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January 14, 2006

Bubba Watson


JOAN vT ALEXANDER: Thank you, Bubba, for joining us for a few minutes here in the media center at the Sony Open in Hawaii. A great start on the front nine with those four birdies that got you jump started and turned into a pretty good round. Why don't you just talk about the day, and maybe compare the conditions from the last two days to today.

BUBBA WATSON: Well, the conditions, you knew it was going to be easier. The wind is not as hard. The ball is not being affected as much. Downwind is only a one club instead of two club now. That's pretty much it. Everybody knew it was going to be low today, a lot of low scores today.

JOAN vT ALEXANDER: What did you do well today?

BUBBA WATSON: Kept it in bounds. (Laughter.) I don't know, I think I putted pretty well. I missed some putts, but then I made four in a row I think there, and that's really it. Only one putt I knew I should have made and I missed, I guess that's on 4, where I made bogey.

Q. How did you learn how to play playing whiffle ball?

BUBBA WATSON: My dad played a little bit but he could barely break 100. So he taught me at age 6 he took me out there for the first time and the head pro of the golf course was left handed and gave me a little 9 iron. So I only had one club for the first year and just goofed around with it and I just hit the 9 iron around the house.

Q. Inside the house?

BUBBA WATSON: Yeah, around the outside. So going around the house you had to learn how to move it this way (indicating around) and going back the other way you had to move it the opposite direction. With trees in the way and all that stuff, you had to learn how to hit it lower, higher. To hit a whiffle ball farther, you had to swing longer like John Daly and just hit it as hard as you could. And it would only go that much farther (indicating three feet), but as a six year old, you thought that was a long ways. That's what got me started.

Q. Nationwide guys are playing well today and all this week, do you feel a fraternity with those guys?

BUBBA WATSON: Yeah, they treat you so nice out there and when you get here, this is unbelievable. This is a dream come true, what you get up here. So all of the guys kind of stick together because that's the only guys we know right now. We had 21 come off well, Jason Gore was already here but that's all the guys we already know. We don't know like Fred Funk and Mark Calcavecchia. It's an honor to play with those guys.

Q. Did you play with Funk today?

BUBBA WATSON: Played with Fred Funk today, yeah.

Q. On average, how far ahead of him were you?

JOAN vT ALEXANDER: On 18, he was 140 yards behind him on 18.

BUBBA WATSON: He was trying to be nice about it. He was 50 to 40 yards, just getting somewhere around there, behind me, average.

Q. Did he say anything to you about your length off the tee?

BUBBA WATSON: No. He tried to stay away. (Laughter).

No, we didn't even I mean, he knew it. I knew it. We just didn't even talk about it.

Q. Did he look smaller back there as far away as it was?

BUBBA WATSON: Yeah, he's already pretty small.

Q. What did you hit in on 18 all three days?

BUBBA WATSON: I hit lob wedge first day and made an easy par and then I hit sand wedge in yesterday, and I hit wedge in today.

Q. When kind of shape do you have to play off that tee there?

BUBBA WATSON: A big slice, I have to slice it as hard as I can, right over the edge of the bunker and slice it as hard as I can.

Q. The bunker on the right side?

BUBBA WATSON: No, no. A little inside that bunker, near the bunker on the left side where the trees kind of come out, I go right over the top of those trees and slice it as hard as I can. And I still can't hit it to the left side; as much as I slice it, I still can't slice it enough to go left. I've always been on the right side.

Q. Those three clubs that you hit in there, is that a pretty good gauge of the wind over the three days?

BUBBA WATSON: That's pretty much the wind because the first day it was really blowing. And the wind, my driver would just go so much farther once it gets up in the jetstream and it just takes off.

Q. Beyond the whiffle ball story, does the length come from anywhere else?

BUBBA WATSON: That's it. I don't work out. Don't exercise.

Q. Have you ever wondered where it came from? It's got to be speed, I guess, and timing.

BUBBA WATSON: My arc and my swing, my arms, and then just timing and hitting the ball you have to hit the ball pretty much solid all the time. If you toe it, it's not going to go as far. Most of the time, I hit it close to the center.

Q. Heath isn't terribly long, but his caddie is.

BUBBA WATSON: They said he's not now. I guess he broke his wrist a year ago.

Q. There goes that.

BUBBA WATSON: Yeah, now he's not hitting it very far at all.

Q. We watched you a little bit Thursday or Friday, you were playing right behind Michelle and you were playing with Bill Haas the first two days?


Q. And we were laughing in a positive way the ridiculous lengths you were hitting it, when you came out here, and given your reputation, do you almost feel like do you think about it, that all anyone ever talks about is, he hits it 520?

BUBBA WATSON: Yeah, I think about it every day. Every shot I'm nervous, I'm just happy to be here. But yeah I think about it every day. If I hit it short, everyone is going to say, this guy is not that long.

Q. What's short for you?

BUBBA WATSON: I don't know. I just hit it, that's all I know.

Q. Who is the last guy that outdrove you?

BUBBA WATSON: I don't know. If I hit it like I want to, I haven't seen a person yet that can that's on the TOUR. The long drive guys

Q. They don't count.

BUBBA WATSON: A guy on TOUR, and I hit it my best, I don't think anybody can hang with it. (Laughter).

