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November 4, 2015

Bubba Watson

Shanghai, China

CHRIS REIMER: Want to welcome our defending champion, Bubba Watson, here to the interview room here at the WGC HSBC Champions.

Bubba, one of the most exciting and memorable finishes of the 2014 2015 PGA TOUR season. Opening comments reflecting back on last year's win.

BUBBA WATSON: It was wild. Went from 2 up to bogey, then made a double bogey and I made an eagle. So it was very exciting for everybody. I would like to have an easier victory, but it was nice to win and nice to hit that shot. It's one of those shots that you dream of trying to pull off and actually happened. So it was good.

Q. Can you talk about how you prepare differently, and if you do, coming over here; obviously the travel. You're here I'm assuming just for the week. How is it different than going to the Phoenix Open or Pebble Beach or something else?
BUBBA WATSON: I'm playing in Japan next week, so I'm here for two weeks. But it's not any different. I come over just like normal. Get here usually on Monday, Monday afternoon, somewhere around there, so I don't treat it any different. My family is not here so trying to get more rest and get caught up. It's really no different. We just have to try to get some more sleep, more rest and plan out the day a little different than back home because you're not trying to catch up on time or figure out the time zone.

Q. I don't think you were in Malaysia last week, right?

Q. So this is your first start of the 2016 for you. Can you just talk about that and
BUBBA WATSON: Yeah, it's 2016, 2015.

Q. Can you just talk about that and outside of the normal majors going on, it's a Ryder Cup year, it's an Olympic year and all of the things that are involved with that and how you've kind of had to space or focus on your schedule to be able to participate in all or most of those.
BUBBA WATSON: I haven't changed anything. I did everything the same, same schedule. I've been playing the same schedule for the last, I don't know, since I got into big events for the last five years I guess.

So I haven't really changed anything. You know, one tournament here or there, add it or subtract it, just because of life situations. That's really all I've done. I haven't changed my schedule. Played the same schedule. It's all good playing good. If you play good golf, you get in all the team events. If you play bad golf, you're not going to get in them.

Q. I believe you are playing in the Thai Golf Championship later in the year?

Q. Is it something you've started to enjoy, coming to Asia and playing golf over here? Is there something about the place that you feel different about, if you can just talk about that?
BUBBA WATSON: Yes, when you look at the game, the game is growing globally. I wanted to win outside the U.S. and after getting a taste of a victory outside the U.S. here last year, I want to do that again. I'm going to try to do it again.

So for me, getting better as a golfer, as a person, I want to try different cultures and learn different golf courses in different areas of the world. And so for me, it's just fun. And right now, I'm playing pretty good. So I have the ability to travel and play and do some things that I want to do for my own career and my own personal goals. So that's why I've travelled and played more than some other guys.

Q. Which players might have influenced you in encouraging you to travel and play?
BUBBA WATSON: It's not really any players that have encouraged me. It's just wanting to do it. You know, golf has taken me around the world as an amateur, but also as a professional and for me, you know, we always hear about careers and different things.

You hear about people winning outside the U.S., and so for me, I just wanted to travel and try to win. Getting a taste of it last year, I want to do again. It's kind of like you win one major or one golf tournament, you want to win another, and so for me, it would be nice to have two outside the U.S., so I can say it's not a fluke. I can actually play.

So that's really what started it. Why not come out and see the world and try to play golf.

Q. As an amateur, did you have a very exciting trip at some point that made you think, I really want to win everywhere?
BUBBA WATSON: Yeah, I played on the U.S. a team and went to South Africa. USA Team won in South Africa. As a kid in high school, I went to Ireland and played just for fun with a couple friends. So I've travelled different places and just maybe and watching golf on TV. Obviously watching guys from all over the world winning and competing, and so just it drives you to get better in the game. To get better, you want to try to get to all areas in the world and play against different talent and different cultures and see different golf courses around the world.

