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June 16, 2007
Q. One bad hole away, solid round under tough circumstances.
BUBBA WATSON: One bad shot, that's the way I look at it at 5-iron on nine right there and somewhere during the Open you're going to get a couple bad lies, and it seemed like I had several today. On both par 5s I had two good shots, couldn't make birdie. I was trying for par and I three-putted for bogey with the 5-iron on nine and had a couple bad holes.
Q. What did you do today that's going to get you through tomorrow?
BUBBA WATSON: I hung in there. I didn't know Aaron was going to go crazy on the back nine, looked like he birdied three holes, and it looked like Tiger was going to be the number but Aaron played solid.
Q. On 9 when you had that first chip, you played fast there, you hit the next one --
BUBBA WATSON: It's hard, you know, if you had a hard shot before it doesn't matter if you take your time or not, an impossible lie is an impossible lie; you read it, take all the time in the world. All I was trying to do is go to the center of the green, and it was fluffy, and I wanted to hit it quick.
It was one of those where the ball could do anything it wanted to do, it was a tough lie and the next was tougher.
Q. Is that the first time you hit the iron off the tee on nine?
BUBBA WATSON: No, I hit it the first day; the first club in the hazard, made bogey.
Q. What do you have today?
BUBBA WATSON: 207 front and might have been 20 on, so 227, maybe, just guessing.
Q. What's your mind-set going into tomorrow?
BUBBA WATSON: Even par would be 5-over. I told my caddie after I did that, next 27 holes we play even par, 5-over is looking really good. Aaron is at two; I'm pulling for him. If I can't win I hope he can win, because he's up there. One bad swing and that's all it takes. I swung as good as I can hit the ball. That's how good I hit it today and still had that triple that derailed me a little bit.
Q. On six, there was a photographer or someone bothering you.
BUBBA WATSON: The media is always in your way, you know (laughter.)
Q. Is that what happened?
BUBBA WATSON: Somebody snapped a picture and I heard it shutter and backed away and almost made the putt. Almost refocused.
Q. The first lie in the rough at nine fluffy or the second?
BUBBA WATSON: The first was fluffy, I was trying to blast it like a bunker shot, and that's all you can do. The next buried way down, and that's why I grabbed my club and yanked it and went way over. I couldn't hold the club open; it shot out of there.
Q. The second one, that wasn't impatience on your part?
BUBBA WATSON: No, it was the same shot; it was 5-feet closer to the green. It wasn't that I was impatient, I went from tough to tougher, I guess.
Q. It was a struggle to get yourself together after that hole?
BUBBA WATSON: No, my caddie said -- once again we were walking to the tee and he said, "5-over at the end of the week, you're looking good." I guess I was at 4-over at that time, so he said, "You can hang in there, we're looking good," so I hit a 4-iron down the middle, kept hitting good shots just had that 3-put on the back nine, so I knew I was looking good.
Q. Keeping it together on 17 after the second one, just kind of pushed it off the side hill.
BUBBA WATSON: 17 is another bad lie, both par 5s, and 17 were the worst lies, and all I was thinking was par. On 9 I was trying to bogey with a triple, but on 17 with that slope, that's a tough shot. Thought I was going to slip down into the bunker and that's all I could manage to do it is move if six, seven feet.
Q. The crowd give you some words?
BUBBA WATSON: You always enjoy the crowd. It's sad when they're not pulling for you or booing you, so, I mean, I don't know if I could feel them pulling me through but I was trying to stay focused on my round I didn't pay attention to the crowd.
Q. Do you think you made strides rebounding from that ninth hole?
BUBBA WATSON: Yeah, because it showed that I could do it. I got 18 holes, I played some of the best golf I ever played I could be walking home with a trophy or flying home with one, whatever.
Q. You said yesterday you were going to sleep until 10. What time did you wake up?
BUBBA WATSON: Eight. Played basketball, had some breakfast, watched TV, watched GOLF CHANNEL, for a little while, played basketball for a little bit.
BUBBA WATSON: At the house that I got this week.
Q. You don't worry about risk injuries?
BUBBA WATSON: Just shooting. I'm not going to -- I think I'm coordinated a little bit, you know? (Laughter.) Walking is hard enough, I guess.
Q. You're friendly with Tiger. Has he given you any advice when you're in this position?
BUBBA WATSON: He tells me not to play too good; he don't want me to beat him. He's been nothing but nice to me, I don't know why. Maybe he feels sorry for me or something. But he tells me to be patient. After the first round he told me, be patient. He came out yesterday and said to do the same thing, just keep going. He sees a young guy who struggles a little bit, and he's been nice so far, until I start beating him I guess.
