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May 1, 2011

Bubba Watson


DOUG MILNE: We'd like to welcome the champion of the 2011 Zurich Classic of New Orleans, Bubba Watson, Champion of the 2011 Farmers Insurance Open. With this win you pick up 500 FedExCup points and move to number 1 in the standings. You've got a little theme going. We'll get some comments from you. But earlier in the week, it's been a popular story that one of the reasons you came here was because of your mom's pushing you on. I guess you want to call mom and tell her thanks?
BUBBA WATSON: Yeah, I want to ask mom where else I should play at because I liked it.
First of all, it was awesome to have my mom here. It's awesome to be here at the Zurich Classic. But for my mom to be there and watch her son win, hopefully, she's happy just like I am.
The first two nobody was there. My wife was there, but no mom or my dad wasn't there. My dad was obviously sick, so he wasn't going to be there. Then he passed on my last win. So for my mom to be there, hopefully, it means a lot to her that she got to sweat and cry and do everything that I did and all my emotions that went through the 18 holes and the two extra holes there.
Yeah, it was fun. It was a good day. I was glad it worked out this way for mom and everything.
DOUG MILNE: With the win, you've obviously moved up in multiple different categories. I won't get into each of them. We also talked earlier in the week about how that has put so much more demands on your time and popularity and so forth. How did you ingest that after San Diego and how do you think that's going to affect you moving forward to next week?
BUBBA WATSON: I was looking at a stat, I guess, last night or somewhere maybe Twitter or somebody said it to me -- if I won today, it would be like three wins in ten months or something, somewhere around there, I guess. I don't know exactly. I can't add that good.
So, for me, I mean, I'm still trying to get over the first win. I'm trying to get over the first one. Somehow I won the first one and somehow now I've got three. A year ago I was a good player who never won, and now I've got three under my belt. So it's crazy.
It's something that I could never dream of. For me to get one was unbelievable. My career was complete. I've done it. Then for me to get another one just adds to my career. It's something I've dreamed about doing.
Each time I win, it gives me a better opportunity to help the charity that's I'm involved in and the charities I want to help, like my two junior tournaments. So it's an honor and blessing for me to somehow keep winning (smiling).
DOUG MILNE: Obviously the Fore!Kids Foundation here is incredibly involved with charitable nature and with your charitable nature, how special is it to have that trophy in your cap?
BUBBA WATSON: It's special to have any of them. But to be here close to my house and some of the work they've done, I haven't missed this since Katrina. They had some floods and I guess back then we could donate money, our winning check or whatever, and I donated my checks back then when we had that fund. That would be five years ago. I'm just guessing.
So I donated my money to the Fore!Kids Foundation, because it was all about the kids. That's what I love supporting is the kids. Me and my wife can't have kids, so it's a big deal to me to help kids out.

Q. Were you getting tired of hitting that tee shot on 18? Can you take us through all three that you hit there?
BUBBA WATSON: Well, I don't like that tee shot at all. There are five tee shots I said earlier in the week that they really get to me, and that's one of them. Those bunkers are in a perfect spot for me when I slice my driver off the water. I missed them every time.
But it was just nerve-racking. I knew in my mind do not pull it. We've got to make sure we slice it and hit it to the left. So I did that both times. The last time I said I don't want to go to the par-3 17, so I'm just going to try to man up and hit one dead straight, and it went dead straight and went in the bunker.
But I've hit that bunker shot before over the year that's we've played here. I knew I could get to the green if I had a decent lie. I hit a 7-iron out of there right to the center of the green, and somehow two-putted for the victory. So those tee shots are scary.

Q. On Thursday you talked about how the course doesn't suit your eye. Is that something you just found a way to grind through for four rounds or did you see something that changed that?
BUBBA WATSON: The way my caddie words it to me is you've won already this year, so just play hard. You tell yourself we've hit all these shots. We've hit all these shots before. Some of them don't have water. Some of them are out in the middle of the driving range, so you've hit all those shots before. You've made all these putts before when you're practicing. So just go out there and do like you're practicing. That's what my caddie kept saying to me all week.
He said, you've won a golf tournament. You have a job the next two years. You're playing great, so let's see what happens. Somehow it came out to a W by my name.

Q. On 9, 10, and 11, it seemed like it was getting away. Some tough shots. How did you keep it together and come back from 3 down to stay in it?
BUBBA WATSON: I hit -- I'll just take you through it. Number 9, I hit 9-iron, got a little gust. So I wasn't trying to go at the pin. I'm trying to go right at the right edge of the green and let the wind drift it back to center if anything. Just shoved it a little bit. The wind drifted it, only missed making it to the green by five feet or so.
Next hole, 10, I meant to hit my driver over there close to the out of bounds. Because that's the best angle to attack, unless you're Webb who knocked it in there to about a foot. So that's where I was trying to hit it to that side. I wasn't even looking at the fairway. I was trying to look at the rough coming in from that angle. It's hard to get to that pin being a left-hander from the middle of the fairway.
On 11, I just hit a tee shot into the wind that got me. I just had to keep my head down and know that I'm still in it. He hasn't run away yet. It's going to be tough for him and tough for everybody. So I just kept grinded and somehow I'm talking to you guys with a trophy.

