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August 12, 2010

Bubba Watson


KELLY ELBIN: With his first under par round in the PGA Championship Bubba Watson in with a 4-under par 68 today in the opening round of the 92nd PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, one stroke out of the lead at this time. Bubba, six birdies at Whistling Straits, congratulations on the first round. Comments on your play today.
BUBBA WATSON: It was a great day. I just, my mental focus was really good. I just putted really well. Kept it going making some putts. And somehow it ended up to a 68.
KELLY ELBIN: For the record Bubba had nine 1-putt greens, 27 putts in all for the round today.

Q. You hit a lot of really bad shots, good shots, a lot of these beautiful cuts and fades and so on. Do you do that to keep your interest or because it's what the hole calls for?
BUBBA WATSON: I do it because I can't hit it straight. I do it because that's how I play golf. As a kid that's how I just, I moved the ball around. And I curves. Straight is way too hard. Just that straight putt it's a hard putt. So it's just something that's easier for me to do and it's easier for me to move it.

Q. Pete Dye was saying that he doesn't, he makes suggestions with his designs about which way you should move it. Did you find yourself always moving it in the direction suggested or do you move it?
BUBBA WATSON: Is this a Pete Dye course?

Q. Yes, sir?
BUBBA WATSON: Oh, I have no idea. Yeah, I mean the first hole it wants to go that way, so I went down it. Yeah pretty much. I guess whatever he suggests, that's what I was doing. I did it okay today.
I just, when I see it, I see a hole going that play or pin's on the left or right, I try to shape it in there.

Q. It seems like when you're playing well you're making a lot of saves, par saves. And you made some good ones today. How much of that making those par saves adds to your mental, your focus that you're talking about?
BUBBA WATSON: Everybody that plays good make as lots of good saves. The guys that shoot 59 this week, they made a lot of good saves somewhere.
It just keeps the momentum. Your caddie's always in your ear bugging you about momentum. You make that putt, let's go. Don't worry about the bad shot, you got up-and-down, let's, you made par, let's get to the next hole. Let's birdie the next one.
You get up-and-down on the next hole, he says don't worry about that, you got up-and-down. Let's go. You get that momentum. And that's what it is. If I don't get up and down up-and-down a couple times today my momentum could shift, it might not, but it could shift and not go the right direction and I could be mad the rest of the day. So I just held it together, I made some key putts that I needed to make and now I'm here talking to you guys.

Q. Especially looking at your swing in slow motion, it looks like there's a lot of moving parts. Is it a hard swing to maintain?
BUBBA WATSON: I have no idea. I never had a lesson, so I just play golf. This job is fun to me. If I would have shot 82 today, I wouldn't go home and pout, I would be like I'm playing on the PGA TOUR, at a major. So to maintain it? You tell me. I kept my card for five years. And now I've got two more years, that makes seven no matter what, so I guess for seven years at least it's maintained.

Q. Jason Day said he's not surprised to see long hitters on the leaderboard here. Why?
BUBBA WATSON: I don't know. The longer it is, the farther -- people make fun of it, call it the bomb and gouge, I guess. Well I'll go with the bomb and gouge. I missed some fairways today, but I hit a lot of fairways too. So on that one par-5 on the front, number 5, hit driver, 56 degree sand wedge in there. I had a 2-putt for birdie. 598. So it makes it a little easier, I guess, when you do that. I had 142 in. Downwind.

Q. What did you do during the fog delay and is it difficult to have a three-hour delay?
BUBBA WATSON: I didn't -- I get excited about playing golf. So I stayed up late last night when I should have been going to bed. My wife was yelling at me to go to bed. I was up playing games on my phone. So this morning she knew I was tired, she knew I was what's the nice word to say, angry. I wasn't myself this morning when I woke up. So she told me just to eat something and make sure you have enough energy. Make sure you stay hydrated because it's going to be hot.
So that's all I was trying to do during the delay, just sit there with her and be still and not lose a little bit of energy that I had. So maybe that helped not having much energy, I played well.
But during the delay, yeah, it's boring. You don't have nothing to do. I played two more video games on my phone. Threw stuff at Ricky Fowler for awhile while he was trying to sleep. Pretty much the basic kid stuff that you do.