Q. Is the "patience" thing working so far?
BUBBA WATSON: To be in this position, yeah, I guess it is. He's helped me a little bit. I've had other veteran players talked to me during the year and last year so slowly but surely it's rubbing off, I guess.
Q. I thought you said something along the lines of, "Aside from myself I was rooting for Aaron," or "I'll be rooting for Aaron"?
BUBBA WATSON: If I can't win. He's a great guy. We go to Bible study just about every week together out here, and he came to me, he was pulling for me this morning, he said, "Hey, play good. Be yourself and play golf." And he used his own words and rolled with it. He's a great guy. If I can't win, I would love to see him win.
Tiger has a few majors; he can wait. Furyk has one, he can wait. If I can't win, I would like to see him win.
Q. How much should they tune the course up?
BUBBA WATSON: Course is playing good, nobody under par, it's winning by 2-over with Aaron, beating me by five, but today it seemed softer, more friendly. The green speeds didn't seem as bad. My green speed was off today and it seemed like they were slower today but who knows if they did something or I was just hitting them easy.
Q. Are you focused, and maybe you don't realize this is Saturday of the U.S. Open? You were leading at one point. Were you aware of that?
BUBBA WATSON: No, I wasn't aware.
Q. Is there anytime you have to keep from pinching yourself?
BUBBA WATSON: No, you don't have time to do that, it's a new tournament every hole, you have the toughest golf every hole. This is 18 of the hardest holes they've ever had.
Q. Seems like you would be willing to walk back to Baghdad with that trophy?
BUBBA WATSON: I would give everybody high-fives down the road.
Q. What do you do on the hole?
BUBBA WATSON: Tried to hit a 5-iron in there after the tee, and I came out of the shot trying to make sure I didn't overhook it and came out of it and left it way out to the left and had a bad lie, and I didn't flub it. Your club just goes right under it, and the next one went way down, and when I hit down it turned the club and shot across the green and now I have three humps to be over my next chip, and I chipped it to 15 feet and hit a good putt and it did different from what we thought and tapped in for 7.
Q. Did it enter your mind you just blue it?
BUBBA WATSON: No, you never blow it until the last few holes. I don't know what Aaron ended up shooting but I know he made some birdies, shot couple under or something, on the back nine? So whatever he shoots on the back nine, if he shoots a couple over or even or 1-under, I don't know what he shot, but if he doesn't do what he did, he didn't make these birdies, now we're at a log jam of 5-over. Wish we were under but --
Q. How do you regain your composure?
BUBBA WATSON: If I knew everybody would do it. If we were at a birdiefest I would have blew it and been out of the tournament. But out here, a bogey is not as bad as it seems and a triple, since I was playing so well, it didn't affect me as much as it would have if I was two or three shots behind at that point, then maybe six shots behind.
Q. Speaking of Aaron, what is it about his game that you find the most impressive?
BUBBA WATSON: His mind. That's what it is. He's going through swing changes the last couple of years or something, so his mind. He believes that he belongs and he believes that it's already planned out, you know, so he's going to win or lose tomorrow, and he's going to go out there and be the best Aaron he can be.
Q. Is he one of the more composed players on tour?
BUBBA WATSON: Yeah, I believe he is.
Q. Do you believe you belong?
BUBBA WATSON: I just want to get better. Until you get that win the media doesn't say you belong. And I've got to win one, and then they're going to say where is your second one?
Q. Any special plans for Father's Day tomorrow? Is your father here?
BUBBA WATSON: No, I don't have any plans. He's not here. He can't walk around the course.
Q. Are you going to call him?
BUBBA WATSON: Maybe. Probably not, I'll be too nervous. I would love to call him at the end of the day and say, "Hey, I got you a present."
Q. What would it mean to you to win the U.S. Open?
BUBBA WATSON: Everything. It's the U.S. Open; that's for your country, you know? That would be nice to carry the flag around and say you won the U.S. Open.
Q. Think about hitting a driver on nine tomorrow?
BUBBA WATSON: No, it will be iron again, just hopefully it will be better.
Q. What are you going to do to relax?
BUBBA WATSON: Eat some cheeseburgers, and if it's light shoot some baskets.
Q. Do you play Horse or --
BUBBA WATSON: Play Horse, my wife and my friends who are here with me, and her parents came up so we all just play Horse, an eightsome of Horse down there.
End of FastScripts