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September 11, 2019

Bubba Watson

White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia

THE MODERATOR: Okay, we'll get started. Like to welcome everyone to A Military Tribute at the Greenbrier. We are honored to have Bubba Watson with us here. Bubba enters his 15th year on the PGA Tour.

Bubba, if we can get some comments on being back at a home for you here at the Greenbrier.

BUBBA WATSON: Yeah, always look forward to coming back here. It's crazy to think 15 years. I'm getting old. It's remarkable to think that I've been able to play out here for 15 years, to be a part of this group of amazing guys; but also just like the Greenbrier, to be a part of all the charity dollars that the PGA Tour has been able to create, especially for the military with the Birdies For the Brave and different things. What an honor.

And coming back here, the history of this place at Greenbrier, now my family having some history here, it's pretty special. So to come back here to play the Old White is a special day for all of us, but for me as well.

THE MODERATOR: You've had some pretty neat moments on tour, and emotional moments. Talk about what just took place out on the 18th green with the 9/11.

BUBBA WATSON: Gosh, I don't even know how to put it into words. I cried out there just listening to the lady singing. When you think about God bless America, the freedoms that we have to be able to play golf, I can't even get the right words to say.

What an honor and privilege to be able to pay respects in a small way. My dad was drafted in the military, was in Vietnam. When I think about the police, the fire and rescue, and the military itself, what a tremendous asset for us to have as United States citizens.

For me, I tear up every time. Every time I hear the national anthem, God bless America, I tear up and cry. It's for joy, just thankfulness, and how blessed we are.

THE MODERATOR: Before we open up to questions, talk a little business here. I know you're not coming off one of your best seasons on tour, but talk about as we start the season what your goals are.

BUBBA WATSON: Gosh, you know, we'll just tie that in. Again, blessed, and the freedoms we have because of people, great people. Not great golfers, but great people around the world when it comes to the military and the police and fire and rescue. So thankful.

When you think about a bad season, really was it a bad season? I kept my job and I get to play golf for a living. When I look at it from that perspective it wasn't a bad year at all. It was a thankful year and a grateful year.

What I am looking forward to is just trying -- the reason I'm wanting to play some this fall is because I'm trying to make that Presidents Cup team with the points later on get in the picks. That's what I'm trying to do. I'm going to throw in Vegas, throw in Japan and China as well, so looking forward to those and hopefully get a call -- I don't know if he's going to be in China. Is Tiger going to be China? Hopefully get a call or note in my locker that says that I've got picked.

So that's what I'm trying to do. I'm trying to still make these teams. Still trying to play good golf and win. So learned a lot about myself last year. Started training a little bit this off-season. As I said - as you said, I'm getting older. That's not how you worded it, but that's how I'm taking it.

So for me, I'm trying to get better. When you look at Phil Mickelson winning at age 49 and Tiger winning again, when you look at these people winning in their 40s and now I'm 40, I'm trying to win and prepare for the Champions Tour, I guess.

THE MODERATOR: Open up to questions.

Q. Just wondering, did your dad share any of his experiences in the military with you and are there any stories you could tell about anything he did or told you about?
BUBBA WATSON: No. I never knew -- obviously I knew Vietnam and where that was located, but even to the day that he passed away in 2010 he never told me places he was stationed. He said he was overseas. That's how he worded it. He never told me where, all the things he did.

The only thing I do know is that he had a scar right here, so they pulled shrapnel out of his face and then he had shrapnel in his back by his back kidney here, so when he passed away we took it out. It was really small. It deteriorated in his body. So we still have that little piece of shrapnel, which is obviously fragments have a grenade.

Even though he got somewhat injured, he kept fighting and protecting as much as he could. That was really it. He didn't talk about it much. Just tried to keep it at bay.

Q. Why do you think he didn't talk about it? A lot of veterans don't talk about it.
BUBBA WATSON: Well, my dad always thought it was his job. It was his job to do what he did. He got stationed in places so his job took him places. My dad also saw it as it was a need-to-know basis, and I definitely didn't need to know what went. Were maybe my simple mind couldn't take what went on.

