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March 22, 2016

Bubba Watson

Austin, Texas

MODERATOR: We'd like to welcome Bubba Watson to the World Championships Dell Match Play interview room. Thanks for joining us. You've had a chance to look at the golf course the last couple of days, can you give us your impression of it at first glance.

BUBBA WATSON: At first glance it's a beautiful golf course, beautiful piece of land with the trees on the front nine and no trees on the back nine, makes it very interesting.

Wind is going to be a huge factor on the back nine, especially if it's gusting like it is today and predicted. But it's a beautiful golf course, especially for match play. The tricky greens and hilly greens where speed and keeping below the hole is going to be a big part of it.

MODERATOR: You've been drawn in the same group as Patton Kizzire and Emiliano Grillo from Argentina and J.B. Holmes. I think everybody is interested with the J.B. Holmes match. You have played him once in the match play before and that match went 19 holes in your favor. What do you anticipate with that match this year?

BUBBA WATSON: He's playing great. He's been playing great over the last year. It will be fun. We hit the same kind of shots, same kind of length, so hopefully -- me and him are coming off of two wins going into that match. I think it's our last match. So it would be a thrill to move on. But at the same time, he's playing great. It will be a challenging match just because the golf course and wind is so challenging, as well.

Q. What's your demeanor in a match? Do you like to keep to yourself? And specifically tomorrow when you're playing Patton, who is brand new to this event and first year on Tour?
BUBBA WATSON: For me it's about staying in the moment and playing golf. It's the same thing I would do if was playing stroke play. Obviously you're not as friendly just because that person is trying to beat me. It's not the whole field you're playing against. When you're playing against the field, you're more loose, unless it's Sunday afternoon and it's one-on-one the last couple of holes.

But playing heads up, it's going to be different. It's a different atmosphere. Not that you don't like the person or want to talk to them, it's just that you're playing that person. But you keep your head down and just try to make pars and throw in a birdie here and there and win somehow.

Q. Jordan Spieth was just in here, and he got a couple of questions about the Masters, and you know firsthand how your life changes once you're a Masters champion. How you go into the year trying to defend that Masters title?
BUBBA WATSON: It's going to be good. Obviously he's got more talent than I've got, more mental game than I've got, so he can probably handle it better. When I got there to the Masters the year after I won, it was just recapping everything, and I didn't know how to deal with it. I didn't know how to get it out of my mind and focus on golf. So it was an eye-opener on me that I needed to work on some things.

It's tough for everybody, not just the Masters, any tournament you're a defending champ at. Hopefully he's prepared for it and I think he is. He's a lot more prepared than me at that age. So it's pretty special to watch. But I think he'll do all right. He's pretty good at the game.

Q. Does it change your life as a Masters champion?
BUBBA WATSON: Yeah, he's done a lot more things than just the Masters champion. He's changed his life at a young age. He's 19 or whatever he is. What is it? He's 22 or something. He's done some heroic things in his short career that's better than I've ever done. It's pretty impressive to watch. His life has changed dramatically from his first win to however many wins he's got now.

Q. What was the wildest thing that happened to you the year after you won the Masters? And what do you regret looking back at it?
BUBBA WATSON: I don't regret anything, let me answer that first. I don't regret anything. No matter how I played as the defending champ, I was still the Masters champ from the year before. I'll always be called a Masters champ, so it's nice.

The wow factor was the week and a half before I adopted my son. The wow factor was that I adopted a beautiful baby boy and somehow I had a green jacket sitting in my closet that I could look at for a year. That was the wow factor.

Q. How much does becoming the world No. 1 some day drive you and how much do you want it? Second, how much do you view this as a Ryder Cup warmup, getting some of the European guys in here to play match play events on American soil?
BUBBA WATSON: The first part, I don't care about being No. 1. I play golf because I love it. I just play because I love it, the creativity of it. If I didn't play on the professional Tour and I was working a normal job, a head pro somewhere giving lessons, I'd just love the game of golf. It's not about being No. 1. It's not going to affect my life. It won't change me if I'm No. 1 or if I fall off the map to 2,000. It's no big deal. I love the challenge of playing golf every day.

