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September 29, 2010

Bubba Watson


GORDON SIMPSON: Okay, we'll just get started. Bubba, welcome to your first Ryder Cup. You've had a couple of days now to get used to the team room environment. How much have you enjoyed it so far?
BUBBA WATSON: Oh, man, well, thanks for letting me come over here and play.
You know, it's been fun. It's been a thrill. You know, this is different for us to have a team atmosphere, and having the captains, basically like college golf again. You have a coach that tells us what we need to do and what to wear. You know, so it's been fun. The guys are great. Everybody is pumped up about this. Everybody wants to do this. The team atmosphere is unbelievable. And I'll tell you on Monday how much fun we really had.
GORDON SIMPSON: Quite a few people have remarked this week on what you see at the first tee; you don't normally get such a huge grandstand, do you? Have you noticed these things going around the course; how it's different?
BUBBA WATSON: No. I'm trying to avoid the rough, so I haven't really got to see anything else.
You know, it's golf. The grandstands are going to be there, there's going to be a lot of people out there. It's going to be different, obviously, on Friday, when hopefully I'm playing Friday and I show up and people are screaming. It's going to be fun, but yeah, it's going to be nerve-wracking, but no, I haven't really noticed the grandstands and everything like that.

Q. Corey was saying earlier that you guys had Major Dan Rooney in last night, can you just talk about what he said last night and what you took away from it?
BUBBA WATSON: He said that he wanted to play golf in The Ryder Cup and we all said we wanted to fly planes. (Laughter).
We had a common goal there; it was perfect. No, you know, he just talked to us -- again, like my dad was in the military and about the Stars and Stripes and what a big honour that is. We all want to win, but at the same time, we are representing our country. We are representing golf, all of golf, both teams are representing golf and trying to got young people into this game.
So he was just talking about the Stars and Stripes and about how he represents our country and gives us freedom, all of the military gives us freedom and that's what he was talking about. He just talked about how he just -- you know, the Stars and Stripes and what a big honour it is to put that on and how we should be thankful for what we do. But all of us were emotional for what he does that let's us play golf and play in The Ryder Cup.

Q. The U.S. has not won on international soil in 17 years in a Ryder Cup?
BUBBA WATSON: Is Rickie that old? (Laughter).

Q. What do you think are going to be the specific challenges that this team faces on international soil?
BUBBA WATSON: What's that going to take? It's going to take more points than the Europe team and we'll take the Cup back home.
Some days, I'm going to beat you at golf, some days you're going to beat me at golf, that's how it is. The only history I look at, I've got one win and a lot of people have a lot more wins. I just see it as a competition and hopefully by the end of the week, we have won more matches than the other team. I don't look at the history of it, no big deal to me.

Q. I know you don't look at the history as part of that. The last time they won two years ago, Tiger didn't play. Perhaps a lot of people --
BUBBA WATSON: He was hurt, right? Knee surgery.

Q. Yes. Perhaps a lot of people had made something of the fact that he did not play particularly well in Ryder Cups before that, the ones he did play in; do you think there's anything to the team thinking, well, if Tiger is out there, he's worth five points or four points or whatever, and when he didn't come through with that, that you're in the -- is the whole team concept pushed through as much as it was?
BUBBA WATSON: You said a lot of stuff there. (Laughter) Tiger Woods is No. 1 in the world. Who cares? That's one person. We have 11 other guys that have a chance to win points, so no that's not how we look at it. We want Tiger Woods to play the best he can play. We want Bubba Watson to play the best he can play, Rickie Fowler, if that means if you play the best you could that week, and that day, and you lost, you lost. You say, we'll pat him on the back and get him next time.
If we win this Ryder Cup because Tiger Woods makes the last putt or he doesn't, or whatever, you just pat people on the back and say "great job" or in two years we're going to get them. You don't worry about how many points I'm going to make or how many points I'm not going to make. Doesn't matter if it's Tiger Woods, Bubba Watson, Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson, Jeff Overton, doesn't matter who it is.

Q. You run a pretty high rev falling out of bed in the morning --
BUBBA WATSON: I've never fell out of bed.

Q. When you get to the first tee box, which looks like a Minor League baseball stadium out there, what have they told you about getting the job done, how are you going to keep your head from exploding from all of the excitement?
BUBBA WATSON: Nobody has said anything to me so far. Because again -- Zach Johnson has told me one thing, put his arm around me and said, "It's just golf, Bubba." Because that's all it is.
I had a chance to win a major championship a couple weeks ago, a month ago, however long ago, and I lost. That was a lot of pressure. Because who doesn't want to lift a big, heavy trophy like that? So that was a lot of pressure.
So the first tee is going to be a lot easier than the 18th hole, you know what I'm saying. So the first hole, I'm only 1-down after one if I choke or slice a tee shot, you know. 1-down after 18 is going to hurt worse than 1-down after No. 1.

