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March 8, 2011

Bubba Watson


CHRIS REIMER: We to thank Bubba Watson for joining us here. You got out and played the course this morning with Rickie Fowler, maybe talk about the conditions and playing this golf course.
BUBBA WATSON: Conditions are pretty good. Fairways, greens look good. Rough is higher than I've seen it in the past. I didn't play last year, so there was some new tees, they added some length where I don't see where we are adding length. We are the only sport adding length.
But it was good. I thought the greens were in good shape. I think that putting is going to be a little easier. I think everything is running smoothly and that's really all we are looking for is good greens. It was good.
CHRIS REIMER: You played very well at the Accenture Match Play Championship, the second World Golf Championship of the season. Do you get geared up for playing in a field like this this week?
BUBBA WATSON: I get geared up playing on my home course against people. I'm always geared up. It's golf. I love golf.
You know, this week, it's just another event for me. That's the way I see it. I know it's different. Get a lot more World Ranking points, a little bit more money.
It's just an event. I'm trying to beat everybody. I guess we have right around 69 people in the field so I'm trying to be No. 1 out of 69.

Q. When is the last time you actually took a day off, hitting balls, playing golf?
BUBBA WATSON: Last week. I played Sunday at Match Play and I played Thursday. Well, I guess I hit five balls at the PING factory on Tuesday, that was it, and Thursday was my first round of golf. So four days.

Q. What is it about golf that you just love playing so much?
BUBBA WATSON: Can't perfect it. Never going to be perfected. You can't -- well, you can birdie every hole but nobody has ever done it. It's possible. It's just never been done. It's possible I can win this week; it's just never been done yet. I just haven't won this week but there's all chances.
It's fun. I love it. I love the challenge. I love the challenge of how my body is going to react that day. Am I going it beat you. What if you have your best game that day and I have my worst game. You just never know.

Q. Is the course you're playing, have something to do with it, say Augusta National; does that provide more of a challenge to you?
BUBBA WATSON: Truthfully no. I like the fact that whoever designed the golf course, no matter what golf course it is in the world, whoever designed that golf course, that's what they saw. They saw this in their head and they drew it up that way. They designed it that way.
So I just love going out there and just seeing what somebody else designs, no matter if I design it that way or not, it's still what they consider a good design. That's what they went with at that time.
So I just love seeing new golf courses. I love playing all golf courses no matter how spectacular they say it is or how unspectacular they say it is.

Q. You talked a little at the Match Play how Ted and your wife kind of had that intervention with you last year told you to kind of mellow out, I guess for lack of a better phrase. I wonder if you can talk about the thrust the message and how they communicated, was it emotional and did you really think Ted was going to quit?
BUBBA WATSON: I was hoping he was. He's expensive.
No, you know, it was just one of those things. Me and Ted always sit down at the end of the year -- we don't sit down. We just talk on the phone; how do I get better, how can Bubba Watson get better, how can our team get better. So we started out, I was really -- we started out well. Just down a little bit because results weren't happening.
So where were we at -- we were at U.S. Open qualifier last year after Memorial. So I made my first hole-in-one that day. That was my only positive because I didn't qualify. So I had a hole-in-one that day, my first hole-in-one ever last year.
And then we sat there at a little fast food restaurant or something, and he just looked at me and he said, look, we have to figure this out because I'm not happy, you're not happy; not amongst each other but what's going on. Our team is not doing the right thing, for some reason, you're just angry, and so we just sat down and he told me how it was. I was either going to take it or leave it and I said, no, I want to do better, I want to you help me. And I called my wife and said that we need to figure this out. We need to figure out how to get better.
And then my trainer, he was there. Just same thing. So my four people -- my three people that I'm with the whole time, we call them team Watson but my trainer and caddie and wife, so us four had a powwow, and it was either: I've got to get better or find a new job. So now we have got better. It's working so far.
This year, it proved, because this year I missed the cut at Bob Hope and then won the next week. But at Bob Hope I didn't hit the ball bad. I didn't hit the ball great. I just didn't make the putts or make the cut and play well. It wasn't the golf that was bad. I just didn't make putts. Everything was good this year and so far it's been good. Attitude has been right where it needs to be.

