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May 1, 2009

Bubba Watson


JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Bubba Watson, thanks for joining us after a 7-under par 65 today, great round, put yourself into contention heading into the weekend. Still some players out on the golf course, but 8-under par will be a great start for you, maybe a few opening comments.
BUBBA WATSON: 8-under par is great. I played good today. You know, I made three bogeys, but on the back nine I shot 30, like Tiger did yesterday. I made an eagle, then birdied No. 8 and made a 10-footer for par on the last hole to be at 8-under.

Q. How much do you like the fact that it's only two inches of rough out there?
BUBBA WATSON: I love hard golf courses, so it doesn't matter to me if it's two inches of rough or thick. I love playing golf, and I love it when it's really tough, and right now, even when the two inches of rough, you can't get spin on the ball. These greens are getting so firm right now, especially with this wind drying them out even more. It's going to look like there's heavy rough.
People are going to go for the greens, but at the same time it's not going to stay on the green. 17 right now I don't know if you can keep it on the green. Guy I played with today hit it in the center of the green and it went in the water, and he hit it high. And he's on a tee. Just think if there was two inches of rough, they'd really be in trouble.

Q. This golf course is one that you like. Does this surprise you at all?
BUBBA WATSON: I love shaping the ball. No, it never surprises me. I think I'm good enough to play golf. I think I'm good enough to win. I might never win, who knows. I can't tell you that. But it's my mental game. The physical game is there. I can hit driver as far as I want, I can hit driver as short as I want. I can chip and putt if I want to. It's just am I physically and mentally going to be ready to play golf, am I going to be mentally in the game. No matter what the golf course is, no matter how tough the conditions are, if I'm mentally ready I'm going to play golf.

Q. Safe to say you were mentally there today?
BUBBA WATSON: No, my caddie kicked me in the butt a few times and kept telling me to stay focused because I wanted to pout a few times. Like today even on the front when I shot 30, I hit -- No. 5, the par-5, I hit this great drive down there, hit 9-iron into it. However long it is, I had 9-iron in. I hit it right on the front of the green right where you're supposed to downwind and I spun it, so now I had a 50-footer, and that's the most spin I put on the ball all week but it was downwind. And I started pouting and talking about how bad I am, stuff like that. My caddie is like, you're putting for eagle so just keep going. I three-putted, and then he said, don't worry about that, just keep going.
He's always talking to me. I'm not listening, but he's always talking to me.

Q. What part of -- what's difficult for you to focus? Do you have an active mind? Do you usually get down on yourself?
BUBBA WATSON: Five hours of PGA TOUR golf. I mean, it's just not fun. I love the game of golf, and I think it should be in three hours. When I'm at home, I don't know the last time I shot in the 70s playing with my buddies or playing at home. I've shot in the 60s all the time because I'm in a cart, playing as fast as I want and moving around the golf course. I don't have time to think about which way the wind is blowing, I just hit the ball.
That's what my caddie wants me to do. The mental part is just hard. It's hard for me because I didn't listen in school, I didn't graduate college until last year, so that's a seven-year layoff.
Just for me to focus for that long is just hard.

Q. I know you told the story a couple times to a couple other people, but why did you go back and finish the degree?
BUBBA WATSON: I have a junior tournament, and I want to help a lot of charities. The best thing about golf is it's a great way for me to help out with charities, and for me to tell kids to go to school, they might not make it as a pro athlete, whatever the sport is, or a big-time lawyer, whatever, I just felt wrong for telling them that and then not having a degree. I had a two-year degree from junior college, but I felt like I needed to show them that I could go back to school, and it's the hardest thing I've ever done.

Q. Felt like a bit of a hypocrite or something you hadn't finished --
BUBBA WATSON: Not a hypocrite. You still want to tell them to go to school, why wouldn't you? Even if you've never been to school, you still tell them to go to school. I just felt like why not show them instead of tell them, let's just show them.

Q. What all did you have to do?
BUBBA WATSON: I had to take a hard test, and I told them I didn't want to know the grade, I just want a pass or a fail. I don't know how good I did, but I passed; that's all that matters.

Q. You're just halfway through. What is your biggest challenge now this weekend, just getting your mind right?
BUBBA WATSON: My mind. I don't think about any other golfer, I don't think about how -- which way the wind is going, I just think about if I can stay focused and in what I'm doing.
I'm thinking sometimes -- like today, I was talking to my caddie about playing a golf course, me and him go play a lot during the week, so I was thinking about three tournaments from now what golf course we're going to go play at when we're up there at Memorial. So I'm like -- he's like, shut up, let's talk about this putt right now. We're here. I'm like, yeah, but this golf course is so much fun.
So my mind just wanders. I'm thinking about what shoes I'm going to buy; man, I need to wash my car. I'm thinking about stuff that doesn't matter because we're out there for so long. It's the truth. I'm not lying to anybody, it's the truth.

