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February 2, 2011

Bubba Watson


DOUG MILNE: Bubba Watson, thanks for joining us FOR a few minutes here at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Obviously coming off a pretty big week for you; first quite the dramatic win at the Travelers Championship last year and then the equally if not more so last week in San Diego. I know a lot has been going on this week for you. I'm sure you're being pulled in a hundred million different directions. Maybe a couple of comments. I think you're making your fifth start here at the Waste Management Phoenix Open with a top 10 in your first start in 2007, I believe. Just some thoughts on the week, how you've kind of rebounded, reality has kicked in and how you're focusing on this week.
BUBBA WATSON: Well, after I won San Diego, packed up the car at drove straight here, so five hours to my house here, five and a half hours. I never come to the golf course until Wednesday out here every year because we have a house here. Took Monday, went to the Ping factory, hung out there, looked at some new stuff, changed my putter grip.
And then yesterday me and my caddie played with the boys at my home court at Estancia right up the street here at Pinnacle Peak, and then got out here this morning with a frost delay.
So just doing the same thing I've always done, don't change it up, but I'll usually take Monday and Tuesday just for myself when I come to this tournament just to hang out and hang with my wife, and Rickie Fowler is staying at my house, so we goofed around with him a little bit, so just treating it like every day. I missed the cut at Bob Hope and then won the next week. Life goes on, you know.
But yeah, it's been a lot of calls, a lot of fun stuff, a lot of opportunities out there. But just trying to take it easy and be the same old Bubba from Bagdad.

Q. One of the thing that was a hot topic last week was the whole validation factor. You got your first win in Hartford. Last week you beat a field that included Tiger and Phil and a handful of other players.
BUBBA WATSON: They were in the field?

Q. How does that second win register with you as far as a validation factor of being a regular winner out here?
BUBBA WATSON: The truth is I don't see my life or my career based on how many wins I get. You know, the media puts that role on you. I do it for a living. I love the game of golf. I'm playing golf all the time. I hate taking a day off.
Monday you'd think I'd take a day off. I was hitting balls at the factory. I was goofing around with the boys, putted a lot, put a new grip on my putter. I love the game of golf, so for me to win my second time, first time or never, it wasn't going to make me a better person or a worse person.
It's fun to win. My trophy case has two in there now, two big ones in there now. So yeah, it's going to be great. It fills it up. I've got one more than my wife now with all her club championship trophies.
So no, it's great. It's great to win, it's great to win again. That's my goal every week is to win. Now hopefully win this week and win next week and win the week after, just keep winning, but that's not going to make me a better person or a worse person if I don't win.

Q. You seemed much more calm last week than you did at Travelers. Can you think back in terms -- kind of compare the two, when you're in the moment coming down the stretch for the first win and now one that you probably felt you deserved?
BUBBA WATSON: Well, after winning Travelers I had a two-year exemption on TOUR, so if I shot 90 on Sunday I still had one more year to go on that exemption.
No, you know, it was just -- over time you get used to a situation. You get nervous at certain points in your life and then you get used to it the more and more chances you had. I was nervous all day. I knew I had a shot at winning. It was going to be tough conditions. I knew if I could make some birdies early I had a chance.
I was swinging good. Even though I was nervous I was swinging good, making some putts, hitting a lot of quality shots, and so it just -- you know, over time my caddie kept yelling in my ear, you've done this many times; it's just you and me out here; you beat me all the time so just keep beating me, just keep doing what you're doing.
And it worked out. It just worked out in my favor. There's other times it hasn't worked out worked out in my favor. And it worked out at Travelers and now the Farmers Insurance, so hopefully it'll work out a few more times this year.

Q. With the exception of last season, the previous five or ten years have kind of been Phil and Tiger's TOUR out there and then last year they really weren't that much of a factor --
BUBBA WATSON: And Vijay for a while there.

