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July 14, 2015

Bubba Watson


THE MODERATOR: I'd like to welcome Bubba Watson into the interview room. You're coming into this week of The Open after a win two weeks ago at the Travelers Championship. Does that give you some added confidence as you come into your third major championship of the year?

BUBBA WATSON: Yeah, for sure. I'm looking forward to the challenges just like we do every week. I missed the cut here 2010, so I'm looking forward to trying to make the cut, and then challenging -- watching Jordan Spieth, watching McIlroy, challenging and trying to win another major, watching these great players win. I want to be up there and have a chance on Sunday.

THE MODERATOR: How do you feel about St. Andrews? Do you have a special feel for this place?

BUBBA WATSON: Well, I'll tell you in a few days, but you know, it's a beautiful place. It's the Home of Golf; how would you not want to be here? How would you not want to compete here? Just playing here with buddies is well worth it, but now playing here in the championship is an honour and a thrill. Rumour is there could be some winds this week, kind of like in '10 when we had the wind delay, so it's going to be a challenge out there.

Q. Not just the 2010 championship but your Open record as a whole is probably nothing like as good as you'd want. For a guy who likes to be creative and shape shots, is that a little bit of a surprise to you?
BUBBA WATSON: I wouldn't say a surprise. I would say The Open Championship is tough. The ball bounces around a lot, rolls a lot. The way I like to move it in heavy winds is pretty difficult. So it's not really the -- on paper it's probably not the best for me, with all the conditions you add to it. A little bit of water, I don't really play good in the rain because I move the ball so much. You know, lucky for me that we don't play every course like this, so I have a chance to perform at a high level somewhere else. But it's a challenge for me because it's trying to figure out the right spots, and it's trying to hit the ball straighter. Same thing at Chambers Bay this year, it's the same kind of -- not really the same kind of golf, but trying to be the same kind of golf. For me it is harder to hit the straight shots because I don't see the straight shots. I've got to learn that around here. I haven't done it yet. I haven't done it very well yet, so hopefully in the near future I can learn it and still make some putts where I have a chance.

Q. You've kind of touched on this in your opening remarks, about Rory and Jordan, watching them go and rack up the majors. Just watching them do that, how much of a kick up the backside has that given you, and has it given you added impetus and desire to get back to winning more majors?
BUBBA WATSON: Well, they're not making me have that desire, I have that myself, which is why I play the game. Watching Rickie win some big tournaments -- you know, when you watch some of your buddies like that winning, you want to compete with them. You want to not get too far behind them. Luckily I threw in a win at Travelers there so I'm not too far behind them, even though I think Spieth has got like four wins this year. But it's fun. You get excited. You watch your buddies play and perform at a high level, so it makes you want to go out there and grind and get better at the game, same as Tiger did. Tiger pushed us to a whole new level and now you've got these young guns coming out. Rory is getting so much older now compared to Spieth, but you've got these young guns coming out and performing at a high level. It's going to make us work harder and train harder and try to get better for our own careers.

Q. After Rory, the next five guys in the World Rankings are all Americans. Does that signal kind of a resurgence for American golf, especially after the Ryder Cup?
BUBBA WATSON: No. I mean, what, two years ago you thought there was no Americans in the top 10. I mean, it's golf. No golfer steps on the first tee and wonders where you're from. We just wonder if we can beat you. We don't care where you're from. It's just one of those things, golf always guys in cycles. Right now the Ryder Cup is going in the wrong cycle for my side, but yeah, it's cycles, it's golf. Some days you're going to play good, some days the other guy is going to play good. It's just a tough game.

Q. This is just a quick clarification on your first answer. You said the way I move the ball wasn't necessarily helpful for these conditions. Is that because you hit the ball high when you move it in the directions you do?
BUBBA WATSON: I just move it a lot. And it's not because I want to. I want to be like the greats of the game, hit the ball dead straight, I just can't do it. I've never tried to do it and I don't want to change my game. I'm doing okay right now, you know. I'm getting to play The Open Championship, so my moving the ball is doing okay. It's just I move it so much, I've got a -- at certain golf tournaments I've got to figure out how to hit it straighter, especially in heavy winds. The winds can get up pretty high here, so I've just got to figure out how to hit it a little bit straighter I guess you would say.

Q. Going back to the Travelers, I think you said that it was the way that you ground it out, the determination you showed that saw you through in the end. Was that the main reasons for you winning in that event? And secondly, we don't get much chance to see him over here, Paul Casey, because he's playing on your Tour now. How do you feel that he is playing at the moment?
BUBBA WATSON: Well, I'm going to answer that part first. Obviously he's playing great. His name is up there every week. He's a great champion, new parents, so all that added in, he's playing great right now. He's probably excited, he's pumped about life with the new baby and playing great right now. So yes, Paul Casey is obviously a great champion, but obviously he's playing really well right now. For me, I made some putts -- I've been hitting my driver really nicely. I took five weeks off and then I played a tough course, Chambers Bay, missed the cut but I knew I was playing well, so I won the following week just because I made some putts, hit my driver -- I've been hitting my driver really nicely. I think that was just a combination of me getting one more putt to go in than Paul at the time.

