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March 10, 2012

Bubba Watson


JOHN BUSH:¬† We welcome Bubba Watson, our tournament leader, 17‑under, you got off to a hot start and you held on, a few bogeys on the card but still overall a great day for you.
BUBBA WATSON:¬† Definitely.¬† Got off to a quick start, little eagle and birdie on the second hole.¬† Missed a short one on 3 but had a couple ‑‑ I had a 3‑putt on 4; kind of a 3‑putt on 9, it was on the fringe, so doesn't really count as a 3‑putt.¬† And then I skulled one out of the bunker on 16 making bogey.
But all in all it was a great day.  I knew anything under par would be a good score so somehow I'm here with a lead still.

Q.  Where do you think that shot was going on 16 when it came off the club?
BUBBA WATSON:  A long way.  I didn't know what was back there.  I didn't know water was back there.  I just knew it was going a long way over the green.

Q.  Did you ever figure out what happened to it?  Bounced on the tower?
BUBBA WATSON:¬† Yeah, you could hear it hit the tower.¬† I knew it was down there because I saw them looking down.¬† I was in‑between clubs, I had 103 back into the wind and I was trying to hit a 64‑degree, really, really hard, and I just came up a little bit.¬† So I skulled it just a little bit.

Q.  Can you talk about a young guy like Keegan, only been out here whatever it is, 14 months, but obviously won a major, and he seems to be in the thick of it every week.  Now he's with you tomorrow.  What are the challenges of playing with a guy like that?
BUBBA WATSON:  I'm hoping he beats me by two so I can beat him by one.  You know, the challenge is the Blue Monster.  When you play 17 holes, you can play 17 holes great but then you've got a very great hole, 18, to play, which is ridiculous of a hole.  I mean, it's too long.  It's over water.  Then your second shot has got water with a shaved side.  I mean, it's just kind of a goofy hole.  No matter how good you're playing, the last hole can get you.
Just 18 holes of golf, no matter who you're playing with or who he's playing with.¬† Just going to be golf‑‑ doesn't matter how old he is either.

Q.¬† You had a three‑ or four‑shot lead coming off 8, talk about that stretch, going back to even and then your putt on 12.
BUBBA WATSON:¬† No.9, I hit a good 6‑iron, trying to hit a high cut back into that wind to hold it up.¬† Hit it on the fringe and I thought it was going to be faster.¬† Me and my caddie thought it was going to be a little bit faster with the wind and everything, with the grain.¬† Obviously it wasn't.
And then with the grain going opposite, I thought that it was going to hang on and go dead straight and he thought it was going to be right, and it went right.
And then on 10, I hit a chip again that I thought it was going to land into the grain.  It landed into the grain but it skipped.  It didn't do what it normally does into the grain.  So I made a par on 10.  I think Justin, he birdied 9 and then he birdied 10 out of the bunker.
Then on, what hole was that, 11?  11 I hit in the first cut and had a weird, iffy lie, like didn't know if it was going to come out solid or not and came out dead.  He knocked it in there ten, 12 feet and he made another birdie.  He made three birdies in a row when I didn't play my best golf so he caught me just like that.
Then I went to the par 5, I think I hit a guy right in the chest (laughter).¬† That's what they said.¬† And so then it made it where I couldn't get to the green and then I laid up short.¬† I chipped it in there.¬† That time it hit the grain perfect and checked up instead of release like it did on 10, and then somehow made, that I guess, 15 to thor, 10‑footer.

Q.  A reminder how quick things can change?
BUBBA WATSON:  Well, it's Saturday, so I didn't really think aboutthat.  I was thinking about how unlucky I was. 

Q.  Can you talk about the approach shot on 14?
BUBBA WATSON:¬† 14, I think he said 139 hole, so I had 52‑degree downwind, crosswind.¬† There was a guy in orange shirt I was watching the whole time, trying to aim it 30 feet and left the wind drift it a little bit and it landed just like I wanted it to.¬† And then it spun straight sideways right next to the hole and I could read that one and I made that one.¬† (Laughter).

Q.  Did you know the guy in the orange shirt?
BUBBA WATSON:¬† There was a good about 30 feet in the orange shirt, only person‑‑ everybody else had a white or black shirt on.¬† So I saw him and that's where I started, about 30 feet and turned it over just a touch with the wind and spun right to the hole.

Q.  Was it Rickie?
BUBBA WATSON:  I think it was.  (Laughter) Wait, today's Saturday.

Q.¬† First of all, wondering if you're liking the golf course more after three days and you're 17‑under; are you getting a little more appreciation for it or affection for it?
BUBBA WATSON:  In about 24 hours, I'll tell you.