Q. Phil was asked earlier if he thinks there's a transition going on in golf right now or if there's a new era kind of ushering in. What do you think about that?
BUBBA WATSON: I'm hoping it's all going my way. At the moment I'm the one that's taking over. (Laughter.)
No, I think that golf, the younger -- just like every sport, if you look at every sport out there, the younger crowd is coming up. We've figured out how to prepare better for the game of golf, we've figured out how to prepare better for football, basketball, baseball. I mean, there's younger everywhere. Tennis is a good example.
But some of these young guys, they don't have any fear. Rickie jumped motorcycles. Come on, he's got no fear. You've got Rory McIlroy who has no fear. He goes full bore the whole time and hopefully something falls his way. That's what's happening right now. I think a lot of this younger crowd is just no fear. They've seen these guys take over the TOUR, they've seen Arnold and Jack back in the day, Gary Player, Lee Trevino, Greg Norman, seen all those guys take over and it's just a new breed coming in. Every few years there's group of guys coming in, and hopefully I'm part of that group.
But in a few more years, whoever is No. 1, if Lee Westwood is still No. 1 or if Rickie Fowler becomes No. 1, there's going to be a new group after him. That's just how history works itself out; it just keeps going. Now, we might not see the records, but we'll see a group of guys take over.

Q. So are Phil and Tiger done at the top?
BUBBA WATSON: No. They're still good. I don't know if you've noticed. (Laughter.)
Phil almost holed that shot on me. He probably missed a couple putts. He could have easily won, I could have easily lost. Phil is still good. And Tiger will be back. We've seen him go through swing changes. He's still won 80 times or whatever. He's still good.

Q. Phil mentioned using --
BUBBA WATSON: Or great, whatever.

Q. Phil mentioned in the cold using a lower compression ball. How do you deal with the cold, and is that something that you would do, also, switch your ball?
BUBBA WATSON: I won with that ball last week. I don't care if it's cold or hot. I'm playing with that ball again. (Laughter.)
I won with those clubs. My putter grip didn't feel like I wanted it to, so I changed my putter grip. But I'm playing with -- cold or hot, I'm going to play with whatever I like. It's worked so far. I've kept my card for the last five years, six years, so obviously those products are working, so I'm not going to change because of cold weather, hot weather, whatever. I might change my shirt and my sweater but that's about it.

Q. In Europe they really appreciated you during the Ryder Cup, which was cold and wet. When are we going to get to see you over there this year, overseas?
BUBBA WATSON: I think there's a tournament called the British Open or the Open, whatever they're calling it now, the Open, British Open.

Q. The Open, yeah.
BUBBA WATSON: I'll be there for that, guaranteed.

Q. Will you come in and play one of the events beforehand?
BUBBA WATSON: That's up in the air. I'm still checking out my schedule. Thought about it last year when I sat down with my managers. We sat down with them. So it's still up in the air. Just I don't know.
If there's an opportunity -- the problem is I'm scared to go overseas because I don't like to eat much. There's certain things I will eat and won't eat, so for me I have to pack a big sack lunch before I go over there.

Q. You know we're playing in Sandwich this year, the Open is at Sandwich?
BUBBA WATSON: Is that where it is? I'm worried about the Phoenix Open right now, Waste Management. One shot at a time. But yeah, I knew it was there, yes.

Q. Is there a particular type of game out here that will favor these conditions do you think, the cold weather?
BUBBA WATSON: At this tournament here?

Q. Yeah.
BUBBA WATSON: At the Waste Management?

Q. Yes.
BUBBA WATSON: A good player. I mean, it doesn't -- cold weather is just going to be if you can keep yourself warm, keep yourself not worried about the temperatures. I mean, that's it. That's all you have to do. It doesn't really matter what game you've got. If I'm hitting my driver well, J.B. Holmes in the past has hit his driver well here and putted good. Long hitters, short hitters, they can all win here, but I think the cold weather is about you personally. It's not about your golf game, it's just more about you staying warm and just being focused and not worrying about how miserable and cold you are at the point.

Q. You're well-known for play --
BUBBA WATSON: For good looks?

Q. And good looks, as well, yes. For playing to keep yourself sharp. How much do you practice, hit balls? My sense is that you mostly play all the time to stay sharp.
BUBBA WATSON: I hit balls to loosen up because my trainer tells me to, to loosen up. But I just go and play. I love playing golf. When you're sitting on the range, everybody has a good lie, everybody hits the same target. You just keep doing the same boring routine over and over. But on the golf course I might slice a drive in the desert over here and then I have to hit a good shot or a good recovery, might hit in the bunker, might hit it down the middle, so it's always different. And for me that's fun. You're hitting shots when you have to hit them. When you're sitting on the range, everybody has great lies. It's easy. There's a lot of great range players.
DOUG MILNE: Bubba, congratulations on last week, and keep it up this week.

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