Q. This question I think relates to that. You're an emotional guy and there are probably some questions -- can he control his emotions at the end of a tournament to win. Obviously you've learned to do that. Is this part of the same thing you're talking about, and what have you learned about how to close?
BUBBA WATSON: I haven't learned anything. I've only closed twice. So out of however many tournaments I've ever played in my life.
You know, it's one of those things. I'm an emotional guy because I love the game of golf. I'm passionate about it. When I cry after I win, it's just because I'm so happy that I did something good in my life. So that's why I get emotional.
On the golf course, yeah, I want to play good every week. I want to win every week. Just like Tiger Woods said, I come to win. So when I hit bad shots, I get mad just like everybody. When you write a bad story, you get mad probably -- well, maybe not.

Q. He's used to it.
BUBBA WATSON: Yeah, used to it. (Laughter).
But that's what I'm saying. Will I know, if I get the lead here? If I hit bad swings, I just have to deal with it and keep on, and that's what I'm doing right now. I'm just learning to deal with it. And so far it's working.
But we'll find out the rest of the year, or my career, I guess, if it really works.

Q. Do you do anything different to sort of get ready for Augusta at all as far as how you approach that tournament and that course? And then the second question was, you know Tiger as well as anybody. Rory took a little heat recently for his comments about Tiger and the intimidation factor basically being gone. Do you see that coming back at some point with Tiger where he can maybe not dominate but certainly impose his will on the TOUR again?
BUBBA WATSON: The first one was about Augusta? What tournament are we at right now?
CHRIS REIMER: The Cadillac Championship.
BUBBA WATSON: The Cadillac Championship I'm trying to win right now, and I could care less about Augusta right now. And then next week when I go to Tampa, try to win the Transitions. And then I'm going to try to win Bay Hill.

Q. Long term?
BUBBA WATSON: No. I'm trying to -- one shot at a time. My mind can't work that way. It's hard enough one shot at a time. How am I going to worry about something a month away? (Laughter).
With Mr. Tiger Woods, you know what, he's just in a different place. His life's different right now. Do I think he's going to be back? Yes. Right now he's worried about his kids, making sure they are in the right place in their life. When his mind gets back, yeah, he's going to be better than ever. It could be this week; it could be next week; it could be any time.
And his intimidation factor, yeah, when he's playing good, he's the best in the world. He's the best ever. He's got 80 wins or whatever. Yeah, he's pretty good. We've seen him try a new swing. And two years later he's the greatest golfer again and then everybody's happy. Then he tries a new swing and everybody is down on him and then he's back. It's just a big cycle.
One day I hope that we build him up because golf needs him. I wish the media would start pumping him up and start talking about good he was and how much good he's done for charities and build him up, because we need him. If he's not here, you'll have no stories to write. We need him here.

Q. At L.A. you were not yourself with the oblique strain and you rebounded well at the Match Play, can you talk about how important that was to rebound?
BUBBA WATSON: It was just a strain or a pull or however you want to call it. I went to the emergency room twice, did some X-rays, did some CAT scan, did an ultrasound. Just making sure it was not anything major. My trainer and my wife and my caddie said, pull out. My agent, too, said pull out, but I wanted to play. I thought I could tough it out. But I was just going through the motions because I was worrying about my muscle pull.
So backed out and I just did rest. That's what I needed, rest. Rest, ice, therapy, whatever you can think.
So I was ready to go at the Match Play, I was ready to go and my mind is still right in the right place. So all year so far, I've been in the right place, just got one win, and now a good finish at the Match Play.

Q. Is it completely healed?
BUBBA WATSON: Oh, yeah. Unless I play bad, then it's not healed up.

Q. Obviously you've talked about, you got that short attention span and you like to play --

Q. Quick. How big of a kick do you get out of those shots that you seem to just ad-lib, like the big fade that you hit that got so much pub at Kapalua this year on 18 and drawing those up in the dirt, because most people cannot even visualize what you're doing. It seems like you're making some stuff up on the spot sometimes, and presumably, you practice them. Or do you?
BUBBA WATSON: Well, I don't hit balls on the range. When I'm at home I just play golf, so I get to see those shots on the golf course all the time. Where we grew up, me, Boo and Heath, there's trees everywhere so you had to learn to shape shots around trees.
For me, yeah, I see the shot, a driver off the deck in Kapalua was -- what does a driver do off the deck with low loft? It's going to slice. So I just aimed it for a big slice and tried to hit it, and it worked out.
Before I was doing these interviews in the media center, there was no camera around me so I probably hit a lot of those shots but nobody ever saw them. So now that I'm 15th or 20th in the world, now I get to be on camera a little bit more.