Q.  Okay.  That's fair.
BUBBA WATSON:¬† Obviously I'm learning how to play it.¬† The golf course is very difficult and the grass is‑‑ what I'm learning throughout my career, my ball impact with my swing speed, it's hard to play out of this rough, especially this kind of rough, because it jumps.¬† So I have to look for jumpers and I have to really play safe on those parts.
For me, as a rookie, as a couple years pro, I was just going at it full‑bore, take one club less and swing at it hard and it would just go too far.
So now I'm trying to figure that out.¬† Like on the first hole, I had‑‑ I think we had 170, maybe 175, somewhere in that area, and I chipped a pitching wedge out of the rough.¬† And it still flew to the front of the green in that rough and kicked sideways to the hole but that's still too much club.
I had 52 and I was like, no, I think it's a wedge.  So I'm learning, I'm learning how to play this grass.  The courses I group on in Florida didn't have quite as good of grass, so I played a lot of dirt shots.  So I wasn't used to it growing up.

Q.  I was just going to follow up on that, as a Florida guy, wondering if there's some advantage, maybe just reading the greens?
BUBBA WATSON:  You get the grain and stuff, reading the greens, and getting used to knowing that you're going to hit great putts sometimes but they are going to bounce sometimes because of the grain in the grass.  I'm used to that part at least.

Q.  You've won out here a few times now.  How much more comfortable are you with the nerves in this position, and obviously going into tomorrow?
BUBBA WATSON:  I'm not at all.  I mean, that's the challenge.  That's the beauty of it.  I play this game because I love it and I love the challenge, and I love trying to get better and better.  If anybody says they are not nervous going into Sunday that's around the lead or close to the lead or has a chance to win, they are just lying to you.  Their psychologist is telling them to lie to themselves.  (Laughter).
So I see it as, no, I'm nervous, I'm going out there and I'm trying to beat this golf course.  I'm trying to beat the Blue Monster.  I'm trying to man up and play a good score and if I can shoot another good score in the 60s and somebody beats me, they beat me.  I go home happy.  I can't be mad about that.  If I play the way I should play and I get beat, I just get beat.

Q.  You've said many times that you've not had a coach or consulted one.  Do you enjoy trying to figure things out on your own, and have you ever even attempted to have somebody, I mean seriously look at your swing, or work with you?
BUBBA WATSON:  I like a challenge.  I like playing and learning it myself.  I'm stubborn.  I like doing it myself.  I love applauding myself.  Why would I want to go say thanks to somebody else?  I want to do it on my own.  I want to play better for me and I want to win because of me and I want to play good because of me; and no, I've never seeked out advice of a coach or anything on my swing.  I just swing funny and somehow it works.

Q.  Do you ever ask your caddie?
BUBBA WATSON:  He's not very good.  That's why he's a caddie.  (Laughter).

Q.¬† Rory was saying he felt the course was maybe challenging 15 years ago and it's now not challenging enough for a tournaments of this nature and hopes the re‑design addresses that.¬† I guess your comments, you wouldn't agree with that.¬† How do you see it?
BUBBA WATSON:  It's very challenging.  Obviously when you're playing good golf, no matter how you're playing, if you're playing good golf, somebody is going to shoot a low score.  Next year it would be really windy but somebody is still going to shoot under par.  That's just how golf.  Is not everybody is going to play great but there's going to be somebody.
I think this year, the greens are a little soft, so you can hit balls out of the rough.  You can do certain things right now.  The course is just soft.  Fairways are not as firm as sometimes.  The greens are not as firm sometimes.  But the greens are rolling so good, everybody is putting really well right now.
But yeah, obviously you can make it tougher and tougher but 18, you can't make 18 any tougher unless you just add another tee on 17 green I guess.  But it's just, you know, there's some holes that are really difficult, some holes are easy.  Right now the wind is playing to our hands on these par 5s, three of the par 5s are somewhat downwind, so everybody is scoring on those.

Q.  Just to follow on what Bob was talking about earlier, is it true, I read somewhere that if you said, if you can beat me, I'll listen to you; but if you can't beat me, why would I listen to you.  Is that still your mentality, you can still go out and shoot the score you shoot; why do you need to listen to someone about how you should swing?
BUBBA WATSON:¬† Yeah, that's how I think but just jokingly.¬† That's how I think, though.¬† There's no reason for me to‑‑ when I get done with my golf career, I want to say that I tried my best.¬† And if that golf career ends, ‑‑ I've got two more years exemption, after two more years from now, if I end my golf career because I can't play golf, then I can say, I tried my hardest, I tried my best and I didn't make it.
I don't want a team of people behind me showing me how to swing on computers.  That's just not me.  That's not my personality.  I'm just trying to do it on my own.  It's more fun to do it on my own.  I like to figure it out on my own.  It's just like a math problem except I probably wouldn't get the math problem right.  But I try to figure it out on my own and try to learn from there.  Been really working on my tee shots and driver, the new G20 I've got is really hitting greater.  So it's working right now.