Q. Was that a big par save on 14?
BUBBA WATSON: They're all big par saves. What's 14? 14, oh, I made a 5-footer on 11. I made about a 5 or 6-footer on 12. Made about a 3 or 4-footer for birdie, and then made a 3-footer, real fast 3-footer on 14, I guess the par-3 there. So, yeah, they were all big, all of them.
We went to a playoff, so obviously one shot is the difference, just like he had that penalty, that one shot. It's a sad way to win, but I won.

Q. Did the second shot on 18 was a 7-iron?
BUBBA WATSON: On the last one, yeah. I had 201 front edge. So I knew it was a perfect 7-iron with the way the wind was. If there was no wind, it wouldn't have been a 7-iron.

Q. So this is maybe obscure. But had you been hitting driver on 10 or did you make that move?
BUBBA WATSON: No, I hit driver every day. Every day with the pin and the way the wind was, I tried to hit it in the fairway. I actually hit the fairway every day. Today I wanted to go in the rough just to have a better angle.

Q. Obviously, it's tough for him what happened to him on 15. Is it distracting for you as well? There is confusion. You're trying to figure out what's going on. It's a tight tournament. What is it like to be playing the other guy in that situation?
BUBBA WATSON: Well, as, I would say, a good friend of mine, it was heartbreaking. A guy that I -- it would be nice if I didn't win, he would have been a nice guy to have win. He would have been an honor to win this golf tournament. It was sad to see it that way.
If it had been the last hole, it probably would have been more heartbreaking. But since it was 15, we both had to go on. Now we're tied so just go on.
But I knew after I realized that I got to keep playing. There are other guys trying to beat us. They don't know what's going on, so they don't care. So I realized if I made that 25-footer now I'm one up instead of being tied.
Yeah, at first it was just heartbreaking to see your friend. And to win a golf tournament that way, it's heartbreaking. But it happened so far back that the golf tournament wasn't won there, it was won in the playoff, I guess.

Q. How has your wife helped you as a golfer? Not with your game.
BUBBA WATSON: She's helped me realize that I've got to grind it out. I've got to practice. I can't be lazy. She, being a professional athlete herself, she had to practice. She had to train. She had to eat properly. She had to do all these things that you don't want to do until you get results.
And telling me to pick my head up and not be a -- I don't know what the right word is - not be a bad person on the golf course, I guess you could say. The nicest words to say. She told me that I'm playing golf for a living. It's a dream come true, and I've got to play differently. I've got to act differently.
If I'm going to support kids and do charity work, that's not a good example to lead on a golf course. So I still have backwards steps, but hopefully I take two forward when I take one back, and so far it's working.

Q. The issue with Webb on 15, has that ever happened to you in your career? Have you been on the other side of a ruling like that?
BUBBA WATSON: Well, I'm not sure. A couple years ago, maybe three years ago at Wachovia, well, now Wells Fargo Championship. I did it one time. But when I did it, I didn't ground my club. I took my putter back, the ball rolled, but I didn't ground my club, so it was no pealty.
If you notice and you go back on 15 when I left it about 8 inches short, I didn't ground my club. And Webb came up to me and said, Man these things are unbelievable how they're trickling out. And I said, You saw how I didn't ground my club. He said, I'm not going to ground my club anymore. Just to be safe.
You don't want that to happen to you. Yeah, it happened to me once, but no penalty. I didn't ground my club. I got over it, and didn't ground my club.

Q. I wondered if you could go back to nine a little bit. I noticed you backed out of your stance?
BUBBA WATSON: Let's go back to I got a trophy right here. Forget about that. I'm like Jack Nicklaus. I don't remember anything bad.

Q. I noticed you had to back out of your stance. Because I think it was de Jonge who made a 44-foot shot out of the sand and the crowd went crazy.
BUBBA WATSON: We had 9-iron. I had 170 yards with water lurking. 9-iron, I don't know how many people want to hit 9-iron from 170 yards. And, obviously, I didn't want to. I backed out twice. Obviously the wind, it kept gusting. When it gusts it doesn't go the same way. It kind of changes.
We saw it change a little bit. And I said you know what, I still think this is the right club if I hit it. It was the right club, but just that little gust got me.
I didn't get down. I knew if I made bogey I'm only two down with nine holes to go. At the beginning of the week if I was two down with nine holes to go, that means I'm in the golf tournament. So somehow I kept fighting and it worked out in my favor.