Q. Who do you think from watching on the Nationwide is the longest hitter out here? Who would you like to play with?

BUBBA WATSON: Out here? I've love to play with Tiger just because it's Tiger Woods. I don't think John Daly or Hank Kuehne or Scott Hend, I don't think they can hang with me when I'm hitting it if I hit my best, there's not too many people that can get within shouting distance.

Q. Mickelson is going to be trying his hardest, I can guarantee you?

BUBBA WATSON: I've played with him a few times.

Q. Where was this?

BUBBA WATSON: His caddie used to live in Athens and I went to Georgia, so he would bring Phil over. I played against him.

Q. When did you play with Phil? Was it when he came over to Athens?

BUBBA WATSON: I guess THE TOUR Championship started going to Atlanta, and you know how before I got to Georgia at 2000 and so I went there for two years. So that back then was when Phil used to take the week before the Masters off, so when they would go to Atlanta to play the BellSouth, he would just come to Athens and hang out

Q. He used to play matches with over there with Bones.

BUBBA WATSON: Yeah, I remember one story. Bones shot 68, Phil shot 78, but he beat him by 20 because Phil always gives him ten shots.

Q. So you played with Phil out there in Athens?

BUBBA WATSON: Yeah, we played.

Q. That must have been just killing him to have you drive it past him.

BUBBA WATSON: Yeah, but if you ask him, he outdrove me a lot. (Laughter). He's not going to say I outdrove him.

Q. He can probably blame it on inferior technology, though.

BUBBA WATSON: Exactly. (Laughter).

Q. Why only two years at Georgia?

BUBBA WATSON: I'm not very smart. I went to junior college for two years. I went to junior college first and then went to Georgia.

Q. Did you graduate or just

BUBBA WATSON: No. I got one credit shy.

Q. That's good. That's way better than Tommy Tolles did.

BUBBA WATSON: I didn't want to graduate from Georgia. I'm not happy about that school.

JOAN vT ALEXANDER: Let's go through your card. Bogey on 4?

BUBBA WATSON: Yeah, I hit a 6 iron in there around the fringe about 40 feet, 30 feet and hit it to like five feet and just missed it.

Birdie on 5. Hit 2 iron off the tee, hit a 9 iron in there about 10 feet I guess, made it.

6, birdie, I drove it in the bunker down there and I hit wedge in there to about 12 feet and made it.

7, I hit 8 iron in there to about two feet and made it.

8, I hit driver into the right bunkers. I had a bad stance and hit wedge in there to about, oh, 15 feet and made it. .

10, I hit driver about 15 yards short of the green and then just flopped it in there about five feet and made it.

Bogey on 11. I hit a fat 6 iron short of the front bunker and chipped it to like 15 feet and missed it.

Pitching wedge on 18 to about 40 feet or so.

Q. What happened on 9?

BUBBA WATSON: I hit it in the rough, just inside the bunker off the left there and had to chase it up there and didn't come out very good, just short of the green. Chipped it like ten feet and just missed it.

Q. How often do you change out your wedge, groove wise?

BUBBA WATSON: Not very much. I use lob wedge a lot. I change out my lob wedge a lot. I use lob wedge to chip every shot around the green. I hit it a lot into greens and then chip out with it.

Q. What's it like to shoot 66 and lose three or four, five shots here? What does that feel like?

BUBBA WATSON: It feels all right, because I played good. Being a rookie, it's all right for me. You get the learning experience.

But no, you just knew that the weather was going to be like this, we could play better. A couple years ago, I guess like 27 under won here. So if.

Q. Just being your first event of the year, happy with where you are? Feasible tomorrow with what Chad and DT are doing?

BUBBA WATSON: Probably not, but I'm going to give it my all. I'm not going to quit.

I'm happy with where I am because the reshuffle is like in seven tournaments, so you have to make the first goal is to make the cut and make sure I'd have something towards the reshuffle. When I was up there in the Top 10, why not go ahead and try to get a first win.

Q. Do you know what your number is?

BUBBA WATSON: My number is 39 after Q School and Nationwide. So I'll get into AT&T. I think everybody gets into that.

Q. You were an alternate this week?

BUBBA WATSON: I was first alternate. Only one guy dropped out. On Sunday I knew I was in when I got here.

Q. As a rookie, what was your reaction when you saw the schedule?

BUBBA WATSON: To what schedule?

Q. New schedule, the new structure of the TOUR, I guess.


Q. Yeah, what was your immediate thought, when you either heard whatever you heard or saw it?

BUBBA WATSON: I heard after our championship, I was home for a week after our Tour Championship in the Nationwide. Ben Bates is a Tour veteran and now he's on the Nationwide Tour. He told me it was great that I made it to '06 season, because if you don't get Top 125 for '07 where you have full exempt status, you might not get in first 30 events because now nobody knows if Tiger is going to play every week, nobody knows if Phil is going to play every week. They are probably not, but until they start taking off, you are not going to get in.

So they are not going to get in if they have no status, Nationwide guys and Q School guys with a number like I have, 39. So my goal is to at least get Top 125, so I can play and pick my events in '07.

JOAN vT ALEXANDER: Thank you, Bubba.

End of FastScripts.

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