inspiring others ‑‑ do you see significance in winning in a new country and a massive area for golf, where golf is trying to get bigger and trying to emerge?¬† Do you see significance in that and winning here?
BUBBA WATSON:¬† You know, if you look at it from my standpoint, not me personally, but the shots that I hit, holing out of the bunker, me getting excited, the crowd getting excited; I think if a junior golfer is watching that here in China or around the world, that might inspire them.¬† They want to do that.¬† It's kind of like basketball, you kind of want to hit that last game‑winning shot.
And then to make the putt‑‑ I lost my voice so I didn't yell on the putt.¬† I just kind of, you know, went crazy.¬† I think for a kid watching that, not knowing if it's Bubba Watson or Clark winning, I think that they will see the excitement that the crowd had, the drama that it created and then they will be inspired that way.
But for my own gratification, yes, it was great for me, though, to win outside the U.S. It's a big win for me to win outside the U.S.  I've always dreamed about winning at least one outside the U.S.

Q.  What happened on the bunker shot, the first one on 17?  And how hard is it to really embrace the idea of trying to make three on 18 when there's got to be a big part of you that feels like you might have just blown it?
BUBBA WATSON:¬† When I got to the bunker on 17, there was a lot of sand there.¬† Created a big ball mark.¬† But it came out of the ball mark but it was on upslope.¬† So it was going to be real soft, and you could see that in the pitchmark in the bunker.¬† I knew it was going to be delicate.¬† I went with one more club; normally 60‑degree, went with 56‑degree, tried to get more bounce to fight through the sand, and obviously came out really, really soft.
And then the next one, I tried to take less sand, came out a little bit hotter.  So it was just a very difficult shot, maybe not for somebody else, but for me it was.  The sand was just really, really soft.
But then looking at the leaderboard, you have to set little goals for yourself, and obviously that putt on 16, the 4‑footer or 3‑footer, whatever it was, make that.¬† And I told myself, I'm still leading.¬† Then go to 17, 2‑putt, and going to a par 5, we can still make eagle to have a chance to win.
So I 2‑putted from the fringe, made double‑bogey on 17 and then went to 18 going, if I hit a good tee shot, I can still reach this hole.¬† I hit a perfect tee shot.¬† Obviously I don't want to hit it in the bunker and I did so hit the bunker shot again.¬† It was one‑in‑a‑lifetime, but if I make birdie, and nobody else birdies, we're in a big playoff.
And then it just went in.  But yeah, going to 18, I never gave up.  I just put my head down and kept grinding out, trying to grind out and it's not just about grinding out a win.  It's about grinding out a higher finish.  If you don't win, you want to come in second, if you don't come in second, you want to come in third.

Q.  Have you always been good at that, not quitting?
BUBBA WATSON:  Always coming from behind?  Choking?  Is that what you're saying?  (Laughter).

Q.  No, you said that.
BUBBA WATSON:  You wanted to say it (laughter).  Yeah, you have to look at the positives knowing that you still have a shot.  And great caddie on the bag telling you you've still got a shot, and I'm reminding him I'm still in it.  I'm not giving up yet.
So, yeah, I told him walking into the bunker on 18, I said right when Rickie was chipping, I said, "It's been a miserable couple holes here."  I said, "But this will change everything if this goes in."  
He says, "This is how legends are made."¬† And it actually went in.¬† And I didn't know what to do.¬† So I just yelled.¬† So I didn't know what to do. ¬†And then me and Rickie gave a perfect high‑five ‑‑ or low‑five; we talked about it in scoring how good it was, high five, or low five.