Q. If you were paired with Tiger tomorrow, you obviously play with him a lot in practice rounds, maybe as much as anybody. Is it different in a tournament? Have you gotten so used to it that it doesn't change, or will it be different?
BUBBA WATSON: I've never played with him in a tournament, so practice rounds are always different because you're just out there goofing around and you're playing fast. I play pretty good then.
But during a tournament, we're both going to be focused on what we're doing. We'll say "good shot" here and there, but it's going to be different because I've never had the crowds like that. I've never been in the final group. He's been in the final group however many times and he's won however many times, so he's used to it, and it's new to me. I've never won.
It will be fun no matter if it's him or whoever. It's going to be hard no matter what because I just want to play good. I want to take the lead or whatever.

Q. Which golf course in Ohio? What kind of shoes are you going to buy? And what kind of car do you need to wash?
BUBBA WATSON: I have a white one that I need to wash with black rims, and I've never washed it since I've had it. I've had it for like four months. A pair of tennis shoes. I'm not going to say the name brand, but I love tennis shoes. I love bright colors on tennis shoes.
The golf course is -- we're not going to give that information out.

Q. Why?
BUBBA WATSON: Because all my fans might come and chase me down (laughter).

Q. How often are you hitting driver?

Q. More so than usual?
BUBBA WATSON: No, the same.

Q. What's your thinking of how you go around the golf course?
BUBBA WATSON: Today I added one driver in because the wind was coming hard off the left on the short hole. What is that, 14 maybe? Yeah, 14, I was going to hit 4-wood today because the pin was up front because I thought if I laid up like I did yesterday, that front pin location was going to be hard to get to anyway. My caddie said don't hit the 4-wood because you're cutting it back against the wind, it might come up short and you'll have 30 yards, an awkward shot. Just try to hit driver where you're down there in the bunker. It worked out perfectly and went in the bunker.

Q. You can't reach it with 3-wood? I saw David Toms almost reach it.
BUBBA WATSON: I carry the 4-wood, though, that's why. Mine is a 4-wood.

Q. Does anyone hit it farther than you out here?
BUBBA WATSON: Out here? I've never seen that guy from Spain, and I've never seen Gary Woodland that everybody talks about. But me and J.B. Holmes have played a lot together. J.B. Holmes probably hits it as far as me, if not farther. Every time he pulls out his driver, you know he's about to put on a show. I beat my driver around. I just try to somehow guide it inside the out-of-bounds stakes. I did okay today. My caddie has been with me for two and a half years, and I told him, as long as I've got a swing, I've got a shot.

Q. I was going to ask you about your caddie. Who is he and what are you looking for in a caddie? It sounds like you're just looking for somebody to help you out mentally?
BUBBA WATSON: I'm looking for a Christian man who's going to do the right things in life and not be something that -- I want to see myself in him, so he's a great friend now. We go to Bible study together, we go to church together when he's in town hanging out with me, and I love to play golf with him. He thinks he's good at golf and he thinks he's long, and I love that about him.

Q. What's his name?
BUBBA WATSON: Ted Scott, 1994 world foosball champion Ted Scott.

Q. Have you ever looked into some ADD medication at all?
BUBBA WATSON: Talked about it many times, but I just don't see it -- I think it's just a crutch. My dad is from the military, Green Beret Special Forces, and he said that's a crutches. Doctors are crutches, so you've got to figure out a way to do it on your own. That's why I've never had a lesson, never talked to a mental coach, never talked to a nutritionist, never talked to anything. I play golf because I love it, and if I couldn't play golf, if I started playing terrible then I'd just quit and find something else to do, help the First Tee or something.
JOEL SCHUCHMANN: We'll go over your scorecard. You started out on the back side, No. 10, with a birdie on your first hole, the par-5.
BUBBA WATSON: I hit driver, I hit 5-iron from 241 hole, 239 hole, somewhere around there, hit 5-iron to about 20 feet, then tapped in a one-footer.
11, I tried to dink a driver around that bunker and hit it too low, so it caught the lip of the bunker and went down in it so I had to chip out, missed about a -- after I chipped out hit 9-iron to about 15 feet, missed it, so made bogey on 11.
14, talked about it, hit driver to the greenside bunker, hit it to about three feet out of the bunker, made it for birdie.
Hit driver on the par-5, 15. Had I think 206, tried to hit a low 6-iron to run it up there just to the right edge of the green because the pin was over there so I could putt it up there, hit it up to about 30 feet just off the green, putted to about a foot and a half, made the birdie.

