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April 2, 2018

Bubba Watson

Augusta, Georgia

THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon, Bubba. Thank you for your time today, and congratulations on a wonderful season thus far. You've played fantastic golf with two wins coming into this year's Masters.
With the momentum of those wins, can you share how you're feeling about your game coming into this week.
BUBBA WATSON: Yeah, I feel good. I had last week off and a little vacation, a little rest, and so hopefully get the energy going, get the nerves out and get ready to play some golf and just focus on quality shots, and hopefully on the weekend I have a chance to fight and try to put on a jacket. I guess not lift the trophy, put on the jacket.
THE MODERATOR: You seem to embrace the Drive, Chip & Putt in your annual Sunday round with Angie. How has this formed into the Watson family tradition?
BUBBA WATSON: Having two kids now, and my son does not like the game of golf because of Dad leaves when Dad puts on a golf shirt, collared shirt, he knows that Dad's leaving because he knows I wear a T‑shirt when we're sitting around the house, so now that he's seen this event and watched this event on TV, he wants to play golf. So just thinking about that alone gets me excited about the event.
But what the Masters tournament, what the membership here at Augusta, the other golf organizations around the world, what they have been a part of and been able to do, and talking about growing the game, look at the thousands and thousands of people that sign up for it, this is my little way of giving back, is just shaking hands with these kids and parents, these coaches that are caddying as well.
How special is that to be a part of and to say that I could be a part of this and my little bit of helping grow the game on Sunday before the Masters.
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Does Caleb like coming here to watch the Drive, Chip & Putt or to watch you play golf?
BUBBA WATSON: He is in school now so he wasn't here this weekend, but he loves the Par‑3. He loves walking around with Dad. He thinks he's really doing something. Being a caddie. He looks forward to it now, even being six years old. He talks about it, who are we going to play with, so he can see if he's got any other friends playing with us.

Q. Since he was‑‑ since you got him with your first Masters, have you noticed as he's gotten a little bit older‑‑ I know he's still six‑‑ kind of an appreciation of being here and what you do, or is he still too young for that do you think?
BUBBA WATSON: I believe he's still too young for it. I don't think he understands. But he just knows this tournament you get a Green Jacket. He knows that. I don't know if it's because of the commercials, but he knows. And there's one commercial that Golf Channel is playing that he waddles out in 14, when he waddles out with his hands in his pocket, so he knows that's him. So he always, when that commercial comes on, he stops and looks and sees that it's him.

Q. A lot of things seem better in your world year over year. What's the biggest, most important one that's kind of got you going?
BUBBA WATSON: Oh, man. Trying to be a light for my own family. The way I believe, my belief system, believe in the bible, I believe I should be the leader of the household ‑‑ I didn't say boss; I said leader of the household‑‑ and leading, putting a good example for my kids, leading my wife when she's stressed. And same for her, helping me out when I'm stressed.
So really it's about life. My life's in a great spot. Golf sometimes makes it in a bad spot, but I'm just in a right frame of mind and I understand what I want to do with my life and where I want to go in my life.

Q. Six months ago where you were and your health and your game, could you have imagined being sitting here today with two wins in the last six weeks, playing now, being a favorite again at Augusta to try to win a third Green Jacket?
BUBBA WATSON: You know, it's funny. We'll say seven months ago I did not believe it. You know? But like I've said throughout these two wins when I've been interviewed, my team around me, John Solheim with Ping, it's like my granddad, my dad, my father figure. Ted Scott's been on the bag for 12 years. My wife. Pro‑Sport Management, all the people there, they have cheered me on and they have helped me come out of a dark place.
And, again, life's in the right spot, like his question, and golf's in the right spot. Golf is really easy when you free it up. It's very difficult when you're not thinking properly.
So it's one of those things where six months ago, yes, I could see the path, and my caddie always says, Teddy always said, let's look at six months from now. And so I'm not looking at Sunday, I'm looking at six months from now. Let's keep doing this process, whatever that process is, we all have a different process, whatever part of life we're in, and my process right now is looking six months ahead and where am I at.
So if I miss the cut this week, six months from now am I going to remember missing the cut here? And that's my process and my goal is just to always move forward and try to get better at what I'm doing.