Q. Is there almost just like a psychological thing that you have to get over when you play in The Open Championship, and do you almost have to try and convince yourself that you're enjoying it out there?
BUBBA WATSON: No, I'm enjoying it. I love it. I come over here because I love it. You know, we played golf yesterday -- when I say we, me and my caddie, we played here, practiced here, and then we went to Kingsbarns, my friend is in town, as well. I love this kind of golf. It's a challenge. It comes down to making putts. I haven't putted really well in the wind. If it's me wanting the putts to go in too much or if it's the wind, if it's just I'm not used to it, just one of those things. I putt halfway decent, I only missed the cut by one a few years ago here, so it's not like I'm trying to search for my game of golf over here, it's just there's still things, chip better, putt better, things we're all trying to do each week, get better at the game.

Q. If you win The Open will we see the floodgates of emotion open again?
BUBBA WATSON: Well, yeah. Would your flood gates open if you win?

Q. For sure.
BUBBA WATSON: Exactly. This is a golf tournament. We're trying to compete every week in a golf tournament. This one is a little bit bigger than most, and so yeah, for sure. It would be exciting. Again, for my own personal satisfaction, my own personal career, it would be an honour and a thrill to somehow have a chance on Sunday and then somehow pull it out.

Q. Do you see yourself hitting a lot of drivers around here, and what kind of things go into game planning when you and Teddy look at how you'll attack this course?
BUBBA WATSON: The first thing we look at is blind shots. I'm all visual. I like being able to see the fairway and rough cut so I can kind of shape it, see what shape fits my eye. But when it's a blind shot, I can't see a shot obviously because I don't know. So it's about trusting my lines, trusting the clubs off the tee, so the first few holes, depending on wind, we don't know with the wind, but like the last two days it's been a lot less drivers on the front nine and really not that many drivers as most tournaments because the ball is running so much and you're trying to stay out of these little bunkers that are positioned it seems like right in the way of my ball, it seems like every hole. So you're trying to avoid those. But yeah, depending on wind and how much firmer it gets, driver stays in the bag a little bit more around this place.

Q. What is your line and shape on 17?
BUBBA WATSON: Over the hotel.

Q. How much shape do you play in that thing?
BUBBA WATSON: Depending on what club I hit, driver -- I don't want to hit the window, so I try to take a little less cut there. I didn't play it today. I quit after 16 today to go do some stuff. So yesterday I hit it just inside the hotel, cut it back to the middle of the fairway. But it depends on wind. You know, I might not take driver off that tee, just depending on wind, or I might take driver, so it just depends. If it's any other club, it'll be a draw, but driver, I don't like to draw it so it's built to cut, so I play a cut just inside of the hotel there.

Q. And secondly, what would it take for you to wear a kilt?
BUBBA WATSON: I don't know if you look at social media ever, but when we lost the Ryder Cup, me, Rickie, Sergio and Rory, you've probably heard of those guys before, we all wore those in our team room. I hate to say, I had underwear on under mine. Some other guys did not. (Laughter.)

Q. Stop.
BUBBA WATSON: Okay, perfect. So it didn't take much, really. I just put it on.

Q. You hit the Waffle House in Augusta after winning the Masters. Have you staked out a venue should you win here?
BUBBA WATSON: Well, I noticed there was a Domino's Pizza right across the street here. I haven't looked or seen a McDonald's yet, and I know from past experience there's a Subway, I think, if it's still there. So yeah, something like that. Something easy.

Q. In regards to the wind, just looking at the forecast, it looks like it's going to be a couple of days of really strong winds. Do you have a mindset going in, or just whatever happens happens and deal with it when it does?
BUBBA WATSON: Yeah, you just have to deal with it when it comes. I mean, you can stress out about it now, I guess, but you know, I was looking at the weather. It's changed since, but Thursday, it said afternoon rains on Thursday and I was teeing off in the morning, so I was a little excited there, pumped me up a little bit, and they say all day Friday, winds on Friday, winds on Saturday. I'm hoping I'm there Saturday to fight the winds. No, we had a wind delay in 2010 my first time here, missed the cut by one, so make one or two more putts, I'll be able to compete on the weekend and have a chance to challenge a difficult golf course.

THE MODERATOR: Bubba, thank you for joining us. Best of luck.
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