Q. What's your line off the tee there?
BUBBA WATSON: Normally -- today it was different because of the wind but normally it's at the bunkers and just cut it and just let it slide, not hitting it hard, just letting it slide of there and roll down the hill. Today with the wind coming hard off the left I could go right over that tree and just hit it hard, and that's what I did.
16, hit driver down there, had about -- I think it was 128 hole, hit a 56-degree just out of the first cut of rough, missed the fairway by two feet or something, and hit it down there about 10, 12 feet, 15 feet, right up the hill, made it.
17 I bogeyed, I hit 5-iron -- I was trying to hit a 5-iron at the crowd and slice it to the pin. Didn't slice, hit it straight, thought the wind was going to drift it. We had I'd say 212 hole but we thought the wind was hurting just like at 5, hit a little choked down 5, went over the green, and then didn't get up-and-down, had a tough shot, didn't get up-and-down.
18, we thought because my 5-iron didn't turn that way, so we thought that the wind was straight downwind so I hit this 4-wood just off the edge of the bunker there. The wind drifted it so it landed right in the lip of the bunker so I chipped down the fairway, had 63 yards to the hole, hit it to about 12 feet and then just lipped out for par.
Then I went to 1, hit driver right over those bunkers, had 63 yards hole, middle of the fairway, and hit it to about 20 feet, made it for a birdie.
No. 3, we had 4-wood out to just hit it straight, and I said, no, it's downwind, let's hit driver. So I hit driver like I normally do but this time took it over the trees since it was straight downwind. So I hit down there, had 87 yards hole just in the first cut of rough, chipped it to about three inches, four inches, so I tapped it in for birdie.
4, hit this terrible drive, sliced it, normally hit driver there. I sliced it up in the trees, had to hook -- I hooked a 52-degree from 140, 141 hole, I hit 52-degree, had to hook it around the tree about 30 yards, hit it to about eight feet, made it for birdie.
And then 7, my goal there is just to hit it not in the water and not in those bunkers, so I cut it up just past the bunker in the rough, had 193 hole dead into the wind, hit 5-iron right over the water and tried to cut it back. Cut it back perfectly, had about a 20-footer for eagle straight down the hill, and luckily it went in.
And then 8, I hit 4-wood, just draw a 4-wood around the bend, had 66 yards to the hole, hit it to about -- bumped it in there to about three feet and made it.
And that was it.

Q. Assuming it's Tiger tomorrow, do you think it might be a little easier for you versus some other guys since you've got a familiarity with him and you guys are text messaging and you know him a little better than most and maybe less predisposed to panic and whatnot, more fun?
BUBBA WATSON: It's going to be more fun. It'll definitely be more fun. No, it's the greatest player that ever lived. I mean, it's Tiger Woods. If you're not nervous on the first tee, you're not into the round.
It's just the atmosphere of you guys watching me more. The cameras came out on 9 today. It's just everything, me getting used to everything. Tiger being there is another competitor I'm trying to beat. It doesn't matter if it's Tiger, Monday qualifier or an amateur, it doesn't matter. It's the atmosphere of this could be my first win, this could be my chance to get a win. It could be anything.
But it's Saturday, so I could shoot 92 tomorrow and y'all wouldn't want to talk to me ever. I'm probably the most fun to talk to, but....

Q. One more thing, Memorial two or three years ago you were having a pretty good run on Saturday, a bunch of cameras came out and it looked like it affected you a little bit.
BUBBA WATSON: It always affects me because I don't want to be -- I don't play golf for the limelight, I don't play golf to have everybody stare at me and be in every magazine, so when they come around it's not me. I want to be in my little shell in my house playing video games. It's hard for me because that's not how I've been brought up. I don't like the limelight. I don't like being there.

Q. Is it just the --
BUBBA WATSON: You guys make me nervous.

Q. Is it just the presence of them or thinking about where it's being beamed or what?
BUBBA WATSON: No, it's just because I play golf because I love the golf courses, I love to play, and now I've got all these strangers staring at me. I get nervous around people.

Q. Distraction?
BUBBA WATSON: Absolutely, it just distracts you. Like 16 at TPC Sawgrass this year, on Sunday, I just told everybody keep yelling, because if everybody is yelling, everybody is moving, it blends into everything, so you can just play golf. But when you've got one camera or one guy that stands behind the pin looking like this, you can see him. It would probably be better for me to play with a big crowd so everything would blend together.

Q. TPC Scottsdale?
BUBBA WATSON: Yeah, when everybody was cheering. I said, yeah, keep yelling so I don't have to listen to one person screaming out something.

Q. What are your favorite video games?
BUBBA WATSON: Right now, "Call of Duty." You play on line and shoot people. Play with my buddies and yell at people.

Q. It just raises the question, you're so talented --
BUBBA WATSON: I'm hungry, so if we could....

Q. -- I wonder if you could inhibit yourself from getting better in the sense that as you get better you get more attention.
BUBBA WATSON: I know, it's something I've got to deal with. But no, I mean, it's different. It's just, I would love to be No. 1 in the world. I'm trying every day to be the best golfer that ever walked this planet. That's what I want to do.
But I'm not going to -- my whole life is not based on that. I'm not going to flip out and go pout in my room if I never become that, or if I never win. My tombstone is not going to stay how many wins I have or how many missed cuts I have, unless somebody hates me. It's not going to say that. It's not going to say how many majors Tiger had when he passes away. It's never going to say that, unless somebody hates him.
So I don't pout when I go home. I might pout walking up to the 18th hole because I'm playing bad, but once I putt out my last putt, I'm the happiest guy in the world, I don't think about my golf, I could care less. If I shoot 59 tomorrow and I'm winning, it's no big deal, I'm going to act just like everybody else does. It's just fun being out here and fun that somebody wanted to talk to me.
JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Bubba, thank you very much.

End of FastScripts

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