Q. Could you give us your thoughts on having a healthy and competitive Tiger Woods back in the field this year?
BUBBA WATSON: Well, it's great for the game of golf. I mean, some of these kids that are participating on Sunday, yesterday, they have never got to see Tiger Woods that we have all got to see. So for him being healthy, that's‑‑ as a friend you want him healthy, and as a competitor you want him healthy.
So, yes, there's nothing but great things when he's healthy. I mean, what he's been able to do with the on‑and‑off the course to help the game of golf and help young people, being on course and winning again is going to just help that many more people love the game of golf but also help in different many ways throughout the world.

Q. You peaked just the right time for this tournament, as have other pass Masters champions and many of the other top‑10, top‑15 players in the world. Can you remember a Major tournament that is so competitive? How do you feel about everybody seems to be hitting form at just the right time?
BUBBA WATSON: That's what we want. We don't want an asterisk by it and say everybody played bad so you just won. We want everybody to play their best. Again, it's going to come down to how we prepare. I know at Match Play a couple weeks ago my whole focus was energy. I just: If somehow I do make it through to the weekend, I have to save energy. And so I didn't practice very much. I just kind of try to save energy.
Here is different. You got to be mentally prepared. The mental part of it is what drains you around this place. So you got to be mentally prepared and focused on every shot and committed to what you see and what you want to do.
But, yea, I mean, the story lines around here got to be ‑‑ I don't read news or anything ‑‑ so the story lines got to be pretty good.

Q. Six years ago you hit one of the more iconic shots in Masters history with your shot at 10 in the playoff‑‑
BUBBA WATSON: Y'all heard that, right? Y'all heard that?

Q. The golf balls have changed, clubs have changed in just a short amount of time. If you had that shot over again, would you play it the same? Would you use a different club, or what would be your attack style right there?
BUBBA WATSON: Well, again, it was the adrenaline, it was everything, I couldn't go out there and produce that today probably, maybe.
But the adrenaline of the shot is what helped that. The wind was going the right direction. If you had everything exactly the same as it was before, yes, I could pull the shot off. Now, could I‑‑ you know, there's going to be times I don't pull it off, but, yeah, I mean, if everything was the same, I had the ability, the chance to pull it off again. The equipment, you can still move the ball if you want to. Most golfers, most teachers are not teaching you to play Bubba golf, but, yeah, I can still move it and do the shot, if everything was considered the same, the wind and everything.

Q. And just a follow‑up. Have you tried any of the other iconic shots around Augusta, say, in a practice round, Tiger's chip at 16 namely?
BUBBA WATSON: Yeah, the green is‑‑ rumor is the green has changed a little bit since that chip. So it doesn't do as dramatic turn as it did when he did that. But I still can't get the ball to stop and just barely trickle in. But, yeah, we always practice chip shots. You always practice.
So, yeah, we have all tried shots and hit shots wanting to or not wanting to because we have hit shots in the woods and different things. But, yeah, we have all tried that shot because we're always looking at so many different angles to practice on the green.

Q. You mentioned Teddy a couple times.
BUBBA WATSON: Mentioned what?

Q. You mentioned Teddy a couple of times. A lot's been written, and said about y'all's relationship. Does anyone‑‑ do any of us really understand what y'all's relationship is like? And how are you guys maybe similar in ways that most people don't see?
BUBBA WATSON: Well, I can't answer that one part of the question because I think all of y'all are great. Teddy's‑‑ first of all, let's put it this way. Teddy's a grown man, and if what y'all‑‑ what people, not y'all, the other people have written and said through social media or through media was true, he's a grown man, he would quit if I was that bad of a person.
I hired Teddy. Ben Crane is the one that introduced us. And he said he just had a baby, his wife just had a baby, in 2006. And I said, perfect. He said, well, he can't work for eight weeks. And I said, well, that's not good. I got to find somebody for eight weeks.
And I called him and said, I can't wait. He's a Christian, I want to be a Christian, and he's a rock that I can lean on in difficult times in my life and not‑‑ we're great friends. Our families hang out. We do a lot of things together. Golf just happens to be one thing we did a lot together.
So, no, our friendship is deeper than that. It's not just a caddie relationship, it's a real friendship. He's not here so he can't say no to that. But, no, it's an awesome relationship, and then golf gets in the way. He loves the game of golf, and I love the game of golf. So it's a perfect marriage there. He wishes it was the other way around, my shoulder was hurting and he was playing. But it works out good.