Q. Which video game?
BUBBA WATSON: I've been playing Angry Birds on the iPhone.

Q. Now that you've had a few months to digest it, did the win in Hartford change your approach or your confidence level or your expectations?
BUBBA WATSON: No, it the one thing it did show me is that that whole setup that week was a weird week. We flew into Hartford, me and my wife and we were passing this billboard that showed a water park. And so I said we should go to that water park. We need to start having fun. Golf is fun for me. That's what I love to do. I don't have a lesson, I don't get lesson so I can have fun.
So I got to the golf course on Tuesday and I hit about ten balls and I said, Teddy, to my normal caddie, I said you want to go to a water park? So we left and went to a water park on Tuesday and I didn't feel like playing, I didn't feel like doing anything. So we played there for about four hours at the water park and so now we got the idea that we're going to have fun and do as much fun stuff as possible.
Me and Ricky Fowler are friends now. We do a lot of stuff, laser tag, we do a lot of kid, fun stuff. And so the win just showed me that we're onto something, the right thing. Let's have fun with our live and let's have fun with golf. And that whole week I just never thought about winning. I always thought about just what's the best score I can shoot and if that means winning, that means winning. If it means coming in 10th. I did as good as I can do.
That's really, last week I did the same thing but then got caught up in I was leading the golf tournament by two and the media, you know, that kind of stuff. So this week is, played good again and hopefully I can do a little bit better on the next three days.

Q. What kind of fun stuff have you don't off the course this week?
BUBBA WATSON: We got here Sunday night, flew in with Rickie called Rickie at the house that I rented and I said there's three kids that live here, there's Razors, there's the push Razors, they're scooters, there's skate boards, there's basketball, there's football, there's Frisbee, golf in the back. Disk golf in the back, there's bicycles. I said do you want to come over. We shot Twitter videos, we played two days ago we, threw the football, played catch with the baseball, we played basketball, we cruised around with some neighborhood kids on the Razors, road bikes, and we went and then we had an ice cream afterwards. So we pretty much did anything that you could think of. That's what we're doing.

Q. Have you ever been tempted to get a lesson?
BUBBA WATSON: No. I've never been tempted. The game comes natural to me. It's fun. And I don't want to make it a job. I do this because I love it. A few times it looks like a few times over the years I've been angry, and my wife has yelled at me a few times and said why are you angry, this is what you love to do. When you're home, when you're not playing golf, you're playing golf with all the boys back home. So you love to do this. So why not just have fun and do it. So that's -- if I get a lesson, that means it's a job and that means I think I'm not good enough anymore, and so.

Q. Given that, and I know you're sort of friends with Tiger, if he asked you about going without a coach, how would you advocate that? What would your argument be to him to go without a coach?
BUBBA WATSON: Same thing I just told you. The game's fun. As a kid, when anybody looks at anybody that plays on the TOUR, well, I guess not anybody, there's a couple that go to special schools, but as a kid 10 years old, 12 years old, you're playing and dreaming about getting to the PGA TOUR, getting to the microphone here and talking to you guys. You're dreaming about that stuff.
But then when you get to high school and you get to college, you start talking about coaches and swing thoughts and this and that, but really it's not what that got you there. What got you there is because you were a good player. That's why the college coach came to you, that's why you can, have you a chance to play on the PGA TOUR is because we were good players and not mental cases.
So if you look at that, and look at what you did as a kid, as a kid you didn't, you won golf tournaments and didn't need any help, so why do you need it as adult? Mental help, I can see, but not swing, I mean and if you're the No. 1 player in the world you really don't need a swing coach, I think, you just keep doing what your doing. It's pretty good. 70 something wins is pretty good.

Q. If you had this attitude when you went to college, coaches like to coach and they like to say, you got to do this, that and something else, boy, to succeed. What was the reaction and at Georgia when were you in college?
BUBBA WATSON: Well, it's been documented that me my coach didn't get along. Chris Haack. But to this day, we made up, we made up a few years ago. In 2008 I went back to school and graduated. I stayed at his house when I was going back and getting tutored for my schooling. We're friends now.
But at my senior year at Georgia I didn't get to play golf. He wouldn't let me play. Because I obviously -- he didn't like the way I did things. I didn't call him coach, I called him Mr. Haack. Because he's not my coach. He's my, what they call coach at the school, but he wasn't my coach. And so we didn't get along. We butted heads.
To this day I've known him since I was 13 and now we're friends and we talk and, but, yeah, it was difficult because I do it my way. I'm having fun and doing it my way and so why change and do it what somebody else wants me to do. And if you're not, if and especially if you're not beating me, if you can't beat me, then why are you going to tell me what to do, you know, when it comes to golf. So that's the way I look at it.