Q. Early on, how important was it to answer Webb's birdie on 1 with the eagle on 2?
BUBBA WATSON: Well, he eagled 2, too. He made a great shot when he made birdie. Then he hit a great 3-wood or something in there, and I hit 4-iron.
Yeah, it was really good momentum for me. To make the putt first, then he had to make it, yeah, it kept me in it. It kept my emotions going the right way. I'm still in it and don't give up.
Somehow I made the putt on No. 3 to tie. Yeah, so it was big for me. Not really -- who cares what he was doing, but just for me. For my own benefit, it was huge for me to do that.

Q. You have kind of a long walk from 9 green to 10 tee. Your wife was there; did you see her at all?

Q. Yeah.
BUBBA WATSON: No, I don't talk to her during the round.

Q. Then I know 9 didn't go the way you wanted it to.
BUBBA WATSON: Well, it did now. Loved it.

Q. What did you do during that walk, if anything, in your mind to sort of turn things around?
BUBBA WATSON: Just listened to my caddie. My caddie was saying you hit a good shot. You're playing great. You're not out of this. Each day I've had about one swing I wish I could do over, and that swing was perfect. It was just the wind five feet one way, five feet the other way I'm tied for birdie. Then we don't have to go to a playoff.
It was just one of those things where it didn't go my way. Just like when you make a long putt, you don't expect to make a long putt, but you make it. It's just one of those things. I wasn't down. I was thinking I have nine holes to go.

Q. Did the walk let you regroup a little bit?
BUBBA WATSON: No, I didn't need to regroup. I was in it. Just like my caddie was saying, as soon as it went in the water, he said we're good, we're good. I said you don't have to worry about me. You don't have to worry about me, I'm in it. So he was like we're ready then.

Q. What is it about you and insurance sponsors?
BUBBA WATSON: I don't know. It's working right now. We need to try something else. Maybe something that ends in championship. PGA Championship, Wells Fargo Championship, Players Championship. That would be a nice roll to start getting on.
But right now it's working. I don't know why it is. Maybe I need a good deal on insurance, I don't know. Maybe something.
Sweetie, do we have insurance? Do we need insurance? What is it? A better rate, something.

Q. You said you won three. Now that you've won several times now and you've come close to a major --
BUBBA WATSON: Several, that sounds nice.

Q. -- do you think your goals will start to change and point toward the bigger tournaments now? Do you feel like this will start to change?
BUBBA WATSON: The Zurich Classic is pretty big. This is the biggest tournament this week. Until next week, and then that one's going to be big that week.

Q. You're kind of on the verge of becoming a big star in this game. There are going to be more demands on your time.
BUBBA WATSON: I'd rather everybody think I was good looking than a good golfer. You know what I'm saying? Who doesn't want that? You'd want that, wouldn't you?

Q. He'd want both.
BUBBA WATSON: Yeah. The pressure doesn't come from me. My goals are the same. I want to make the Ryder Cup one year. I want to make the Presidents Cup one year. I want to win golf tournaments. That's my goal, winning golf tournaments. Well, keep my card first, and then win golf tournaments and then make the team competitions.
I think this puts me real close to making the Presidents Cup now. So those are my goals. Win a golf tournament. Somehow I won two this year. I didn't make the team event. Now that I've won two, next week we'll try to win three this year.
So my goals don't change. The media's going to say I'm a better player. The media's going to say I'm higher ranked. I should be playing great in this tournament or that tournament. But if I play the way Bubba should play, the way I know I can play, then I know I should be somewhere around at least the cut. That's the way I see it.
So it doesn't change. It doesn't change that now I have another trophy. I'm still trying to win next week, the week after, and the week after that if that makes sense.

Q. How would you grade your ball striking this week from tournaments you've played in your career? Is this one of the best weeks you've had?
BUBBA WATSON: Close. I guess you could say it was. I putted great sometimes. I hit some good shots sometimes. It was close. It's got to be up there pretty high ball striking-wise.
But the thing that I was most proud of was my team around me. My wife, my caddie, and my trainer would say that my attitude's in the right spot. This week I won and not getting down on bad shots. Just staying focused on what I'm supposed to be doing.
This week was great. Just like I told my caddie, I'm still in it when I hit it in the water. I just let it roll off. I had a couple of three-putts this week and whatever. Let's make another birdie to catch up.
It's just one of those things that my attitude is where it needs to be, and that's what's keeping me where I'm at right now.

Q. What is the best thing you've learned from your dad?
BUBBA WATSON: There's a lot of things I've learned from my dad.

Q. Anything stick out?
BUBBA WATSON: The first thing that sticks out when I was growing up, my dad said we don't have any money. So you're going to have to be really smart in school or real good at a sport. And I was too lazy to be good in school, so I'm decent at a sport right now.
So I got me a free education at University of Georgia, Faulkner State Community College and University of Georgia. But now I haven't needed my education right now, I've been playing well to keep my card. So that's the best thing he's taught me. I've got to be good at something.
DOUG MILNE: Bubba, congratulations, win number three.
BUBBA WATSON: Thank you.

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