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March 26, 2019

Bubba Watson

Austin, Texas

JOHN BUSH: We'd like to welcome Bubba Watson into the interview room, our defending champion here at the Dell Technologies Match Play.

Thank you for joining us for a few minutes. If you can get us to take it back, it was a convincing victory in the championship match last year, but take us back to the overall win here at Austin Country Club.

BUBBA WATSON: I felt like I putted really well. I was thinking about it flying over here with my mom. My mom said she was the reason why I won, so that's the reason she came back.

It was one of those things where it just felt like I was putting well, getting the ball in the right spots and obviously the other guys not making as many as me. So it worked out. But the last round, the last match, you could just tell that Kisner was a little tired from that grueling match he had in the semifinals, so it worked in my favor. But obviously anytime you can lift the trophy is pretty special.

JOHN BUSH: Fourth-place finish last week in Tampa. Talk about your form coming into the week.

BUBBA WATSON: I feel good. This is my fourth week in a row, trying to just play into some better spots, trying to get the ball-striking where I want it to be and working on this arm-lock putting. Starting to get used to it and gaining on it, and trying to get the speeds down from a longer range. Inside ten feet it feels like it's getting a lot better.

Just trying to play into form and get better as the year goes on, and hopefully have a chance for the Presidents Cup at the end of the year.

Q. What about playing in the same pod as local favorite, Jordan Spieth? And the rivalry between the Texas Longhorns and Georgia Bulldogs, how do you plan to attack that?
BUBBA WATSON: I didn't want to let this out of the bag, but I'm really thinking I'm going to be vice captain for the Presidents Cup. Don't tell the captain yet. So for me it's perfect, I get to watch these great players, and hopefully they can make the team, with Kevin Na, Billy Ho and Jordan.

Jordan, what a special talent he is, as we've seen year after year. And so it will be fun, a friend like that. All three guys are friends of mine. Even though Billy went to Florida, still friends with him. And so it will be fun little matches. And for pride, try to beat each other. Obviously being in Texas, Jordan Spieth, this is his home. It will be a fun little match.

Q. There's so much talk right now about getting your game in shape for the Masters, how do you balance that with wanting to play well last week and this week and getting ready? How do you view that kind of dynamic right now?
BUBBA WATSON: I haven't said anything about preparing for the Masters or anything. I'm trying to prepare for this week. Just like I said last week, I'm trying to prepare. On Teddy, we are looking at stats more. The one thing I think I'm missing out of my game over the course of my career is learning about stats, trying to figure out top 10's, because to win a golf tournament a lot of things have to go your way - you have to make some long putts, chip in, do some things that I wouldn't say extraordinary, but they have to happen in your favor. For me I'm trying to look at top 10's, why do players come in top 10's in different tournaments. Last week was more about hitting the fairways, trying to play in the right positions, and I finished fourth, so it worked out pretty good looking at that.

This week it's a little different because stats are misleading, it's one on one. Again, here, I'm focused on this week, trying to focus and prepare for the first tee shot tomorrow. When the Masters is here, I'll focus on that.

Q. Do you have a vacation planned for Sunday? Because last year you --
BUBBA WATSON: No, we didn't make that plan until Friday. It's one of those where -- if it works, I'll come up with something real fast.

Q. I'm just wondering if match play is a good format to get yourself out of a slump, if you happen to be in one?
BUBBA WATSON: Well, I always say I'm not in a slump, so I don't know that answer. I just say everybody else is really good, they're just beating me.

Yeah, that's a great question. I don't know that. If you're winning matches it will make you feel better, you know what I'm saying? If I shot 80 and won a stroke play event on Sunday, I still feel like I'm not in a slump. I feel like I shot 80 and won. So you're going to see matches, people lose shooting 60s, and you'll see matches people win by shooting over par. So I don't know that answer. And again, I've never felt like I'm in a slump. I just felt like my mind is wandering.

Q. It wasn't personal?
BUBBA WATSON: Yeah, like I said, I don't know -- if I knew how to answer it, I would be a mental coach, I guess.

Q. Is false confidence a good thing if you need it, I guess is another way to phrase it?
BUBBA WATSON: Yeah. Teddy lies to me all the time and tells me how good I am. That's what I want. You want your caddie to tell you that stuff, even if you are 6 over par at the time. You want that. You want to fake yourself into playing good, I guess.