Q. The things you talk about are things that I heard Lee Trevino say. I'll take a lesson from a guy when he can beat me.

Q. Lee buck was pretty good at golf?
BUBBA WATSON: Yeah, he's pretty good.

Q. But my question is, now you're on a stage for major championships, do you alter anything that you would do this week and if you think you need advice, who do you talk with about advice?
BUBBA WATSON: The only advice I seek in this in my life is to God. I'm a Christian first. So that's my only, that's the only place I seek for answers.
And then my wife, because she's the boss, but.
(Laughter.) That's a different subject. That's totally different.
But truthfully, I don't, it's a major championship, yes. It would be an honor to win. It gives you a lot of notoriety, it gives you all the great things in life. But at the same time if I won the John Deere Classic, it would be just as big. I won Travelers, that was a major to me.
Any golf tournament I have a chance to win, that's a major. I don't see it -- it's a tougher golf course, the majors are going to be setup tougher. It's not going to be a birdiefest, obviously. But so I don't look at it any different I just look at it's going to be tougher golf so par's a good score around here at a major championship. And that's how I approach every golf tournament. I don't change the way I do anything. I still hit driver as much as I can and hopefully chip and get up-and-down and make putts.

Q. Give us one example of a shot that you shaped dramatically one way or the other and one hole maybe that illustrates your ability to do that?

Q. Yeah.
BUBBA WATSON: First hole. It was foggy, couldn't see nothing, I hit driver, aim it about 40 yards to the right, slice driver in between those two bunkers, that one bunker is like 268 but with the fog and into the wind it played about 285. So I hit this slice driver right down the middle. A lot of shots out here on my tee shots are slices. Slice drivers about 30 to 40 yards. So that for me it would be right-to-left.
We got a good crowd today, I like it. We can talk all day if y'all want to. I got a lot of stuff to say.

Q. You were talking about Hartford and sort of emphasizing how you wanted to have fun and go to the water park. Can you point it a time in your five years on TOUR when the game was not fun?
BUBBA WATSON: Every time I lose it's not fun. Last year I got to a low point last year end of the year beginning of this year. My caddie that's not here this week who had just had a baby set me down actually set me down this year, I was doing real well, and then my mental game just went away, went somewhere, I don't know where it went. Luckily I found it back. But I was mad at every shot. I wasn't happy. And he said, he said you need to quit, you need to take a week off, do something, and he said and if you don't, I'm going to quit. And he's a fellow Christian, me and him are great friends, he hangs out at my house, I go to his house, baby sit his kids. Love the guy to death. And when he set there as a good friend of mine and told me that he was going to quit because of my attitude, you got to change it.
Off the golf course as soon as I sign the scorecard, I love to have fun. I don't, I never worry about anything. I never pout, I never get mad. But on the golf course, everything changed. I was a totally different person. It wasn't the Bubba Watson that my wife fell in love with or my friends love. So that's, that was a hard time in my life, I guess.

Q. Caddie's name?

Q. On your bag all the time?
BUBBA WATSON: For the last five years. Until he had the kid. Or well his wife had the kid, I guess. But, yeah, it was supposed to be yesterday was when the kid, but it came weaker Lee, so I scrambled for caddie last week and then we have already planned on having a different caddie this week. So hopefully he's home watching and cheering me on.

