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February 2, 2018

Bubba Watson

Scottsdale, Arizona

Q. 6-under par for two rounds. You have a tremendous record at this tournament. Finished second a couple of times consecutively, two other top-10s. Just how good is the feel good factor when you get back here?
BUBBA WATSON: It's nice. You talk about perfect weather, you're talking about a golf course that's in perfect shape. We have changed the course over the years, but it still works to my advantage a little bit. Any time you get here with good weather, get good greens, you got a good golf course, you're going to hit some quality shots. And for some reason over the years I just love it here. Maybe because the fans love me, I don't know.

Q. They certainly do love you. Strokes gained, this is your statistics for this week and you can see the range there, second in off the tee, second around approach to the greens and first overall in tee to green. Better than they have been in recent times last year. What's the difference been this week?
BUBBA WATSON: You know, the sad thing is I played good a couple weeks ago at the CareerBuilder, I just haven't made the putts that I need to make. Last year was a tough year for me physically, mentally, I had a sickness where I lost a lot of weight, I lost 20 or so pounds. So I'm starting to gain it back. Been able to work out again. So I'm getting back to where I want to be. Pretty close to a hundred percent healthy, so we're ready to go.

Q. Tee shot here at 4. This pin looks impossible to get to and you did, tell us how.
BUBBA WATSON: Yeah, if you watch where my ball started, my ball started way out there and I hooked it probably about 20, 25 yards with a 9-iron. You can see it landed and then spun to the hole. I still wish it would have went it. They raised their hands, I thought it might have dipped in there. But somehow I made the putt, so it worked out.

Q. Certainly did. Another wonderful creative shot that we're so used to seeing you play. Another birdie here at 17. Tell us about this putt. You say the putts have not been going in, this one did.
BUBBA WATSON: Yeah, this one was nice, I actually hit a terrible tee shot up by the grand stand, chipped it on to the green give or take 20 feet and then made the putt. I finally got one to the hole and it went in. So it was nice.

Q. Nice round of golf today to match your 4-under yesterday, 2-under today. There's something about this golf course that just appeals to you, you always seem to have a good week here.
BUBBA WATSON: For sure, the golf course is always in perfect shape. You can play out of the rough here, which I'm in a lot. The greens are very receptive, so even out of the rough I can hit some high shots and get them to stop on the greens. For some reason I just always shoot a couple under around this golf course. So, which is nice, especially when you get perfect weather like this, the golf course, the greens are running perfectly, somehow it's been successful over the years.

Q. What do you think you're going to have to do, anything different for the weekend to be in contention?
BUBBA WATSON: I got to putt a lot better. I've only missed a few greens for two days, but I have only made a couple birdies. So I got to get better at making a few putts. I wouldn't say I left a few out there but I missed some putts that I thought I should make. So it's a good place to be after two days, but we just got to make more putts. All these guys are putting so well you're going to have to keep going low to catch up.

Q. You follow-up a 67 with a bogey-free round in fact you haven't had a bogey since your first hole yesterday. What's been the key for your consistency?
BUBBA WATSON: My ball striking is coming around, I played really well at CareerBuilder, I didn't make any putts, just like these two days I haven't made any putts yet, but the ball striking's where we want it to be, now it's just getting the putts to fall. I hit some really good putts but they're just not falling right now. But a good place to be after two days.

Q. Definitely. You put yourself in a good position and how important is getting these two rounds under your belt considering the way your season's gone so far?
BUBBA WATSON: It's always good, any time you can just kind of get momentum, like Tiger always says, get some reps. So for me it's about trying to be healthy and just try to get some more rounds under my belt. That's why I'm playing the next couple weeks in a row, playing Pebble this year, going to play L.A. and just try to get some more rounds under pressure and just try and build.

Q. You played in this event plenty of times, a couple of Top-5's in fact. What can the energy of the crowd out here do for a round?
BUBBA WATSON: Oh, it helps out a lot. When you start making birdies and people get you pumped up, the drives go a little bit further, the iron shots get a bit more crisp, and it's fun. It's something we're not used to, we're used to being quiet and everything, so then when you get the adrenaline, it is just exciting. That's what you want. You want to have some fun out there and the crowd seems like they're having a blast every year I'm here, so it's been fun that they pull me through some rounds and cheered me on.

Q. That's why they call it the greatest show on grass, right?
BUBBA WATSON: Yeah, for sure, it is.

Q. You were pretty creative out there. Why did the course allow that?
BUBBA WATSON: The golf course is just, you are going to have very, very light winds, temperatures are warming up, when you have those kind of conditions, pro golfers, we can pull off some shots that are pretty nice. Golf course is in perfect shape. This is probably the best shape I've seen it in years. Greens are running really nice. So these guys, Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth, they can putt lights out, so it's always fun watching these guys and how good they are. So I just have to make some putts like them.

Q. Has your opinion of the course itself changed at all over the last couple years?
BUBBA WATSON: I think the course is in great shape, it's in amazing shape, this is the best I've seen the golf course. The greens are running probably the fastest and smoothest we have seen them run, so it's nice.

Q. You came here a couple years ago you were No. 2 in the world, now you have two kids. How do you balance all of that? I saw that you said Jack Nicklaus learned how to do it, you're kind of wrestling with it. How do you deal with that with such monestrous talent that you have?
BUBBA WATSON: Not very good at it, obviously. You got to pick and choose your battles. Last year I wasn't very good at golf, but I guess I was good as a dad and a husband. I would rather be that than a good golfer. So, no, it's just you're learning, you're learning a process. I didn't win as a junior on the big stage. I went to college and won a couple tournaments. Made it to the pros, didn't win for awhile. You're always taking that next step up the ladder, trying to get better at the game. You're also trying to get better at life itself. It's a slow process. Last year was a challenging year for me and my family. Me physically, I went down to 165 pounds, which I was up to 210 at one time during my career -- I guess I fluctuate a lot -- but, so I wasn't very healthy as I needed to be last year. So trying to get back healthy, my son's in kindergarten, my wife had knee surgery, so there's a lot of things we're battling. But struggling on the golf course is not very bad.

Q. What feels different about this week, because obviously you said the golf course is in great shape but obviously you have to be playing pretty well too right now. What feels differently this week than in the past year or so?
BUBBA WATSON: Like I said, I had some physical ailments, last year, and then at CareerBuilder a couple weeks ago I hit the ball as good as I could hit it. I think after three rounds -- I missed the cut but I was tied for first in greens in regulation. So ball striking is right where I want it to be. And my putting, I feel good over the putts, they're just not going in. Right now the ball's just laughing at me. But I'm stroking them well. So the ball striking here is the same as CareerBuilder, but hopefully I'm pretty sure I made the cut here, so that's good.

Q. What's the vibe been like for you this week?
BUBBA WATSON: It's been unbelievable.

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