And the other part, the match play side of it against Europe, it's -- we don't think about that. The media is the one that thinks about where everybody is from. When we get on the first tee, it's the person. I don't care what flag they're flying, they don't care what flag I'm flying. It's a pro golfer we're trying to beat. It doesn't matter where you're from.

Q. What do you do mentally on and off the course to stay focused?
BUBBA WATSON: That's what I'm trying to learn. It's been a big test in my career. It's perspective, like I said, adopting my son, who's four years old now, seems like we just adopted him. And then my girl, who is 16 months old. Going home after all these interviews today, realizing what life is about. Golf is not what life is about. For me it's not. For somebody else it could be, but for me it's not. I've got a beautiful wife, I've got two beautiful kids. I've got other friends and family that I connect with, and so that's the most important. It's just about putting life in perspective and golf in perspective, what helps me and drives me and keeps me somewhat focused on the golf course.

Q. From a competitive standpoint, do you feel differently or see a match play situation differently versus say kind of a jump all at the end of a stroke play tournament. Do you like to play that? You won a Masters that was basically head-to-head. But you've won going away at the end of the tournament. Do you prefer either kind of a format over the other?
BUBBA WATSON: Well, stroke play is what we're used to, and I'm not big on change. But stroke play, you're giving me 72 holes, so I can make some mistakes, but I know I have 72 holes to catch back up or stay ahead, however you want to word it.

Tomorrow I've got 18 holes. I could shoot 5-under and lose. I could shoot 2-over and win. So it's tougher knowing you've got 18 holes, you can play your best and still lose.

So it makes it tougher, so I would like the stroke play better, you're giving me four days. I might not play very well on those four days, but at least I know I've got four days to make up for the one bad day or three days to make up for the one day.

Q. Do you like seeing the guy right next to you?
BUBBA WATSON: No, I like more holes to come back. If I make a bogey, I've got more holes to catch up. Again, it's two different formats. Yes, when the guy makes a mistake, hopefully they make mistakes against me, but if they make a mistake, you play a little safer, you can play more conservative. When you're playing stroke play, you don't know what the groups are doing behind you, you can't watch TV and see what they're doing. You've got to keep your head down and keep grinding. So head to head, obviously it's a different format, but I like the stroke play just because I like more holes to make up for my mistakes.

Q. How important are rivalries, do you feel like, in the game of golf? Do you feel like there are a lot of those?
BUBBA WATSON: I don't ever think of rivalries. All these guys are trying to do the same thing I'm trying to do. If they putt better than me this week and they hit the ball better then they beat me.

Adam Scott beat me in Miami Doral. I got lucky and beat him in LA. But I don't think we're a rival, just because those two weeks. Anybody on Tour that beats me coming down the stretch, they beat me, I shake their hand and say congratulations, and hopefully next week I beat them. I'm not big on rivals. I never really played in team events, so I've never had a rival on a team event.

At Georgia we always said we didn't like Georgia Tech, because it's the other big school in the state of Georgia. Matt Kuchar is a good friend of mine and Bryce Molder is a good friend of mine that we played against. I know a lot of guys on the team and I respect them very much on the game. If I play better I think I should beat them.

Q. What are your personal practices for staying healthy and getting rest when you're traveling?
BUBBA WATSON: That's another good question. If I knew all this, I'd be a doctor. But nobody wants to go to school that long.

So for me it's about rest and getting away. I try to do as little practicing as possible. Mine is all about energy. And over the last few years I've figured that out, I've tried to play less. I've probably played one of the lighter schedules than most. And somewhat eating healthy. Few days before the tournament, I try not to have any sweets, any desserts. I try to get away from cheeseburgers and french fries.

So I try to do a couple things here and there, and I don't drink anything besides water. I don't drink Cokes. I stay away from different energy drinks and power drinks and all these things. So I just do straight water to keep me as hydrated as possible, so again it keeps the energy level up and mental focus up. That's really what I do.

My wife, again, she's an angel, she gets out of bed quite early to make sure the kids are away so I can sleep as much as possible, because I need a lot of sleep for the energy level. And she treats me very nice when it comes to that.

MODERATOR: Bubba, you're always entertaining and informative so we appreciate your time in here and good luck this week.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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