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March 28, 2006

Bubba Watson


PHIL STAMBAUGH: Bubba, thanks for spending time with us today. University of Georgia product, first time here at this event, you got the 2006 season off to a nice start with two Top 5 finishes in your first four tournaments. A couple thoughts about playing at the BellSouth Classic?

BUBBA WATSON: I really don't have any thoughts. Just another tournament to me. It's supposed to be a good course. I've seen it on TV a lot, the par 5 18 finish, it's going to be probably another good one. I hope we get all the tournament in this year, though.

PHIL STAMBAUGH: Talk about your thought to the start of the year, everybody saw you at the Sony Open, and you had another good finish later.

BUBBA WATSON: It was one of those things that I knew I could do it, but I wasn't sure. And there's no way to predict a rookie is going to do as good as some of the guys have like Camilo and J.B. Holmes. I knew I could play somewhere in there but at the same time, two Top 5s doesn't get me my card or two years on TOUR. So I haven't really done anything, that's me personally, that's the way I feel like. I'm out here trying to grind like everybody else does.

Q. Going back to the Phoenix Open, did you know all the way through that you had not made a bogey? Just take us back to that week and what was obviously you were hitting the ball well.

BUBBA WATSON: Yeah, there's not much rough out there. The ball travels a little farther. After seeing the golf course you knew you could do it. Even though it's still it's easy to say, hard to do.

So after the first round, I went bogey free, I think I shot 5 under or something, played pretty solid or something. The next day, I think one of the days I had to finish in the dark, I guess that was the next day, Friday and No. 9 I had to lay up and I hit on the green, so I had to putt in the dark and I had like a 40 footer and I 2 putted and I was pretty excited. Going 36 holes without a bogey is usually pretty good, they talk about it. Then the next day, I did the same thing, and yeah, I thought about it. For being considered a long hitter and everything, nobody expects you to be straight enough to go bogey free or putt well enough or chip well enough to go bogey free.

Yeah, it was be a shame not to win. Going bogey free, you'd think you would win it. It was fun and a good experience and I thought I could handle the pressure, and not only trying to win pressure trying to go bogey free. I put my own pressure on myself to see if I could do it. It was fun to do and I was really hitting the ball well.

Q. To what degree do you have familiarity with this course at all?

BUBBA WATSON: I've played 11 holes this morning and it started raining and was getting cold and I walked in. I teed off at 6:30 this morning with Heath Slocum, and it was warmer then than it is now. When it started raining, I was like, I'm going in, I don't have to play the last few holes.

Q. This morning, any impressions?

BUBBA WATSON: Good. It fits my eye well. You've got to shape a lot of shots and if every hole was dead straight I probably would not have played that good. I like shaping shots. I like visualizing shots moving left to right, right to left. So it looks good to me so far.

Q. Do you feel like from what you've seen, with what you know about the course yardages and stuff, does it favor a long hitter like yourself; does it give you any advantages this week?

BUBBA WATSON: Well, I mean, these always give you advantages everybody talks about this is a longer course. If it gets wet and it keeps raining a little bit, it's going to be longer. So it's always going to be an advantage, if you can hit it somewhat straight, because you can hit lower irons into par 5s, par 4s and par 3s. At the end of the week, look at Top 5, Top 2 in putting; the winner is going to be high on the list.

Q. How is your level of pressure changed since the first of the year? When you first got out and you first started, was it at one level, and now you've made some cuts and made some good money, is it different?

BUBBA WATSON: The level has been the same. I proved that I could play, and I would not say belong, but I can play at least this year. For the level of press, all that, each week I want to win just like everybody else and no matter if I won the last three, I'd still get nervous. I'm going to get nervous on the first tee because I love the game of golf. That's the first thing right there. I get nervous over a foot putt as over a 60 foot putt.

Q. The difference in your mind between fourth place and first place, is it a couple putts? Is it a mentality? You've obviously been up there a couple of times. What do you think is the next step or what will take you to the next step in winning out here?

BUBBA WATSON: I think the mental game, staying focused for all four rounds. For me it's hard to focus all four rounds, sometimes five hours a day. I think just the mental thing of staying in the moment and don't wander off thinking about if I'm close to the lead I might win, holding the trophy.

