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February 1, 2014

Bubba Watson


THE MODERATOR:  We welcome Bubba Watson to the interview room.  Round 3, a 68.  You're becoming quite the regular in the media center this week.
BUBBA WATSON:  That's good for me.
THE MODERATOR:  That means things are going very well for you.  We always love having you.  That being said, 3‑under 68.  Just a few comments on the round.
BUBBA WATSON:  The round started off really good.  You know, I was playing solid.  I lost focus on No. 10.  You know, I just wasn't focused on my shots, so I hit it short and I plugged it in the bunker on No. 10.
Easy shot.  Perfect lie in the middle of the fairway.  Only 78 yards.  A dumb bogey there, and then the waiting game happened.  You know, we waited on every hole after that and waited for rules officials for some of my drops I had to take.
So, yeah, the back nine just got real slow and sluggish, and I just kind of lost focused a little bit on my tee shots.  After you hit bad tee shots, you have to focus or you're going to look really bad.  Somehow I didn't make a bogey coming down the last eight holes.
THE MODERATOR:  With that, we will take a few questions.
BUBBA WATSON:  Let's just start with this:  We need to be under five hours tomorrow.  I want to watch the Super Bowl.  I want to get ready for the Super Bowl.  Who cares about the golf?  Under five hours tomorrow, boys.  That's not going to happen.

Q.  How do you get your focus back when you lose it like that?  Can you describe the process?
BUBBA WATSON:  Well, you're either going to embarrass yourself on national television or you're going to have to man up.
You know, I made what I thought was a good swing on let's just start with‑‑ oh, man, 14.  14 I was middle the fairway.  I had 105, I think it was, and I had a 64‑degree lob wedge, which I normally hit about a hundred yards.  I flew it downwind, but I flew it 112, you know.
So it was a good swing, good everything, but somehow it flew farther.  Two‑putted.  Par‑5, I hit a pretty good shot.  Just trickled into the desert, laid it up.  Then I had 104, so I took out lob wedge again, 64‑degree lob wedge on 15, and I had 104 to the hole.
So this time I was going to take it a little short, land it about 10, 12 yards short of the pin and skip it back there.  But I flew it again 101 yards, bounced over the green, chipped it up and somehow made a 20‑footer.
Hit a great shot on 16.  Had a nasty, nasty spike mark in front of me, and so, you know, I just missed my putt.
On 17, after I hit the tee shot sitting there, not sure what I wanted to do, what club I wanted to hit, I hit the driver.  Had 44 yards we came up with, and then I hit this easily the best shot of my week from 44 yards upwind to the green, and then to make the putt obviously made it that much better.
So it was rough tee shots, but I thought I was hitting the ball really well, really nicely, the shots into the greens.  But my distances were just ‑‑either pumped up, whatever it was, some would go long.  One came up short on 13.  Spun back.
My distances were a little off.  I got it back in play, and then my distances were just off on some of the shots, so it made it tougher, made it look tougher than it really was.

Q.  As that unfolded, did you feel like you were still in the zone?
BUBBA WATSON:  I don't think I'm in the zone.  If I was in the zone, I'd hit all fairways.  I see it as‑‑ you know, after that, I get hyperfocused because I've got to now come out of trouble.
So, you know, me, it's just bearing down and getting really focused on what I wanted to do.  You know, I hit quality shots, but some numbers were ‑‑they went farther than they were.  I got pumped up.  It was a record crowd today, you know.  I got excited, I guess.

Q.  So what does bearing down feel like to you?  How do you do that?
BUBBA WATSON:  It's terrible, because I'd rather be just hitting in the middle of the green and two‑putting.
No, it's just ‑‑I just have to focus.  I have to bear down and really not worry about what everybody else is doing, not worry about what Teddy is doing, not worry about breathing, not listening to the crowds, not worrying about people shuffling their feet, cameramen in the way, phones going off.
I have to focus on what I'm doing.  That's bearing down.  Just hyperfocused on what shot's at hand and not worry about the rest of the world that's going on.

Q.  Did you shut out that slow play, too?
BUBBA WATSON:  Well, if I could, I'd have a lot more wins than I have (laughter), and if I could putt.
No, I mean, that's the name of the game.  Everybody has to deal with it, everybody has to go through it.  And not just this tournament.  I'm talking about the slow play ‑‑I mean, we have had slow play for 40 years, like I said yesterday.
You just have to learn to deal with it, and I think I've gotten better over the years.  I think my rookie season I was really flipping out, but I've gotten better.
So it's just one of those things.  It's not going to happen overnight.  It just takes time ‑‑by that time I will be on the Champions Tour.  Everybody makes cuts there.