Q. It's kind of hard listening to you here ever thinking that you would ever be mad about anything. What was it that made you mad?
BUBBA WATSON: Playing bad golf. For some reason pro athletes think they're really good at a sport. And I have all the confidence in the world but inside the ropes I let everything bother me. There's nothing outside the ropes that bothers me. When I'm driving down the street, but inside the ropes I was letting everything bother me. I was letting fans bother me, I was letting cameras bother me, immediate yeah, letting everything bother me except the golf course of the and that's what was affecting me.
So, but out of the golf course, if I would have shot 82 and signed my scorecard, it wouldn't have bothered me. I would have just, I'm done, I'm outside, I'm going home, I'm going to hang with my wife and hang with my friends. But on the golf course I was just angry and for no reason. And as a Christian man you got to look at that and that was my, that's my big downfall. My big sin in life is that on the golf course I was miserable. And my caddie came to me, my wife was telling me all the time, but my caddie, my good friend, came to me and said, you're miserable, you need to find something else to do or you caddie for a little bit and see how hard it really is when your player's this mad.
And so it's it was a slap in the face. When one of your best friends tells that you you're going at life all wrong, it's obvious that you're doing something wrong. And you know what, I was grateful that he stood up and said that he was going to leave me, he was going to still be friends with me but he was going to leave me because he was miserable, so.

Q. I might have the hole wrong, I think it was 16, looked like you --

Q. Yeah it looked like you wanted to hit something and then you ended up hitting something else, pulled the shot. Sort of take us through that and then how big was the birdie you made there.
BUBBA WATSON: Yeah, I made birdie. You know, I think we had 243 front into the wind. 262 hole. And into the wind. And I wanted to slice driver off the deck. Because I never see playing, I hate playing away from a hole. I hate, my mind won't work that way. I can't do it. It's the hardest thing for me to do is play away from the pin.
So he was like just hit 4-wood over here, if you hit it at the front of the green it can get on the green. I said I don't want to do that. I want to hit driver. He's like, no, this is what you need to hit. And so I pulled out driver and I looked at it and he goes, no, no. And that's all he kept saying is no, no, no. And so, and obviously I wasn't comfortable, I told myself walking into it, this is what we're hitting, but obviously I wasn't comfortable, my swing showed it, because I didn't want to block it. And so, but then we had a good lie over there and it's back into the wind and made birdie. But he was right, but I wanted to hit the heroic shot because in my mind I could see it, just doing it is the hard thing.

Q. Who is caddying for you this week?
BUBBA WATSON: Mark Carens. He normally carries the bag for James Driscoll for the last few years.

Q. He was just somebody you knew and --
BUBBA WATSON: Yeah, he's a good friend of mine. Good friend of, he's best friends with my caddie and we have known him for a few years and it was, we were hoping James would get in this week, but he didn't make it in, so Mark was on my bag.

Q. You were very emotional right after winning in playoff at Hartford.
BUBBA WATSON: You would be too, wouldn't you?

Q. What went into that?
BUBBA WATSON: My dad has cancer. We have been battling that all year. I didn't tell many people. Because it's really nobody's business, you know. I'm not here to get sympathy, I'm here to play golf. So we thought -- my wife on Christmas, day before Christmas, my wife went to the hospital and when I was in Pensacola seeing my dad for Christmas. She had a headache. And she's a professional athlete who had surgery on knees, shoulder, everywhere possible. So when she wants to go to the hospital I know something's wrong. And come to find out she was really dehydrated, we took a redeye flight to come see my dad and she just needed to get hydrated. But the doctor there said that she had a tumor right here in her pituitary gland. So my dad said look, I lived my life, you go home, you go get your wife and straighten her out, see what we got to do. And it's kind of emotional now. Um, two months -- aren't we talking about golf? What are we talking about right now?
Two months went by and we did some more tests and -- man, this is hard. We went to Duke University Hospital and the doctors there said it's not a tumor -- man, I don't like you guys anymore.
(Laughter.) Before I had fun, but now I'm not.
So we had a second opinion, one of the best neurosurgeons and he said it's not a tumor, the cancer, it wasn't cancerous, what we thought in the beginning, he said it was just an enlarged tumor, I mean an enlarged pituitary gland. And so it wasn't anything for a girl six foot or taller, it's normal to have an enlarged pituitary gland. So the first doctor told us the wrong diagnosis, but we didn't know that at the time, so it was scary. Why do I want to go hit a golf ball around? So it was just, that's really where the emotions come from. It's kind of like now.

Q. Let me ask you a frivolous question --
BUBBA WATSON: Hopefully you all don't think I'm a sissy. You know I do hit the ball a long way.