At the same time, it's breaks; if you hit one in the trees or hit one in the rough and get a good lie instead of a bad lie. The winner is going to play well, yes, but he needs to have some breaks go his way. If the breaks come and somebody else hits it in the water and makes double on 16 or something, there's a make that breaks the winner's way. Like you make a 30 footer when you probably shouldn't have.

Q. When you heard about the weather last year and getting ready to come here this week, did you pack more clothes an usual?

BUBBA WATSON: I packed a few articles of clothes that are heavy. I don't like to play with sleeves, but I still have my jackets and I just got a new rain suit today for if there's weather.

Q. I had a question about your agent, I was wondering if you could talk about what an agent does for a golfer, we hear a lot good agents with other athletes and also about your relationship and how that works.

BUBBA WATSON: An agent for a golfer has to do a lot of selling, unless you're Tiger Woods. You know, you've got to sell. There are a lot of guys who are a lot alike or guys who are No. 1 in the world, they go out and they don't have to sell you. But like with me, I want it easier on me and my family where we don't have to worry about making other companies happy packages and logos. I just want my ball company and clubs and clothes and go from there and play golf and it all works on. With my wife, it's just easier, she makes a couple phone calls, and I don't feel like playing an agent 20 percent. But it looks like we're not paying anybody.

Q. Are you done for today? Are you hitting anymore balls?

BUBBA WATSON: I'm out. I'm going to a one o'clock, we're flying in a helicopter to Children's Hospital and I'm going to go putt with them. I think we're having a little putting contest with them, I'm not real sure. I just know it's a helicopter ride.

Q. Are you scared of heights?

BUBBA WATSON: I'm scared of heights. We went over Niagara Falls one time with my wife and I was scared with that, and I'm sure I'll be scared, scared with the weather. Real nervous, I'm nervous all the time.

Q. Follow up question about her being your agent. I assume you had a male agent to start with, and with her being female, regardless of her being your wife, what does she bring to that relationship?

BUBBA WATSON: On her side it brings a lot to the table. She played professional basketball for four years and for the last two years, she's been an agent for the WNBA with the guy that was her agent, running the business. So she wanted to travel with me and six months out of the year said she would stay with him, help with all 75 girls that he had to take care of. She told him she wanted to travel with me and see every shot. For us it's a perfect situation for her to be my agent. It's not how we planned it but then I was like, we don't need to pay somebody. If I can't sell myself, obviously I'm not playing very good.

Q. So it does make a difference though?

BUBBA WATSON: I hope so. (Laughter).

Q. Inaudible?

BUBBA WATSON: A guy named Bubba inaudible. It's been fun, it's one of those things that as a kid growing up, always dream of making a putt for The Masters, making a putt for every tournament and becoming No. 1 or becoming the big media star that people recognize. But then when stuff is happening, and it could happen if you play better, it gets a little scary at times. Everybody wants a piece of you. You're trying to play golf for a living, just like these guys are making a living reporting and without me playing good, y'all wouldn't want to talk to me. So you have to find a happy medium I guess.

Q. Inaudible?

BUBBA WATSON: My hometown could care less who I am. Just some places, like Australia before the year started I came in second, I lost to Robert Allenby when he won all three and lost in a playoff to him. When I got to the airport that morning, I signed a few autographs, a few newspapers had me missing the putt. But everybody came up to me, and then when I made to to Hawaii, people started recognizing me but only at tournaments. Back home I could go any where, nobody could care less. Even on my own golf course people don't know who I am.

Q. What do they do with you SEC guys? You and J.B. Holmes the longest guys to come along in some time.

BUBBA WATSON: Yeah, maybe it's something in the water in the south. Yeah, everybody, and Camilo, for a little guy like he is, well not really little, works out a lot more than they, he hits it a long way, just lashes at it, hits it hard. That's his game. Find it and hit it again, that's what we've been taught. I don't think J.B. has a coach. I'm not sure if he does. I don't think he does. I know Camilo doesn't, he really learned by himself and I did, too. That's how you learn it, you hit it, go find it and hit it again.

PHIL STAMBAUGH: Thank you and good luck this week.

End of FastScripts.

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