Q. Golf wise, what are your expectations and ambitions for 2016?
BUBBA WATSON: Same thing, our first goal, my first goal is to win a golf tournament every year. My second goal is to make a team. This year it's Ryder Cup, and so I would like to do that. That's really the two main goals that I have every year is win a golf tournament and make a team, Presidents Cup or Ryder Cup, whichever one is happening that year.

Q. You're not picky about any golf tournament; any golf tournament?
BUBBA WATSON: No. If you were playing professional golf, you just want to win any of them. Doesn't matter which one (laughs).

Q. Going back to the travel for a second. Can you tell us the places that you enjoy the most when you travel and the places that you haven't been to yet that you would like to go to to play golf?
BUBBA WATSON: You know, I really like coming over here. The hotel is beautiful. Golf course is a great golf course. Japan's the same. Everywhere that I've been, I've always been to pretty nice areas. They are building golf courses that are beautiful and tough. Hotels around the world are all pretty nice.

Haven't been over to Dubai, Abu Dhabi. Haven't been over there yet. Just haven't got the courage to go over there. They have invited me but I just haven't at the start of the year, it's always in January and I always have to get off to a good start I go off calendar year, I don't go off of, 2015 starting in 2016.

So in January, it's always a tough time for me to go over there instead of getting ready for the PGA TOUR, so that's why I haven't gone over there yet.

Q. I am actually from Dubai. So how can we get you over there?
BUBBA WATSON: It's just that it's a tough part of the schedule. It's just hard for me to go, you know. It's a weird place in the schedule for me personally. And so it's just a tough one for me to say yes to.

Q. You just talked about nice hotels and going to nice places, but earlier in your career, do you remember doing something really on the cheap and maybe playing golf from a tent or whatever on a holiday?
BUBBA WATSON: Well, early in my career, nobody knew who I was. So me and my caddie used to always play off site somewhere and play public golf courses just off sight. Now it's kind of hard for me to go to golf courses just because people stop me and want to take pictures and everything, so we don't get to have fun and play golf.

Q. So you with just do that for fun?
BUBBA WATSON: Yeah, so I'd be at a tournament, didn't matter what the tournament was. I remember my first year getting into the Masters, there's a course down the street, me and Teddy and some of the guys that came with me to the Masters, we played golf down the street. Nobody knew who I was, even though I was playing in the Masters.

It makes it a lot easier to travel and play golf off site when nobody knows who you are. Now with pictures and autographs, it's a lot harder to go play public golf courses.

Q. What's the best course you've ever played that wasn't in a tournament?
BUBBA WATSON: That wasn't in a tournament? I don't know how you would define best.

Q. Your favourite.
BUBBA WATSON: That's a tough one, too. I'm always looking because I've always wanted to design a course, so I'm always looking at how courses are designed. But after the Masters this year, went to Genzon Golf Course in China. When you play a lighted golf course who doesn't want to play golf at night. Ball looks like it goes a lot farther. Playing golf at night over here was pretty sweet, pretty fun to do. Me, my manager and Teddy and Brian, my therapist, we all played every night, so it was pretty cool playing under the lights. So that made it pretty special.

Q. How long would the course be that you eventually design?
BUBBA WATSON: It wasn't be as long as you think. Probably 8,500 yards (laughing). It would just be a normal course. Because you need to build the golf course for members or the public. You can't build it for a championship layout. It would just be some short holes, a couple long holes, but probably be a lot of trees. I like trying to shape it around trees, so that's probably what I would do, something like that.

Q. There's a feeling that this younger generation has got a shorter attention span. Can you ever see a serious competition, one with nine holes, six holes, 12 holes? Can you ever see something like Tour related, or pro competition
BUBBA WATSON: No, I'm pitching lights right now (laughing). I'm trying to pitch under the lights.

No, I don't see it. Just tradition. There's so many things that we have created as tradition, as history of the game. I just don't see it as being that way. It's too short. That's the hard part about match play is I think sometimes you've got one hole playoffs and stuff like that, it just makes it tough. That's why you see some of the tournaments, with four hole playoffs. So I don't think you could see short a contest of nine holes or six holes.

CHRIS REIMER: Thank you, Bubba, good luck this week.

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