Q. I understand. I'll ask a couple of frivolous questions maybe you'll feel better.
BUBBA WATSON: Okay, good.

Q. What's the story behind the green watch. Is there anything to that?
BUBBA WATSON: I like bright colors. When I graduated college in 2008 my wife let me buy my dream car of a lime green Lamborghini, I kept it for about three months because it was, it wasn't the image I wanted. I didn't -- people thought the wrong things about me. And I bought it because I love that vehicle, not to show off. So I got rid of it. And so I love pink and lime green, as you can tell. My 4-wood has a lime green shaft and my driver has a pink shaft, so it's because I like the color.

Q. Is that unusual that any person would be married to an athlete as your wife was, a pro basketball player, is that right?

Q. Could you talk with us a little bit about what that's like? Does she understand your game, does she talk to you about your game, anything like that?
BUBBA WATSON: No. I do not let her talk about my game. When we're -- she loves to play golf. How we met is I was playing basketball at Georgia in the rec center there, and she was rehabbing, she is a year older, so she was rehabbing from the pros when she got hurt. She loves to play golf. And I love to play basketball, so it was a perfect combination. She, I guess she thought I looked all right. So we started dating and then, but, no, when it comes to -- I don't like talking about my game. Because there's nothing to talk about. I just play golf. When I leave off of this media center here I'm not going to practice. I'm going to go home and go work out a little bit and then hang with my wife. And if Rickie calls me we'll hang out with Rickie too tonight, like normal.
But so, yeah, we don't talk about golf. But, yeah the one thing that's nice about it is she understands what it takes to be good. So she understands when I'm home I play golf. I don't practice, I play 18 holes a day. So she understands that I got to go do that. So sometimes when family comes in town from Canada, she understands that I got to just leave the family time and go practice and so that's the one thing she knows what it take to be a good athlete or a pro athlete and so that's the one quality that she's real good at is she understands what it takes. Some wives might not understand because they never played sports or whatever. But my wife has and so she understands how hard it really is to be good.
KELLY ELBIN: Good round, great story, thank you, Bubba. Oh, sorry, one more.
BUBBA WATSON: As long as I don't cry though.

Q. You seem to be an emotional guy.
BUBBA WATSON: I'm very emotional.

Q. A lot of players and champions will say that to win a major you have to take that out of your game to get through four rounds. With that said would you agree with than do you think you can win here if you had to take eat motion out?
BUBBA WATSON: I never won, so I guess I'm not very, I guess I agree with it. You know, it just -- I know what the media, you got to write stories, but it's just golf. If you make putts you win golf tournaments. Tiger Woods has made a lot of putts in his day. He's won a lot of golf tournaments in his day. Phil Mickelson has made a lot of putts in his day, he's won a lot of golf tournaments. If Tiger wasn't around Phil Mickelson is considered one of the great, if not, you know, if not the best, the second best. But Tiger's around, so he's like number three. That's what it comes down to. It doesn't matter if you got emotions -- if you're making putts your emotions are going to be good. If you're hitting bad your emotions aren't going to be really good. So to win a golf tournament you got to play great golf. And for that one week I played great golf. And in a Major Championship I just hope I don't make as many mistakes as the other guys and I can pull it out and win.

Q. When you look at the leaderboard right now with yourself --
BUBBA WATSON: I never looked at it, but, yeah.

Q. With yourself, Ryan Moore, Jason Day, Michael Sim, these are not names that call to mind greatness. How much for you and for maybe everybody on the TOUR did Graeme McDowell winning at Pebble, Louis winning at St. Andrews, how much does that help you guys think that we can all win out here now and it's not just Tiger and Phil as you mentioned and everybody else?
BUBBA WATSON: That's a great question. They didn't help me at all. I mean, they won. And I played in -- I didn't play in the U.S. Open this year, but I played at -- so he didn't help me at all. He beat me at the British. So he didn't help me at all. And watching him win just means he beat me.
So, it doesn't -- I like how they ask that question, but it doesn't help you, because he won doesn't mean that it's going to make me putt better or play better or stay focused more, it just means that Ping has great equipment and Ping did good. It doesn't mean anything to me, it means he did good, I'm a good friend of his, I know him because of Ping.
And Graeme McDowell, I got to play with him last year at the British, so it was nice seeing him win when your friends with people but it doesn't help me at all when they won, it hurts me, because I didn't win.
KELLY ELBIN: Bubba Watson, thank you very much.
BUBBA WATSON: Thanks, guys.

End of FastScripts

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