Q.¬† When was the last time you had somebody work with you swing‑wise?¬† And secondly, when you see all of the hustle and bustle that goes on on the range with everybody and their swing coaches and physio guys and mental coaches, are you amused by it?¬† What's your impression by all that goes on when you're down at the end of the range just beating balls without a team?
BUBBA WATSON:¬† I've never asked for help.¬† The last time I got help was my dad probably about ten years old.¬† He could barely break 100, so he just‑‑ I used him as like a mirror.¬† I looked at him because he was right‑handed so I just used him like a mirror and he told me the basic grip, the basic swing and I learned it from there.
No, it doesn't amuse me.¬† I mean, those guys‑‑ I have a trainer that travels with me everywhere I go.¬† We work out, we worked out this morning pretty hard.¬† Worked out yesterday.
You know, but it's all about personality.  It's all about your mind.  You know some, guys want somebody there.  Some guys want somebody there to cheer them up, to keep them going, to tell them that the swing looks good, to help them.
I just choose not to.  There's other guys that don't have a swing coach that chases them around everywhere they go, some do.  It's just all about preference, and for me it's just not having one.

Q.  What's your dad's name?

Q.¬† I imagine you looked at the leaderboard before you teed off and saw a lot of low numbers.¬† What does that do to your mind‑set?¬† Is that helpful to know that a low one is out there, especially coming off a 62?
BUBBA WATSON:¬† It's definitely helpful.¬† You can see that it can be done.¬† You can see that people are‑‑ the pins are a little bit easier today so you can see where you could score.
So obviously that shows that I need to keep my head down and keep grinding away.  It does help me and shows me that you can do it and you've got to do it or you're going to be back of the pack.

Q.  Any wow shots today for you?
BUBBA WATSON:¬† I think‑‑ today, was there a wow shot?¬† He was very impressed.¬† My best shot of the day was 18.¬† Second shot of the day on 1.¬† I had 146 front.¬† I think I had, I don't even remember what he said, 62 hole maybe, just guessing, and I just choked up and chipped a low bullet 7‑iron, just trying to fly it to the front there and let it just somehow stay on the green.¬† So that was the best shot of the day that I impressed him with.¬† But yeah, I hit a couple yesterday that he was pretty impressed with.

Q.  Tomorrow because there have been some low scores, put to the accelerator?
BUBBA WATSON:¬† Yeah, I've just got to do what I've been doing.¬† Obviously you look at pin locations, so the driver might not come out as much.¬† Like No.2, we have already planned on probably not hitting driver there, unless it's gale force downwind, because the pin is just over the bunker.¬† So there's certain holes where you have to play different just because the pin locations are different, so I'm just not going to hit driver, full‑bore driver everywhere.¬† So that's what I have to do.

Q.¬† You've talked about the sameness, no great targets to shape‑‑
BUBBA WATSON:¬† Like let's just for example‑‑ sorry I cut you off.
What was it, the par3, the par3, 13, I hit a 5‑iron, a cut 5‑iron, and we heard somebody say, "Yes."¬† That was it, and no clapping.¬† And me and Teddy were like, that's perfect, it landed right on top of the flagstick.¬† We thought it was perfect.¬† We get up there, it's short, because you land it short of that green, it doesn't bounce up; land it on the green, it goes over.¬† It's one of those tough situations where you have it land it like two feet short and I thought I stiffed it.¬† I was waiting for a big roar there.¬† But you can't tell.¬† Just everything looks‑‑ you saw the bunkers and then grass.¬† You can't tell if it's rough or fairway or what.

Q.  When you talk about your sight lines, when the wind blows harder or stronger does that help you?
BUBBA WATSON:  To see shapes?  Yeah, it helps me shapes and helps me trust that I know that the ball is going to come back.  Like on, let's see, 12, 12 is a tough tee shot for me because I don't like to draw, the par5.  There's bunkers almost at the tree line and let the wind just drift it.
Today it was not blowing as hard but it still drifted it over.  I just didn't aim it over as much as I normally do.

Q.  It was a lot tougher on the guy you hit.
BUBBA WATSON:  Yeah, probably.  Should have get out of the way.
JOHN BUSH:  Bubba, we appreciate your time.

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