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October 21, 2008

Bubba Watson


DOUG MILNE: Bubba Watson, thanks for taking a few minutes to join us here at the FRYS.com Open. We appreciate you coming in for a few minutes. Not too far from home for you to come these days. Talk about the transition. Are you still just pretty much in transition?
BUBBA WATSON: Our house is fully decorated now here. We've been here for about a month and a half, had the house for about two months. About ten minutes from here, right up the street there. It's beautiful. I've seen clouds a couple days here, but no rain. This is what we moved for for the winter, and I think it's going to be great.
We played Grayhawk last week, and I'm trying to get as much practice as I can. Having three weeks off, I'm kind of out of it. Haven't hit balls for a while.
But I think it's a great move, and we love the atmosphere here and we really love the church. That's another reason why we moved.

Q. Coming off of a good year, three Top 10s, had a T8 at Bay Hill and T12 at the Barclays the first time in the playoffs. Maybe a little assessment on your game as you're heading into the week.
BUBBA WATSON: It's going to be good. You know, I've already made the TOUR Championship, so I did some stuff that I wanted to do, but I've had some time off, so I've had some time to refresh. I played five in a row -- I played two in a row leading up to the playoffs and then played all four of the playoffs, so that's six. So I played six in a row.
You know, I'm just tired, mentally tired, mentally out of it, and so three weeks off gave me some good rest, and hopefully -- I've got some new irons in the bag I've been working with the last three weeks, and hopefully it'll help me get over that hump.
DOUG MILNE: At the TOUR Championship there was a lot of hype about you going back to school and earning your degree, going back to Georgia. Is that still a popular topic of conversation with people?
BUBBA WATSON: Maybe not with people, but it is for me. My junior tournament and my college tournament that I represent, it's just that it's a big thrill, and hopefully it's a big honor for my family.
Me and Boo got honored at our high school. We both made the hall of fame of our high school a couple weeks ago. For me to go out there on that field and be honored because of my schooling is a lot better than because of golf.
You know what, I want to win golf tournaments, I want to be a professional golfer, I want to be the best in the world, but at the same time, my life doesn't revolve around that. My life is about other things, and especially about charities and giving back to kids and showing kids that even somebody like me can go back to school. So for me it's always going to be on the top of my head, but the golf is always second.

Q. Have you had very many chances to come here and play?
BUBBA WATSON: Out here? Me and Aaron Baddeley snuck out here a few times the last few weeks. We played like four rounds, five rounds. He made a hole-in-one.

Q. Did you have any money riding on it?
BUBBA WATSON: No, no, I never bet.

Q. What hole was that?
BUBBA WATSON: No. 8. I hit it to like four feet -- we couldn't see. The pin was behind the bunker, so the way that front pin is, it'll slope right to the hole. So I hit one just left of the pin and he hit one just to the left of the pin, and we went up there and we saw one ball. I've never made a hole-in-one, so I wanted it to be mine, and then it was his.
I made birdie, though. I still lost.

Q. How is the course?
BUBBA WATSON: Beautiful. You know, I played last year. Last year they didn't overseed so it was firm. The ball was just going forever when the ball hit the fairways, kind of like Vegas last week. But with it being overseed and as much as they had to water it, it's playing longer. It's playing the number. Even though the ball travels a little farther out here, it's still playing the number because the ball is not running down the fairways.
The greens are in perfect shape. They're at a good speed right now. You're still having to worry about your speed and some of the slopes, but it's beautiful. This is probably as good as they could have the golf course right now.
Now, it might change, but right now it's perfect.

Q. Is it in the kind of condition where your length helps you then?
BUBBA WATSON: If I hit it straight. If I hit it straight, yes, my length can really help me. You know, like today, this morning, I flew it over the green on -- was that 15, the kind of short hole, like 330, 335, so I landed it on the back of the green and it just trickled over. So any time you can hit it straight at that green it's going to help you, if I can get up-and-down.

Q. Your length obviously is what you've been known for throughout your whole career. How hard have you worked and how much have you gone with the other parts of your game to try to round it all out?
BUBBA WATSON: I mean, you're always trying to get better. Putting is the name of the game. You know, people make fun of people not hitting fairways, but if you can putt, it doesn't matter how many fairways you hit and how many greens you hit. If you putt well, you're going to win golf tournaments. So I've tried to work on my putting and my short game and my irons.
My irons have always been a pretty good part of my game. I'm close to top 10, to 20 of greens in regulation the last few years, so that part is good. But every amateur in the world wants to hit it long. Every man in the world wants to hit it long. They want to be able to say, I hit that past you.
So that's one of the parts of my game that I've always had. I've never tried to hit it longer than everybody else; it's just one of those things that I've been lucky enough to be able to do that, so that's what everybody knows me as. I always thought it was my pretty face, but I guess not.

Q. So you continue to spend more time now working on short game?
BUBBA WATSON: Yeah, I don't hit driver -- when we're hitting range balls to loosen up in practice, I never hit driver on the range. I mean, that's either going to be straight or crooked. I'm always going to hit it long, so I don't ever practice that. I practice the other stuff more than I do the driver. The driver is just a bonus for me.

Q. And you feel that paying off more, the more years that you're out here?
BUBBA WATSON: I haven't won yet, so it hasn't paid off as well, but at the same time, I have my job every year. Next year will be my fourth year on TOUR, so I've kept my card every year, and I'm in this interviewing room, so I guess I did somewhat good.

Q. You've done everything except win?
BUBBA WATSON: Except win, yeah. I get that question a lot. I want to win, I do. I'm trying to win. But you get better at the game, and hopefully once I get that first win, like Camilo, get the second one real quick and maybe keep going from there.

Q. So many guys live so close to this course, and the first time they held this tournament last year, not that many of them really had good weeks. Is that surprising?
BUBBA WATSON: What's a nice way of saying it? When you're at your home -- I've never had a home tournament, so this is my first time. When you're at your home tournament you have more friends hanging out with you, you have family, maybe some golfers staying at your house. Like this week I have a golfer staying there and a caddie staying at my house. You know, we're just having fun. Last night we played video games all night.
The golf is fun, but the friendships are fun, the fellowship is better.
You know, like Vijay not winning Jacksonville because he plays there every day. He puts a lot of pressure on himself, and maybe he's more relaxed than he should be because he's at his house. And here I might be more relaxed, I might win because I'm more relaxed, who knows.
But it's a hard situation because you want all your friends that are local area, you want to make sure they have tickets, make sure they get in. You've got a lot of stuff going on that you don't normally have. When you go back to the hotel it's a lot easier to focus on golf than all the other stuff around.

Q. Since this is your first time on your home course, you're going to try to keep the same routine you keep on the road?
BUBBA WATSON: My golf day will be the same. Like today as soon as I get done with this, I'm going home. I played 18 holes and I'm not going to hit range balls, I'm not going to putt. I'm just going to go home and rest, play some video games. That's about it.
DOUG MILNE: Is this week the last for the year, and if so, what's your kind of, albeit short, off-season plan.
BUBBA WATSON: It's going to be a tough off-season. This is probably going to be my last one. I'm going to the doctor on Monday. I've got a real bad sinus -- my nose looks like it's terrible on the inside, so I'm going to have surgery more than likely this off-season and fix my -- I guess a deviated septum. It's real crooked in there. So I'm not looking forward to that.
I'd rather be playing golf the rest of the year. But hopefully that doctor will give me some good news, but more than likely I'm going to have to have surgery.

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