Q. Fake it until you make it, right?
BUBBA WATSON: Exactly. What's that I've been doing.

Q. This time last year you were a three seed in this tournament, I think it was.

Q. But you were enthralling us and telling us about your business ventures a year ago. After you won last year, did you add anything to your business repertoire?
BUBBA WATSON: I bought a driving range back home. It's called Pensacola Golf Center. Always wanting to be involved in golf and helping junior golf. Once that new building gets built, we're going to start doing junior programs on Saturdays and stuff. Right now we just have a driving range and working from that. So that's the one I've added since then.

Q. Your mother came last year, she's here this year. Did your wife come as well?
BUBBA WATSON: No, just my mom.

Q. What's her name?
BUBBA WATSON: Molly, and she works at the range. She loves working at the range. So it's been good for us.

Q. Is there something about this format when you're playing against a person rather than playing against the course, as you do most weeks, that can get you ready for a major, maybe helps you to play more fearlessly, maybe, or more aggressively? Not that you ever have a problem with that. But is there anything about the format that in a weird way is very helpful for a major like the Masters?
BUBBA WATSON: I mean, if I'm trying to stretch it for your question, it would be playing smarter. A guy hits it in the woods or a guy hits it into a fairway bunker up against the lip, you might try to play a little bit smarter, more strategy to try to make par. Or the guy hits it in the water, you play a little smarter. At all majors you need to play smarter and think about what you're doing because you're trying to eliminate the double bogeys and just make a bogey or save a bogey somewhere.

And stretching your question to give you an answer, that would be the only thing I could see, really. And golf is golf, every time you're playing, you're practicing.

Q. If this were a non-match play, if it were a regular event, how often would you hit driver at this course?
BUBBA WATSON: The only time I change my strategy is, like I said, if some guy hits it, I guess, there is out of bounds on par 5. So if a guy hits it in the water, hits it out of bounds, then I might change my strategy, just to play safer to try to win that way. Because it's not about the score, it's about just winning the holes. So for me that's what would change it.

If it's a hole that requires an iron, I hit an iron. It doesn't matter match play or stroke play. That's just what the hole is designed for or sets up for, or gusty winds or whatever it is.

Q. Since you mentioned working with junior golfers, I'm curious how you've seen the approach of young golfers change over the years, and some of the young players coming up, how that's starting to affect things out on Tour, as well?
BUBBA WATSON: You know, everybody is different. We see guys getting lessons, we see guys not getting lessons. I've seen -- just in Pensacola alone I've seen different strategies, people practicing with a coach, some people practicing without lessons or coach. So I don't see any different than what we've been doing. I never had a lesson or anything. So I just see it the same.

Q. Do they take a more aggressive approach on the course in general do you think?
BUBBA WATSON: I think all young kids play it more aggressive, and then they realize they have to pay bills and turn pro so it changes. Davis Love is probably the best examples, one of the longest hitters we've ever seen in college, and when he turned pro with a wooden driver, and then he backed it up a little bit and became Davis Love as we know and love. Get it? Know and love. So it's one of those things where even him, you know, back then. So I think junior golf is pretty much the same as it's always been. You're going to be aggressive because it's junior golf, the greens aren't firm and the greens are softer, so you can attack a little bit differently. And then when you grow up and get into the PGA Tour, or tournament golf as we know it, it gets a little firmer, a little faster greens, so you have to play a little differently, learn different strategies.

Q. As someone who is self-taught or was self-taught how do you approach working with juniors? What message or how do you work with them?
BUBBA WATSON: Well, I think first of all you have to see what their personality is like, what they need and don't need. My wife's very athletic, she played professional basketball, but she likes instruction. She likes to know why things are happening and how to get better using techniques and thoughts.

I play -- I would say I play a more athletic game where you just feel and go with it. If it's a driver slice, 40, 50 yards, you slice it and get it in play. At the end of the day I'm trying to get it in play, inbounds out of the water. Doesn't matter if I hit a lot of fairways or no fairways. The lowest score wins, and so that's what I'm trying to do. I look at it differently, approach it differently mentally than most. If I'm working with juniors you have to find that out in a short period of time, the first couple of times you watch them and see how they handle it, then you'll know what they want and don't want. Charles Howell has had instruction his whole life, and he's such a grit player, but that's what he needs and what he likes. He hits balls a lot and I like to play a lot. So we are just two different people, but you have to see that and read that in the youth today and try to work with them the best you can and figure it out. If I don't have the answers for them, I would send them to somebody or tell them somebody that I think would have a better chance to help them.

JOHN BUSH: Bubba Watson, thank you, sir.

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