When you look at it -- we, when I say we, me. I cannot take all the things that have happened in the military since then. My little mind probably couldn't even fathom what went on, some of the things that happened behind closed doors.

Q. Just sort of protecting you really.
BUBBA WATSON: That's the way I saw it. I saw it as protecting himself and also protecting his brothers. Not that I was going to do anything wrong, but that's what he's been training to do, protect his brothers and never disclose anything.

Q. First of all, you are your feelings on the cut to 65; is that a big deal or not?
BUBBA WATSON: I don't know why they did it, but we're not worried about -- if it's about speeding up play, we're worried about speeding up play on the weekend. We're worried about speeding up play the first two days.

Yeah, it didn't -- it's not affecting me positively or negatively. It's one of those things that -- the weekend is not broke. It's the weekdays that are broke.

Q. Secondly, they're going to do some driver testing throughout the year now. You're laughing, so what -- thoughts? You must have some.
BUBBA WATSON: Oh, my gosh. I've got a lot of thoughts. I'm going to keep it very nice in here. I believe that as a fan of golf, forget 15 years on tour, forget professional golfer, doesn't bother me or affect me one bit. I can walk away from the game and be happy as can be.

So I'm looking as a fan of the game. We're talking about an industry, and not just Ping but other manufacturers, having to now provide more heads, getting more driver heads, more stress because a driver is going to wear in.

We all know that. Nonscientists like myself, I still know a driver is a going to wear in. Today it could be legal, and next week it could be legal. If that comes out, do they call me a cheater the week before? Then when you talk about the headache of trying to fit a driver because one now become illegal, it could be Wednesday trying to fit a driver. One of the things, the only head they might have is ten degrees and I play with eight degrees.

There is a lot of stress that we don't need. The drivers I've testing that are hot and we'll say red light, green light, I've only seen like a yard of difference in mine, ball speed, everything. Nothing to make me win a golf tournament because I have a red driver, a hot driver.

So for me, it's just a headache. As a fan, we're trying to grow the game of golf. If you make a guy on Saturday morning think he's got a hot driver and he's hitting it far, what does it matter? Playing with his buddies, you know, playing for a Coke or a cheeseburger.

For us, it's just more stress and headache for the companies that are providing for the PGA Tour, USGA, PGA of America, the RNA. Those companies are the ones sponsoring the commercials, paying the bills, and keeping their lights on.

For me, as a fan of golf, I just don't see it as a as benefit. As a professional, it's just stressful trying to get the driver fit just right. We know it's going to wear in. It's not that you're cheating. It just wears in. The more you practice with a driver the more it's going to wear in. Just more stress we don't need.

I've already have enough stress trying to make a three-footer. I've had a lot of ups and downs because of medical issues and stress related, so this is just more for me to be stressed about, I guess.

Q. You did have a lot of thoughts. Thanks.
BUBBA WATSON: That was being polite. Already had a conversation this morning.

Q. Since they mentioned 9/11, where were you and what were you doing that day?
BUBBA WATSON: I was at University of Georgia, and so I was in the time zone. It was 8:46, so I got a phone call -- 8:49, 8:50 I got a phone call from my mom. Hey have you seen the news? I said no. She told me to turn it on. I turned on the news and in my trailer in Athens, Georgia. I saw the news and we started talking.

She said they're talking about Atlanta is next and you're not that far from Atlanta. All the speculation we all saw on the news and lived, right? So about ten, fifteen minutes into the conversation my mom goes, Don't you have a class at 8:00? I said, It was canceled. Yeah, she caught me that I didn't go to class that morning.

So, yeah, that was how my mom caught me. But it was funny. So, yeah, I remember it vividly looking at that. When I turned the news on obviously I saw the second plane. I mean, we were living a nightmare dream. Yeah, that's how it happened. My mom called me and I saw it was my mom so I answered the phone call. She caught me skipping class that morning.

It was a double sad day, you know. Mom caught me skipping and obviously the worst tragedy is watching that happen.

THE MODERATOR: Anything else? Bubba Watson, we appreciate your time. Best of luck this week.

BUBBA WATSON: All right thank ya'll.

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