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August 28, 2015

Bubba Watson

Edison, New Jersey

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Bubba Watson, thanks for joining us. Through 36 holes you have a one-shot lead here at The Barclays, first event in the FedExCup Playoffs.

Start some opening comments about a good first two days for you here at Plainfield.

BUBBA WATSON: Well, I got a bad time on 16. Caused me to miss my yardage by 21 yards on 17 so a quick bogey there and then a nice birdie putt on 18 to make dinner and this conversation a lot better.

But I feel great. I've been hitting the ball great. I've been manning up and trusting my sight lines, even though there's a lot of blind shots out here, and it's worked out. And when I've hit in the rough, I've had halfway decent lies where I can advance it. Stayed out of the fairway bunkers enough where I've been able to reach the greens and make pars.

Q. A player commented that if you make the cut you can still win. Do you see that?
BUBBA WATSON: For sure. I'm at 7, and I think -- so even par, I don't know what place that is, but let's just say even par, seven shots back. All it takes is a 7-under in the morning early and then let all the other guys get nervous and you're right there at the lead; or, hopefully another guy around the lead doesn't shoot 7-under so you're still seven back. You can easily do it.

It's kind of like L.A., I think I made the cut on the number and I shot 64-64, bogey-free by the way, but anyway.

So yes, you can do it0, around this golf course, it's a difficult golf course. Tough pin placements, like No. 11, I mean, you can only put the pin in the middle of the green.

Q. Are you having to adjust your wedges into these greens and hit less spin?
BUBBA WATSON: Adjust my wedges, you're saying? Yeah, No. 16, I took a minute and two seconds when I only had 40 seconds, I had 72 yard hole, and I just watched Jordan Spieth, the No. 1 player in the world, spin it about -- I wouldn't say spun it, it just rolled back about 90 feet off the green. So then I was talking to Teddy numbers.

So I hit a 56-degree, which I played around 130. Had 72 yards hole, so I tried to hit it really low so it would skip up the hill and that worked out perfect and I pulled it off.

No. 11, again, is a hole where you get a lot of spin. No matter what club you hit in there, it backs up. We saw Jason Day back it up off the green today. So yeah, there's a lot of shots you might try to flight differently because of the green slope.

These greens are built for like a 9 on the Stimpmeter, not a 12 or a 13 on some of these holes like they are right now.

Q. I notice in your drives, you put a lot of torque into your backswing. Do you have any left? And my second question is when you hit your iron, you have a lot of shape. Do you actually see the line in the air before you execute?
BUBBA WATSON: I don't know if you've ever watched me play golf but I've never had a lesson, so I have no clue about torque or anything like that. I know my back doesn't hurt, so I'm all right.

And yeah, every once in awhile, there's a couple shots -- 16 today, I tried to hit it really hard off the tee because I don't like that tee shot. So that was one I went 100 percent. Normally I don't go 100 percent on my driver.

My irons, yes, I like to shape the ball to feed it into pin locations, so yeah.

Q. Can you describe No. 9, how you played it today? Looked like an interesting par.
BUBBA WATSON: Made par. There's no pictures on the scorecard.

The key on that hole, for me, again, I'm trying to take away a blind shot. So with that being said, if I lay up, or hit it where most guys are hitting it, down in the fairway, you can't see the hole and you're talking, again, one of the handful of the toughest greens we've ever played. No. 9 is a tough green with that slope.

And so, I don't want that shot -- because if it goes long, death. If you go short, death, because I 3-putted yesterday coming up short.

So for me, I took it at that tent, grandstand, whatever you want to call it, and I tried to play it off of it, cut it off of it, keep it out of the bunkers. Today it bounced off of it and went over there. And I knew the lie I had, I had no chance to stop it on the green, because I had to hit it hard enough to fly over the bunker, but with the topspin, there's no chance.

So today, I got up next to the collar, hit a 7-wood. Hit it a little too hard, but again I kept it on the top shelf. So 15-footer back up the hill, so I knew I had a chance to make the putt and luckily for me today, I made the putt.

But yeah, it's actual -- the reason why I hit driver is to make the hole visually better for me on the next shot.

Q. Yesterday you talked about how the course doesn't exactly set up to your eye, but in a way, does that make it easier to accept it when things don't go your way, and how has that been this week?
BUBBA WATSON: No matter what happens this week, I'm ahead of the game. I missed the cut last time and I made the cut this time.

Again, like I said yesterday, I'm hitting a lot of drivers trying to get it farther down there. If I'm going to hit it in the rough, hit it in the rough way down there instead of way back.

Q. Are you enjoying the challenge of this, even though it doesn't suit your eye?
BUBBA WATSON: Yeah, I mean, that's why I play the game of golf. I play the game of golf because it's challenging and it's fun.

I want to hit shots. I want to be creative. I want to pull off shots that I don't practice, and like I've never practiced, hey, I'm going to hit this 56-degree 55 yards in the air and hope it skips up the slope. I mean, I don't have a golf course where I can practice that kind of shot. I don't have greens like this around where I live.

So, yeah, I did it when the pressure was on. I knocked it to roughly ten feet. Now that slope was very difficult so I putted it two feet high and still missed the putt.

But yeah, to create the shot and do the shot under pressure, yeah, that's an enjoyment of the game. That's why we all play it. That's why we play any sport: When we're under pressure, we want to pull off the miracle shot.

Q. If you called a friend tonight and --
BUBBA WATSON: I've got a friend, yes --

Q. Your one friend and said, "how did your day go today," do you say, "I'm leading the tournament," or "guess what, I got my first bad time in a million years?"
BUBBA WATSON: I'm saying that that is hilarious that I got a bad time. And that's why I talked to the rules officials. I told them, I said, I'm not mad at anybody about the bad timing. I went over the time, which is the right ruling.

It's just on a hole like that, on one of the toughest holes we've ever played besides 2011 when we played the same pin placement -- it's very difficult. So I don't see that. I mean, we had to wait a couple holes later on the group on 18.

But yeah, I'm very happy about my round. I'm excited where I'm at. I made the cut and I'm in the last group, so I get to watch the players playing good. And again, hopefully I'm here talking to y'all tomorrow about something else crazy that happened.

Q. When you're facing a lot of blind shots on a course like this, does Ted come into play more? I mean, when you talk about trusting your lines, does that mean trusting what Ted's also telling you more?
BUBBA WATSON: It's really not about a line. It's more about that my ball is going to do what we want it to do. No. 2, the tall threes, because I like to cut the ball and the last couple days the wind has been the last couple days, the wind has been coming down the right -- so downwind or from the right. It's about trusting that my ball is going to cut off those trees.

In the practice round, I hit it deep into the trees but the last couple days, I've hit it right down the middle. So it's about trusting that my ball flight is going to do what it normally does, and so it's not about a line. It's about trusting that my swing is going to create the shot that is needed for that moment. So it's trusting my own abilities, I guess you would say, and my swing is halfway decent that I can find the fairway.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Bubba Watson, thank you.

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