Q.  How far do you think that bunker shot was on 18 in regulation there?
BUBBA WATSON:  The one that I holed?

Q.  25 yards?
BUBBA WATSON:  60 feet, whatever that is.  I don't know how to add.

Q.¬† It's obviously been an up‑and‑down kind of roller coaster year.¬† Wonder if you can sort of wrap your head around the whole thing, from, say, 64,64 at Riviera to where you are now and everything in between.¬† How do you assess the year?
BUBBA WATSON:  I think it's been a great year.  Roller coaster, not really sure if that's how I'd put it, but the 64,64 obviously started off pretty well.  I had some good finishes here and there.
It's all about learning.  It's all about learning the process.  Obviously I think the big learning curve that I had was the PGA Championship was when the media or Twitter people or whatever it is called me out on my issues and hopefully I resolved them.  I'm going to still mess up some days.
But that's really what this week was about, was hanging in there, not pouting, not getting too emotional.  And today, I bogeyed the first hole but then came back with a couple birdies.  And then I bogeyed a hole, doubled a hole and then eagled a hole and then birdied in a playoff.  So it was just about keeping in there until the last moment.
So the year when you look at it, after winning the Masters, just like before, sponsors want you a lot more.  They call you a lot more.  They want you to sign a lot more stuff.  Your fan base grows a little bit, so there's more time with fans signing stuff, doing little contests with fans.
And then how do you still be a good husband‑‑ well, I think I'm a good husband, a good dad.¬† It's all about learning all that, how to deal with it all.¬† It's how do you manage your time wisely and then how do you manage your time about growing the game of golf, how do you manage your time about inspiring people, no matter if it's in golf or just in life in general.¬† And being a good friend.¬† And then golf somehow gets in the way of all of that.
So I think I've handled it pretty good.  A few missed cuts this year, so that's getting better.  My consistency is getting better.  So I'm looking at it as a great year, a good learning curve and obviously the wins are proving that I can and I am going in the right direction.

Q.  Can you talk about the 33 on the front, did you anticipate after shooting something like that, that you would have been in the situation you were in on the back?  And if you had to characterise with a couple words what the back nine was to you, what was it?
BUBBA WATSON:¬† You want me to answer the first part or‑‑

Q.  Wherever you want to go.
BUBBA WATSON:  I'll go with the first part.  You know, this whole week, it's been tough for me.  I've got some new wedges in, trying them out.  But the kind of muddy fairway, they are great fairways, but they are a little bit softer and for me the way I impact the ball, I've hit a bunch of fat shots.  I think we counted six fat shots with wedges that didn't come off the right way, either my technique is bad or I just get nervous or something.  But I did it six times.
On 16, obviously going to the back nine, no, I don't expect to make double‑bogey on 17.¬† But on the back nine, my ball mark, my pitchmark was about four inches behind my ball, a little raised fairway, and hitting the shot on 16.¬† And again, half a groove or whatever you want to call it, short.¬† And so I knew it was fat.¬† For some reason, I've done that all week, I don't know what's going on.¬† And then I had to play smart because of the bunker shot, soft fairway.¬† So I had to take bogey there, take my medicine.
And then 17, unfortunate situation where I flailed out in the bunker and then tough lie.¬† But no, coming off the‑‑ making the turn there, going to ten, actually hitting a good shot into 10, spun off down the slope and made a 2‑putt.¬† Had a chance on 11 for birdie.¬† Great putt on 12 for par.¬† Unfortunate situation, bounced down into the water, thought it was just going to be in the rough; great tee shot on 13; great putt on 14.
No, I never saw I was going to struggle.¬† You never plan on struggling.¬† I was just going to make pars.¬† The back nine, to me, if you look at my scorecard, I had a lot of birdies this week and I a lot of mess‑ups.¬† I think I had three doubles this week.¬† Back nine, challenging.¬† Challenging, grinding, that's what I saw‑‑ that's what the back nine would be afterwards, green out an eagle out of the hole on the last bunker shot.

Q.  Your bunker shot on 72 hole and winning putt, how far out from the hole did you think this ball was starting on a pretty good line, and how far out did you think, hey, this is going to go in?
BUBBA WATSON:  On the bunker shot?

Q.  And the winning putt in the playoff?
BUBBA WATSON:  The bunker shot, you know, it came out perfect obviously.  It hit the green and barely kicked like I thought, barely kicked to the right to take the slope because there was a slope, first I landed into and then it trickled.
From my angle, it's hard to tell if it's tracking or not because it's breaking.  And the crowd, you can just hear the crowd start building.  And then it goes in and you don't know what to do.  Felt like ten seconds I was just standing there in awe but I didn't know what to do and went nuts.
Yeah, it was crazy.  I didn't know until actually it went in, the bunker shot because I couldn't tell.  The putt, luckily for me, it was the same line, so I knew it was breaking that way for sure.  I knew it was fast because I saw the bunker shot take a long time to get down there.
So I knew everything about it but at that moment, you're not trying to run it past when the other guys are already at par.  You're just trying to barely ball in if it's going to fall in and did it perfect.  Like I said, already lost my voice so when it went in, I just kind of cheered without making a lot of noise.