Q.  You talk about having a rough back nine, but you were still two strokes ahead.
BUBBA WATSON:  Yeah, you know, the back nine, it's where you could easily score.  You can easily make some birdies that last stretch there.  From 13 to 18 you can make some birdies if you're hitting the ball halfway decent.
So for me to be a two‑shot lead with all my drama going on, yeah, I was pretty thrilled with it.  The lie on 18 was so bad that we basically said, Let's make bogey, and then we will have a one‑shot lead.  Somehow make a bogey.  I don't care how you do it.  Just make a bogey.  I'd have a one‑shot lead.
Because we weren't sure if it was going to be able to get up the hill.  I just chopped down as hard as I possibly could chop down on it.  Somehow, I still two‑putted from 40 feet.  That was our main goal, making sure we make 5, and then to make a 4 was obviously a lot better.

Q.  On the mental side of that, taking a drop out of a bush or getting the bad lie, how did you get yourself out of that?
BUBBA WATSON:  Well, if you've ever heard about Bubba Watson's career, you know I'm in trouble a lot.  I have gotten practice from many of those locations.  It's remembering back that you've done it before.  You do it with your buddies all the time when you're at home.
It's just knowing that you give it your best, 100%, and if it turns out, it turns out.  I gave every shot 100% today.  And some looked like I didn't give anything 100%, but they worked out in the end.

Q.  This is probably one of your best chances to win in the last couple of years.  Couple of others, as well.
BUBBA WATSON:  Well, I had one last year, but I had a triple coming out.

Q.  How much does your comfort level at this place, just how well the golf course sets up for you sort of play into tomorrow?
BUBBA WATSON:  A lot of the holes set up ‑‑I like to cut the ball, so a lot of holes set up for a cut shot for a lefty off the tee.  So that's what my driver is built to do, to cut, not to draw.  So there is a lot of tee shots that are really good for me.  And then my length helps a little bit.
You know, so that's really it.  The fairways are a little bit generous, and so I'm always in play, except the back nine.  I'm always in play for the most part, and so I can manufacture something.
That's what I did on the back nine today.  Today wasn't about a golf swing or anything.  It was about manufacturing something and getting into the clubhouse.  That's what I did.

Q.  Does that help in the environment that you just talked about, obviously with all the noise and distractions?

Q.  And everything?
BUBBA WATSON:  Yeah, you know, that helps.
You know, for me, I get more focused when I'm in the desert and into the rough instead of in the middle of the fairway, as we saw on No. 10, my bogey on 10 today.
Yeah, for me, I'm used to it.  I'm used to hitting shots that people can't hit.  I'm used to being in trouble.  So I'm just taking it in and staying focused.  And obviously my caddy is in my ear telling me, You've been in worse spots before, and you came out pretty good, so you have to draw on that and you just keep on playing.

Q.  Super Bowl tomorrow.  You'll be playing with a Broncos fan and a Seahawks fan tomorrow.  Are you okay with that?
BUBBA WATSON:  I'm like the media.  I'm going both ways.  Whichever team wins I'm happy with (smiling).
Russell Wilson, the quarterback, we haven't met yet but we have communicated.  So, you know, he's a great guy.  Can't wait to meet him for the first time.  I love what he stands for, love how he plays the game.  People say he can't do something, but he still does it.
Peyton Manning, he's great on and off just like Wilson, but, you know, I'd like to see ‑‑ any one of those guys winning would be great.
But Peyton, I'd love to see ‑‑ I hate to say that, but I'd love to see Peyton win another one.  I think he's played well enough.  He's good enough.  It would be cool to see him win another one.  Maybe he will say that about me winning another major, that would be good, really pull for me.
Either way it's a win/win for me.  I'm not really big on teams.  I'm big on certain players.

Q.  You said earlier that when you really get into making your shots, it's not about the swing.  That was one of the things you ticked off.  It never really is about the swing for you, is it?
BUBBA WATSON:  No, I have never once thought about my swing.  I'd be a head case then.  I'm a head case now.  My whole game is built on me just playing golf, me manufacturing something.
If you watch, sometimes you'll see my slice my driver 50 yards just to get it in play.  Sometimes you'll see me bomb it away and put it in the rough to have an easier shot into the green.  It's all about just scoring.  All I want to do is score.  I don't care how it looks.  There are no pictures on the scorecard.
So that's all I'm trying to do, I'm trying to make a score.  Somehow I walked away with it, 68, 3‑under today with all that drama going on.

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