Q. What was the name of that course the three of you all played?
BUBBA WATSON: Tanglewood.

Q. And just which was the more difficult shot to pull off, the driver off the deck in Hawai'i or the 3-iron that you flew 280 at the Match Play?
BUBBA WATSON: Well, the iron, because it was a 3-iron, it looked like a butter knife and I'm trying to hit it 280 over a bunker.
Kapalua was easier because it was a driver is going to slice and I knew it was going to slice. So all I have to do is aim it out far enough and hit it on the downslope. Pretty simple it seemed like.

Q. You've been talking about putting and you do a lot of repetitions; is that something different? Are you putting on the course or are putting on the practice range?
BUBBA WATSON: If we notice through the history of golf, putting is where you win tournaments, so we needed -- my caddie told me, that's what we needed to work on so that's what we are doing. Just been working on 6-footers, right around 6-foot, give or take. Just repetition, straight putts one way, straight putts the other way. So a little uphill, downhill, into the grain, not into the grain. Just practicing those and just trying to get the repetition, because those are the putts you have most, inside ten feet, 6-footers, so we are just trying to practice those so those become easier.

Q. Do you have game, like you have to make 20 of these in a row?
BUBBA WATSON: No. I just putt 50 one way and 50 the other way.

Q. You mentioned Top-20 in the world. Does that mean anything other than, you're here in this event and you got to be in the Match Play? Do you pay attention to that at all, your ranking?
BUBBA WATSON: Yeah, it means one thing. If I'm 15th in the world, there's 14 guys better than me. No matter what flag they have by their name, there are 14 guys that play golf that are better than me. So I have 14 more spots to go. A couple years ago, I had like 120-more spots to go, so I'm going the right direction. Hopefully I say in the right direction. That's all it means to me.

Q. Does No. 1, does that mean anything to you? Do you aspire to get there? Can you do it?
BUBBA WATSON: That means I can retire then because that means I'm the best for at least that day.

Q. Right. Over the last eight months going back to your win, your first win, you can state the case that you've been the most successful American player. It would be you and Kuchar realistically.
BUBBA WATSON: I would say Kuchar, he's a money-making machine, Top-10 machine. And somehow he changed his putting grip, who knows why; to get better obviously. Not me for sure. Not me. I just happened to win twice in less than a year and that was it.

Q. And almost won a major.
BUBBA WATSON: Well, they are all majors.

Q. At Tanglewood, I've been there --
BUBBA WATSON: It's a good place, isn't it.

Q. There's a hole you have to hit over a house?
BUBBA WATSON: That's Boo Weekley's house, No. 6. Well, his parents live there.

Q. That was what you did?
BUBBA WATSON: Well, let's just say I shaped it around it. (Laughter).

Q. I saw some marks.
BUBBA WATSON: I've never hit his house, put it that way. I've never hit his parents' house. I can go on record and say that.

Q. Like the corner of a dog-leg kind of thing?
BUBBA WATSON: Yeah, front of the dogleg.

Q. What's the best shot you ever hit, crazy-shaped shot?
BUBBA WATSON: That 3-footer to win my first tournament ever (laughter). Straight. I actually hit it just straight. First straight one I've ever hit.

Q. Any other memorable one where you really took it around something that meant a lot?
BUBBA WATSON: No, because every shot means the same. So no, not that stands out.
So far I've hit the 3-iron and the driver off the deck have been the best so far this year; or that bunker shot 18 to win my second is tournament ever, and then to make the putt.
CHRIS REIMER: Bubba, we appreciate you joining us and good luck this week, and we won't talk about next week.

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