Q. It's been feast or famine here for you when you look at your record. Is that purely down to what you call Bubba golf, just to stay the player you are?
BUBBA WATSON: I'll take it. I'll take two wins and call it a day around this place. No, it's golf. I don't know if you ever played the game of golf, but it's very difficult to do it every day perfectly. It's never been done. Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods has definitely come close to doing it perfectly. It's just golf. Bubba golf, yeah, it's the way I play golf, so sometimes it's good, sometimes it's bad.

Q. Looking ahead six months from now, where do you see yourself?
BUBBA WATSON: Gosh, man, I see myself being an improved father, leading my kids and teaching my kids things now that they're starting school. My little man is reading bedtime stories to us. I want him to see that my mistakes in the next six months I can ask for forgiveness. I cannot just ask Him for forgiveness but ask whoever I do a mistake to or whatever I do a mistake about, ask for forgiveness and move on.
The golf part, it doesn't matter. He could care less if I win, lose. He could care less if I play. He would rather me not play so I could be home playing toys with him. So that's just really it. Being a leader that way. We're going to make mistakes. I'm going to make mistakes and how do I show him that I can improve on those mistakes, whatever those mistakes are.

Q. Tiger's such a lightning rod for attention wherever he goes, especially when he comes here?

Q. For the first time in a while. And now, like you were saying earlier, there's been a lot of other guys getting attention this year. Everybody's playing well. You're playing well, Rory, Phil, all these people. When the attention is spread out to so many guys and then you got a guy like Tiger taking so much air out of the room, does it make it easier for you to prepare and get ready and maybe have the kind of week you want here when the pressure's not all solely on you?
BUBBA WATSON: The pressure, there's no pressure on me. There's no pressure on any of us. The only pressure is what we put on ourselves. It's how you go about it. You can let it get to you, you can be thinking about it, but, again, if you prepare the right way, the way we can and we know we can, our bodies feel the way we want it to feel in all those situations, we can play good golf.
But, yeah, the story lines are amazing. There's so many people that are playing well right now. It's a challenge, and we all know that everybody else is playing well, so we got to be on top of our game to force the Sunday charge to put on a being jacket.
But, yeah, I mean, Tiger, I'm hoping everybody gets immediate attention and I just kind of sneak through the back nine roars there and somehow pull out a victory. So talk to all them and not me anymore. This is my last time talking.

Q. You talked about preparation. The two times you won here what was your preparation and how is it different this time around, if any?
BUBBA WATSON: The difference this time around is energy. I asked a few people, older gentlemen in our golfing lives how to‑‑ what do you need to work on and really recovery, how do you recover, how does your body recover from a stressful day that you might have pulled out an even par or you might pull out an under‑par round. Then how do you recover from that. Because mentally, physically you're going to be exhausted. So how do you recover from that before the next round. So you got to figure out ways to do that.
So the change in preparation is less golf, not playing 18 holes. I played Augusta now, I can sit back and only play nine holes a day. And that's what I did today. I played nine holes and I hit some balls and putted, and then I'm here.
So over the course of the years it's just changed that way of trying to just save some energy and mental preparation. That's the difference in the strategy and that's what I did different from the two times that I won. I'm looking for nine holes tomorrow and then the only golf I'll play on Wednesday will be the par‑3.

Q. The older gentlemen you're talking about, can you share who you're talking about?
BUBBA WATSON: I don't, I don't give out names, Phil Mickelson. What? And Stricker, the guys that you're‑‑ all the older guys, yeah.

