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March 30, 2007

Bubba Watson


DOUG MILNE: Bubba Watson, thanks for joining us. Nice 67 today. Started off birdies on three of your first four holes. If we could just start off, if you wouldn't mind taking us through your birdies, 10, 12, 13, and just give us some clubs.
BUBBA WATSON: I hit driver off the tee and about a foot in the rough. We had 46 yards to the pin is what we came up.
So, you know, where that pin was, I tried to hit a lob wedge out to the side to about 20 feet. Hit a good putt. Started off the day right with a nice putt there. Made birdie.
Then what's the other hole, 12? 12 I hit 3-iron off the tee. And then I hit a sand wedge with the wind coming across, draw it in there. Left it out with the wind to about 35 feet.
Made another good putt and happened to go in. So then I was pretty confident then. Killed a drive on 13, and then I hit 5-iron to about 50 feet, 40 feet, and then lagged it up there to about a foot, tapped it in.
DOUG MILNE: How about 18? Tough birdie there.
BUBBA WATSON: 18 is a funny hole. No OB on right. I tried to take it over the bunkers. I hit the lip of the bunker, kicked up on top of the bunker. We had 181, I think we came up with. So I hit 9-iron to about 5 feet, maybe, and hit a good putt, made it.
DOUG MILNE: Then jump to the front side, No. 6, par 4, 465 yards.
BUBBA WATSON: Oh, yeah. Hit driver. I hit driver about a foot in the rough again, try to cut it around the bunker just in the rough.
Had a funny lie the way it set down in the rough there and from 103 to the front. So 111 to the hole.
I hit a lob wedge in there to about 20 feet. Hit on the front and bounced forward to about 20, 30 feet and made the putt, hit a good putt and happened to go in again.
DOUG MILNE: Then your 8th hole, par 5?
BUBBA WATSON: I hit a good drive right down the middle of the fairway. Tried to hit a 5-iron on the front of the green and let it run back to the back. The wind kind of knocked it down right in the bunker, and then it was a tough bunker shot because we had to go to the back of green. I hit it to about 12 feet, maybe, and then just made a good stroke there and went in.
DOUG MILNE: Okay. Great. Four strokes better today than yesterday, 67. We'll just open it up for some questions.

Q. How would you characterize your year so far? Missed cuts but some Top-10s.
BUBBA WATSON: I'm trying to learn the game. I'm trying to learn what makes me good, and right now my -- beginning of the year when I finished a couple Top-10s, my putting was really well, putting well, and then got my ball striking where I wanted it.
Got my drive, I'm hitting more fairways, lot more than last year.
Hitting a lot more greens. You know, I feel good over the ball, but on the putting I just don't feel comfortable yet with what I'm trying to do to get better and trying to stay focused on my rounds. Couple of them I just lose focus. Not too many cuts, though. I think I missed two, three, yeah.
So I'm a lot better at this point than I was last year at this point. Last year everybody thought I started off hot. I just want a W, just get me a win.

Q. What are you doing to try to stay more focused?
BUBBA WATSON: I don't ask for help. Just on me. I just try to do it on myself and make myself do it, try to make my own self better. And so I'm trying to stay more focused, not let stuff bother me. Lately I've been doing that.
At Bay Hill I missed the cut. I made a 9 on No. 6, the par 5. I didn't get down. I had good chances for birdies to make the cut, and I just missed them, and so here I've done the same thing. When I hit a bad shot, I try to stay in there and get up and down and move on. So far it's worked.

Q. You say you're trying to learn the game. Does that kind of mean not depending so much on your length?
BUBBA WATSON: Trust it that I can hit a wedge pretty close, and I've done that a couple times this week where I went ahead and laid up and tried to play smart. People say it as a matter of fact. I'm trying to just learn the game that way, play my percentages.
So far -- I'm getting close. I'm getting -- the nerves are still going to come in like on this weekend. It's getting close. I feel like my game is starting to come around and my mental game is starting to get better. Now it's probably 25 percent instead of 10 percent.

Q. Bubba, when you hit it as long as you do, can that power be kind of addicting? Do you have to control yourself?
BUBBA WATSON: When I'm at home, I hit driver everywhere. It doesn't matter where it goes. Out here I have to play smarter. I have to control the power and play with an iron off the tee on the tougher holes where I can make par.
Sometimes I get carried away. Especially if I play bad the hole before, I always want to hit driver because I'm mad and ready to go.
So far this week I've stayed calm and stayed in the present, and so yeah, it gets hard. It's hard because everybody wants to see it. It's fun for me, too. You got to learn how to control it, somehow.
DOUG MILNE: I don't know if you've seen you're starting early tomorrow, going off 1 and 10. When you're coming off a round like this, you obviously want to be relaxed, and as you start the weekend, is there kind of a sense of rush, you know some weather is coming?
Is that ever a distraction to you?
BUBBA WATSON: No. I like playing in the mornings. Like today, I played good in the afternoon, but I hate sitting around. I can't sleep past like 9:00, so I'm waiting around for my tee time. It gets boring to me.
Maybe a good thing for me that we're playing early.

Q. Does this course play to your strengths, given the course architect said kind of trying to set it up so it wouldn't be just a bomber's paradise, short hitters can be in play, too. Does it play to your strengths?
BUBBA WATSON: So far it has. There's a lot of water out there. Without that water, it's a really good course for me, but like 18, couple in the front, 4, 5, 6 right there with water everywhere.
It's tough for me because I want to hit driver, but sometimes you don't need to. I've got to control the driver and not try to swing at it so hard. My goal this week is to putt good and hit the ball off the tee pretty well. So far we putted good today and hitting the ball off the tee.

Q. Are you kind of surprised about the lies you sometimes find the rough? Everyone talks about how short it is, but it can really go down in there?
BUBBA WATSON: It's growing fast. They're watering it pretty good. It's growing pretty fast. It's a lot worse than it was on Tuesday.
You can get some great lies, but with long irons, it's still hard to hit long irons out of there. Shorter irons don't bother you at all.
DOUG MILNE: Anybody else? Okay. Bubba Watson, second round 67. Thanks for your time.

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