Q. What kind of conversations, if any, have you had with Tiger since he got here?
BUBBA WATSON: "Are you any good at ping-pong?" We've been playing ping-pong a lot; "Are you any good at that?"
And if he says he's good at it, I'm not going to play him, I'm going to play someone else.

Q. Have you had a sit down with Tiger?
BUBBA WATSON: What are we going to sit down and talk about, what are we eating at night? I mean, it's just golf. What kind of questions are you trying to -- like what? I'm asking you.

Q. I'm asking if you spoke about The Ryder Cup?
BUBBA WATSON: I never asked him about The Ryder Cup. It's just golf. It's a big honour and it's just golf. Tiger's game is different than mine. Jim Furyk's is different than mine, Phil Mickelson's -- well, his is pretty close to mine, we both miss fairways a lot of time. Maybe I should talk to Phil.
No, I'm not asking any questions about The Ryder Cup. All I'm asking is what team outfit we are wearing that day. So, no, I haven't sat down and talked to him about The Ryder Cup. But yes I talked to everybody on the team, we rode on the plane together and we are in the team room together, but when we are in the team room we are talking about who is better at playing ping-pong.

Q. Does Tiger say much?
BUBBA WATSON: When he's losing at ping-pong, he says a lot of stuff. Sorry, Tiger, but you do.

Q. Any suggestion of the team room of you being paired with Dustin?
BUBBA WATSON: I have no idea who I'm playing with.

Q. Would that be a possibility as far as you're concerned?
BUBBA WATSON: Well, there's 11 guys that could be a possibility.

Q. You guys might be the longest-hitting Ryder Cup Team in history. How is the course setup allowing you to hit drivers?
BUBBA WATSON: It doesn't. You know, the sad thing is, the golf course is, what I believe, wrong or right, nobody has asked my opinion but I'm going to tell it. Golf courses are going longer, but they are not letting you hit longer tee shots. They are still putting bunkers, rough, something in the way where you have to lay back.
In this golf course, you have to lay back a lot. You can try to bomb it in the ten-yard wide fairway, but for the most part it's just about hitting fairways and we are going to hit mid- to long-irons into the par 3s and the par 4s.

Q. How many drivers do you think you're hitting out there?
BUBBA WATSON: Well my partner is probably going to tell me to hit less. I'd say, I don't know, four to five maybe. It can always vary because of weather, because weather is going to make you hit driver; it's not going to go as far.

Q. How does the course set up for match play? What do you think about it from a match-play point of view? And how much match play have you played?
BUBBA WATSON: As a pro I have not played any match play. As an amateur we played a lot of match play. The golf course, it all comes down to putting and chipping, most golf courses are that way but it will come down to putting and chipping. There's a lot of long irons so if you can putt and chip well on that day that you're playing, whoever you're playing, you're going to stand a great chance of winning that match.
So it's all coming down to putting and chipping because there's going to be a lot of -- there's high rough, so if you miss the fairways you are not going to be able to get to the greens and it's going to rely on wedge shots and making the putt.

Q. When is the last time that the National Anthem was played for you at a golf tournament?
BUBBA WATSON: I don't know, but whenever it was, I cried I bet, probably a lot.

Q. Shocker.
BUBBA WATSON: Yeah, shocker, exactly. I was on the USA team for -- when I was in junior college, I made the USA team to go to South Africa. I was in South Africa and I got to carry the flag out to our ceremonies, and we won by 32 shots. So we got to listen to the National Anthem.

Q. Just given your fondness for team play and all it embodies, is there part of you that will have to calm yourself down to not want to go at it too hard or get too wrapped up in it to get your best golf out?
BUBBA WATSON: No, because I try hard every time I play golf. It's the same thing. You're going to get pumped up, but one thing I've noticed is that when I have to do something, I can usually hold it together and play all right. I could easily, I guess, have thrown the tournament away at the PGA Championship under pressure with like five holes to go, six holes to go, played at 1-under, and I hit a bad shot on the playoff but to get in the playoff, I played solid under pressure, a lot of people cheered. I held it together good.
But you never know, I could come out here with nobody cheering for me and play bad golf, or I could come out and play good golf. So when people cheer, I can play bad or good. I can tell you hopefully on Friday or Sunday afternoon how good I played or how good I handled it.

Q. You say that you cried a lot; did Major Rooney say anything that moved you to tears?
BUBBA WATSON: Well, sure, I cried -- probably cry again if I'm not careful. So -- I love you guys. (Laughter).
No, my dad was a military man. He was in Vietnam. He gave us a special present last night. It meant a lot. My dad is dying of cancer, he has the doctor says three months to live. I'm playing this for him and representing the United States and I more than likely am never going to be in the military unless they ask for our help, so more than likely I am never going to be in the military so this is the chance to be like my dad.

End of FastScripts

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