Q. You mentioned about the nerves and nervous energy. Is that‑‑ do you have that feeling at the other Majors? Is that specific to this event or just kind of surprising as a two‑time winner here you still feel nerves, I guess, coming here?
BUBBA WATSON: If you don't feel nerves, that means you don't care. Well, for me, anyway. I can't speak for any of the other guys. But I'm nervous playing a game with the members at Pensacola Country Club. Like it's because that's‑‑ I want to play good. I consider myself an athlete, and whatever sport it is I want to be the best at it or perform my best at it. So I'm nervous.
So, yeah, it doesn't matter what tournament we're at, or where I'm at, if I'm on a golf course I'm definitely having some a little bit of jitters.

Q. Because of your record here and how beautifully you played this year, you come here with lots of people talking about you and hoping you're going to do well. Does that make you feel more or less comfortable for you?
BUBBA WATSON: Like I‑‑ like his questions, I'm nervous no matter what. Even if y'all weren't talking about me, like last year, nobody probably mentioned my name. I was still coming here thinking I had a chance to win. Focused on trying to win. So what media's saying or media's not saying I still have the thoughts that I have the ability to win at any moment.

Q. When is the last time you read a newspaper?
BUBBA WATSON: They still make newspapers? It's on the internet, right? I don't ‑‑ I don't look at any media, any news. I don't know what's going on in the government. I quit it. I gave it up.

Q. I wanted to ask you, mainly, how does Augusta test you differently than the other Majors?
BUBBA WATSON: We don't have that much time. The lies in the fairway, you got all kind of different angles and slopes and things, so the lies above your feet, below your feet, uphill, downhill, rumor is they cut the grass towards us, so it's into the grain when you hit, so the quality of iron shots, you got to be pinpoint or you're going to look pretty bad on the iron shots because it's hard to get a crisp hit on it. The undulations of the greens.
So, yeah, we can sit here all day.

Q. Do you consider it the most complete test or just a tough test‑‑
BUBBA WATSON: Oh, yeah, I won here twice, it's the best test in the world. Yes, I mean, it's the greatest sporting event I believe in the world. It's obviously the greatest golf tournament in the world, what they have been able to produce here. Year after year we're watching the same golf course, the same venue, the same everything. And when is the last time anybody shot four rounds in the 60s here?

Q. Never.
BUBBA WATSON: I learned that today. That's why I threw that out there. Teddy told me. He reads the news.
But, no, so what I'm getting at, though, is we can set up a golf course as difficult as you think it can be set up, one tournament, and as easy as you can set it up at one tournament, and that doesn't‑‑ just because it's no rough or a lot of rough, I mean, if a guy's on, at this level, they could shoot in the 60s every round, but for some reason very difficult to shoot it around here because of the test of golf. Mentally, physically, ability, all that stuff is unheard of around here.

Q. You mentioned you're in the right frame of mind right now. Throughout the course of your career has that been the common theme when you played your best golf?
BUBBA WATSON: Well, yeah, I never been in a bad mood and won a golf tournament. I mean, that's just‑‑ I missed the cut though a lot of times and been in a bad mood. When I first got on TOUR, I thought I was a world beater, I thought I was going to beat everybody. And then I found out quickly how great everybody is. So I had to change attitude and the way I went about my business.
Then as I've gotten older and been on TOUR a lot longer you had to learn and look back and figure out why was it so good this time or this year and where was I in my life, what stage of life, getting married, getting moving into the house, getting kids, adopting kids, my dad passing away, I mean, there's a stage of life, there's things that we don't ever talk about that causes somebody not to play good or somebody to play great.
So there's things behind closed doors that people don't know about that we don't talk about that can cause you to be in a good or bad frame of mind.
So, yeah, I've been in a good frame of mind when I won. Like I said, I never been in a bad frame of mind and still beat everybody else.

Q. I would like to know how important is it for you to be in peace with God to play good golf.
BUBBA WATSON: That has nothing to do with my golf. God could care less what I shoot. He cares about what's in my heart and what am I doing and thinking about.
But, obviously, like the last question, if you're in a good frame of mind, good thought process, realize that golf is just a sport, no matter who you are or what you're doing, it's going to help you a lot to realize that.
Me hitting in the water on 12 is not going to affect me for the rest of my life. Well, I guess it could if I let it. But I made a solid 10 there in 2013, so it hasn't affected me yet.
THE MODERATOR: We hope you're in a great frame of mind this week, and we wish all the best and good luck.
BUBBA WATSON: Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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