Q.  And distance?
BUBBA WATSON:  The bunker shot, like I said, probably about 25, 30 yards.  Putt, I would say 25 feet, 35 feet, right in that ballpark area.

Q.  At 17, there was some problem with your tee shot.  What's happening there?  What kind of things go wrong?  And after you receive the trophy, as lot of media saw you talking on the phone.  Who were you talking to?  Is that something you can share with us?
BUBBA WATSON:  The first part was on 17, it was just a bad shot.  I flared it out into the bunker.  So that's what I was disgruntled with.  Just not commitment, just flared it out, so I hit a bad shot there.  Got no excuses, just a bad swing.
And then on the phone, that was my wife.  My wife I guess was awake for me watching, even though it's pretty early in the morning over there, and obviously getting kind of emotional, kind of teared up there talking to her.  She just told me that she loved me and I just her I loved her and I'll talk to her later.

Q.¬† Obviously at hole 18 after you grabbed the eagle, first of all, have you considered that's going to be a playoff?¬† And since the leading group has still not finished, have you ever thought about when you are looking at the leading group, that it would be like a four‑man or even five players tied for a playoff at the end?
BUBBA WATSON:  Yeah, when I holed the bunker shot on 18, Tim Clark was still in there to tie me, sate feet, seven feet, somewhere, he's a great putter, one of the best on Tour and I felt like he was going to make it and he did.
The three guys coming down behind us, they all had a chance to make eagle.¬† They all had a chance to make birdies.¬† So, yeah, we looked at it that it could easily be a five‑man playoff and at the same time you're looking at it that there could be some heroics the same way I just did and you could lose.
So yeah, there's a bunch of emotions while you're watching.  For me my emotions were I already lost the golf tournament and then I just had a miraculous shot to put me back in it.  I'm still on cloud nine.  I wasn't really worried about what the other guys were doing.

Q.  You mentioned the graduate fiction of winning your first title outside the U.S. Can you explain why with even two green jackets that was such an ambition of yours?
BUBBA WATSON:  It's a global game.  I was watching when I was growing up, watching the greats of the game win outside the U.S.  I'm from the U.S., so obviously winning in the U.S. is big for me.
But being able to win outside the U.S., I just want to be able to travel and get through the jet‑lag, get through all the things and still perform at a high level.¬† So for me to win out here, this is very big, this is very special for me.
Obviously it's a World Golf Championships, but to win on foreign soil, I guess you would say, it's a great thing and notch in my career for my own personal satisfaction.  It's just something I've wanted to do. I have a few goals left I want to do, I want to accomplish.  That was a big one, to win a World Golf Championships outside of the U.S., so I guess I notched two in one day, so that was good.

Q.  Can you compare this WGC HSBC Champions with the other three WGC events that you've been through, how would you rate this tournament?  And secondly, when you are playing, there's a lot of Chinese fans yelling your name.  Were you surprised to realize that in China, there's so many fans out there who not only know you, but understand you and support you?
BUBBA WATSON:¬† First part, first question is, yes, this is a big event.¬† With the World Golf Championships and the Majors, this is a Top‑10 event across the world, across the board, and this is a big one.¬† I think World Golf Championships are all the same, they are all equal; they are all big events.¬† I think Majors are all equal; they are all big events.
The second part no, I didn't expect a lot of people pulling for me.  I didn't know what to expect really.  But obviously a lot of people like to hit the ball far.  So I guess that helps a little bit that people wanted to watch me play golf and cheer for me and every once in awhile go straight.  They never know what they are going to get, so maybe they get excited about it (laughing).

Q.¬† Congratulations not on only winning the WGC HSBC Champions, but this is the 10th edition of the tournament.¬† So to you personally, for a tournament which has been hosting for ten years, do you consider it a young tournament or like a mid‑age tournament, and do you have any kind of suggestion to the tournament when it comes to the next year or the year after?¬† Is there any kind of advice or suggestion to this tournament?
BUBBA WATSON:¬† I've only played‑‑ this is my third one, so I think ten years is a long time.¬† I haven't played then of them yet.
So yeah, I think it's a great tournament.¬† Obviously I don't see any suggestions.¬† This is a big one on the schedule.¬† HSBC puts on a great tournament.¬† China host a great tournament.¬† It's a special one.¬† But obviously I don't know of anything different except maybe not make double‑bogey on the 17th hole next year.
ROYCE THOMPSON:  Thanks, Bubba, and congratulations again.

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