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January 29, 2015

Bubba Watson


THE MODERATOR: Welcome Bubba Watson to the Phoenix Open Waste Management media center. 6-under 65 in round 1. You've got to be pretty pleased with the start. Could you tell us your thoughts on round 1 today.

BUBBA WATSON: Yeah, it was nice. I made a bad swing on 2. I thought I hit a pretty good chip, missed the putt on 2, made bogey there. Hit a great tee shot on 3, great 4-iron. Made a good putt there to get it to 1-under after a bogey for the eagle. Played steady. Didn't really miss many putts. Never really hit it close. Back 9 hit a good wedge shot on 10, a good wedge shot on 11, so I made two 10-footers, maybe one 6-foot and one maybe 10, 12 feet. To keep the round going on 12, made that par putt there from, just make up a number, 18 feet, 20 feet. Then I got lucky in the desert on the par-5 13. A couple breaks went my way right there in the middle stretch of the back 9 which kept me going, so obviously that and just threw in a couple birdies here and there, solid birdies. So all in all it was a great day, and I needed to get a few birdies so tomorrow's weather I can struggle a little bit to make the cut.

Q. Would you like it if more tournaments were as rowdy as this one?
BUBBA WATSON: No. That's like asking if we want to play the USOpen every week. You don't want to. I mean, you will, but you don't want to. And I think it would lose its luster. Everybody would get tired of it. And the media would get tired of it, the golfers. The fans would get tired of it. They'd be passed out too much. They'd get tired of it, too.

Q. Two questions, piggybacking on that question. It was a record today, about 30,000 over last year's attendance. Did you feel it out there?
BUBBA WATSON: For sure. I played behind Tiger. I could feel his crowd was really big. You could feel it, the energy. Obviously even with the weather the way it was. Kind of spotty. People still showed up. People still had a blast. And obviously Tiger created a lot of that.

Q. And on 17, can you just replay what was going through your mind?
BUBBA WATSON: I missed a six-foot putt.

Q. Before that.
BUBBA WATSON: Before that. I thought I read it good. No, it's roughly -- it's 315 to the front edge. So for me, the bunker is roughly 275 to get over, pot bunker, middle of the fairway. Get over that with a low trajectory. It's going to run up on the green. I hit it perfect, cut just over that bunker, flew over it. So I knew it was going to bounce towards the hole. It's hard for me to see out there. I could hear the crowd. Teddy's got good eyes, so he could see it. I didn't know. From the tee we are just guessing how close it was. There was a big roar. I got up to the green, and all I saw was a ball in the rough over there, and Tiger came over and said, Great shot. I said, Well, where is it? Is that over there? He said, No, it's up by the pin. So, yeah, obviously it was a great shot. I wish I would have made the putt. That would have been a lot better story.

Q. What did you hit?
BUBBA WATSON: Driver? Off the tee? Driver. I hit a low-cut driver just trying to get it over the bunker and made a run up to the green.

Q. They made several changes to the course in part to deal with longer hitters and their primary landing areas. How much difference does it make in how you play this course?
BUBBA WATSON: It's just a different mindset, different -- I mean, when you're adding length to a golf course you still have to hit driver. But it's funny to me how they add length and then shorten the landing zone. They make it skinnier. They don't want you to hit it any farther but they want to stretch the course out. It's funny to me. It makes this golf course a lot different and tougher. Today I hit my driver nicely. I think I missed two fairways, which is pretty good for me. G30 worked out today. But, yeah, for me today it was about the driver. Around this golf course my driver stays in play. My irons are pretty decent. So now it's a driving golf course. There are a couple things they could tweak here and there. It's about 85 to 80% perfect the way they changed it, but there are a couple of little things. Nothing major, though. It doesn't change the outcome of the score if you changed them, but just the way it looks.

Q. Given the energy and the crowd, were you happy in the group that you were in, or would you have more preferred to be in Tiger's group?
BUBBA WATSON: I shot 6-under, so I'm happy no matter what. If I would have shot 5-under, I'd be happy no matter what. Obviously if you get to play with Mr. Woods, Tiger Woods, it's an honor, it's a privilege, and it's a treat because you get to learn from him. You get to -- I don't care what he shoots. You still learn from him. That would be like playing with Jack Nicklaus or Arnold Palmer. You still learn from those guys.

Q. I meant just from the energy.
BUBBA WATSON: That's what I'm saying. You learn from that, and you've got to learn. If you're going to play with the best players in the world, you'd better have that energy because you're going to have to feel it at one point. If you want to win another major championship or win your first one, you have to get used to energy like that and crowds like that. Why not, on an everyday tournament, get paired with the best and get to feel it.

Q. Looked like you had a funny exchange with Jordan after that drive after they walked away. Said something to Michael kind of funny. What was that exchange like between those two?
BUBBA WATSON: We were going to -- his caddie, I got tickets to Jim Gaffigan, and I gave him a ticket. He said something about my tee shot. He said it was so lucky. I said, I'm going to take your ticket away, you ain't going. Jordan just said, Good shot. Great shot, you know. That was it. Same as Tiger. Tiger said, Great shot. That's all you can do is applaud somebody when they hit a great shot like that.

Q. What's the biggest success factor going into this weekend?
BUBBA WATSON: Making putts. Around here, right now these greens are, like any course that redoes their greens, whatever they say, they worked on these greens, they fixed them, changed them, and so, you know, it's going to take a year, year and a half, maybe two years to settle to where they are going to be flat and true reads. Right now you're going to have some that aren't true reads. I'm not saying that mine today I missed were true reads. They were bad strokes. But you're going to have some of those. And especially on the weekend when it gets under pressure, you will have reads that are different, some different pin placements obviously we have never seen because of new greens. Obviously the golf course he wants tee shots to be the big factor, but then the greens are going to be a big factor too if they firm up. If the rain hits, it could be softer.

Q. You came so close to winning here last year.
BUBBA WATSON: I missed that same putt I missed today. Maybe tomorrow I'll make it.

Q. Did that nag at you, or were you able to let that go?
BUBBA WATSON: I won the next week. I'm dumb, too, so I let stuff go. You know, I understand it's a game. When I was growing up, we didn't have much money, so a second-place check is a pretty good amount of money. I don't know if you've looked at those lately, but they're pretty good. I let it go. I look at it as going -- at the beginning of the week I'd love to have a chance to get in the playoff. So last year I had a chance from five feet to force a playoff, and I missed it. So all I can do is get ready for the next week. LA, I came back and won the very next week. Obviously, because of my mindset being dumb, I can let it go pretty quickly.

Q. Georgia? Just to clarify?
BUBBA WATSON: Milton High School graduate. Boo Weekley, Heath Slocum were my idols.

Q. How is the adoption coming?
BUBBA WATSON: It's finalized. All good.

Q. When was it finalized?
BUBBA WATSON: Let's make up a date. Five days ago. Right in that area. Four days ago maybe. I will just go ahead and tell you the truth. We've had her since November. We have had her since birth. I can talk about it now. We have had her since birth. Angie was there. I was overseas trying to win China. Two days after I won China she was born. Angie was there at the hospital. We've had her since about 10 weeks old, yeah, give or take, maybe 11 weeks old. Where is the statistician when you need him?
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