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May 29, 2014

Bubba Watson


THE MODERATOR:  Bubba Watson, 6‑under 66, Round 1 of the Memorial, thanks for joining us again.  Just a couple of comments on the round.
BUBBA WATSON:  It was a good round.  15, made an eagle.  And then 16, which is a very difficult hole, I guess we'll say, I made a bogey.  And then 17 I gave one back.
16, I don't mind making a bogey there because I don't like that hole.  But 17 was the one I gave back.  Made a good up‑and‑down on 18.
So I saved myself pretty good.  And then I made four birdies the last five holes, which obviously helps keep the round going.

Q.  You talked the other day about embracing the difficulty of the golf course.  But it seemed to play maybe a little bit not easy but a little bit easier, a little bit, a little softer, maybe not as windy, those kind of things.  Did that benefit having the early tee time to take advantage of that?
BUBBA WATSON:  Yes, for sure.  Thursday morning is always a pretty good tee time for scoring.  Today there was really no wind for the whole round.
A little bit of rain yesterday.  Softened it up.  So conditions were favorable for good scores.  It's still a tough golf course.  It's not like they're just handing you birdies, but you still have to play some good golf, hit some quality shots.  But, yes, it's obviously favorable for low scoring this morning.

Q.  Why don't you like 16?  Is it the redesign with the water on it or what?
BUBBA WATSON:  I think it's very difficult.  Obviously there's other players that probably love it.  But for me personally I think it's a very difficult hole.
I think one tee up‑‑ that one tee up about 20 yards up and about 10 yards to the right make that hole one of the best holes we play all year.
As it sits now, I think it's just really difficult for me.  I'm aiming towards that bunker.  I hit it one club too far today.  If I'd hit it in the front bunker, it would have been all right.  But it made it difficult.
It's the first par 3 I'm aiming off the green.  If I can play at 2‑over this week, I'll be pretty happy.

Q.  Jack has had a habit of talking to players and listening to players through the years about what they think of the course.  Have you told him about, like you said, 20 yards up and a little bit to where‑‑ right, you said?
BUBBA WATSON:  Jack's not worried about what Bubba Watson says about his course.  I've been able to play in this tournament nine times.  Every year I've been on TOUR I've been in this field.  I would never miss this tournament no matter how difficult this golf course is.
So obviously the golf course is great.  I love it.  And obviously the field shows that it's a pretty good track around here.

Q.  Other than maturity, could you explain why you're doing so well post‑Masters with competition?  And are you proud of that fact?
BUBBA WATSON:  Well, this is only my second tournament since the Masters.  But made the cut in the first one, I guess that's good.
Again, it's a difficult situation, because I won the Masters.  Nobody expected Bubba Watson to win the Masters in 2012, but at the same time I adopted my child, Caleb, the week before, and so ‑‑ who never had a man's voice.
So for me it's a learning process of how to be a Masters champion, how to deal with the pressures of that, but also the pressures of being a dad for the first time.  The pressures of trying to be a better husband, trying to be a better dad.
So it's a learning process.  It took me a while to learn it.  Doesn't mean I'm going to play good the rest of my life.  But right now I'm handling it and I understand what it takes to be a dad and husband.  That's the main goals.  Those two things come first before golf.

Q.  Could you talk about Jack as a father and anything you've learned observing him?  We accept him as the greatest golfer of all time, but he's a great family guy, too?
BUBBA WATSON:  For sure.  Look at his family, though.  He's got some big kids, some big grandkids that are playing some big‑time sports.
But when you look at all these guys‑‑ again, I didn't get to see Jack when he played, but I got to see Mickelson, the family man he is at Ryder Cups and different things.  And Jim Furyk, like I played with today.  You look at a lot of these guys.  Matt Kuchar, what he does as a family man but still performs at a high level.
So you learn from all those people.  And obviously those are the people that you try to emulate, their records, their careers, pretty top‑notch.

Q.  Are you playing Memphis?  And Teddy and you were talking about short game at Pinehurst and how you're going to be really good there from a putting standpoint and a chipping standpoint.  Are you going in early?  What are your thoughts about Pinehurst?
BUBBA WATSON:  I think I go in on Sunday, the Sunday before, just like normal tournament.
And no Memphis.  But, yeah, just normal.  We go into Augusta way early just because it's Augusta.  Who doesn't want to play Augusta way early?  If they give you a chance to play Augusta, you go play it.
And that's the reason why we go there.  But, no, I'm just going there like normal.  I've never seen the golf course, never been there.  So just going to go there fresh and try to do some work early.

Q.  Back to maturing for just a second.  You dealt with fatherhood and that whole thing.  How about the other distractions?  Have you been better at it you think a little bit this time than the first time you won the Masters, or do you think you did pretty well the first time in that whole adjustment of dealing with media and just pressure?
BUBBA WATSON:  It's not about‑‑ you know, it's how I handled it.  How do you handle it, what do you take from it, what are you going to do with it, I guess you would say.
The first one I kind of held it in.  It was all about me and my family.  This time it was about inspiration.  This time I wanted to do the right thing winning the green jacket and I wanted to inspire.
Went back to my schools University of Georgia went back to elementary and middle school and high school.  Went to my local town of Pensacola, Florida, and went back to Baghdad.
And so it was all about inspiring.  I mean, there's some kids that are less fortunate than me.  My parents worked hard.  My mom got a second job.
So I wanted to go back and inspire and show people that they can make it out of Baghdad.  They can make it out of Milton, make it out of Pensacola and do whatever they want to do.
I'm proof of that.  I went back, graduated from college, which people in my hometown never said I would.  Never said I would go.  And so I graduated from college.  Now two‑time Masters champion.  I've done a lot of great things in my life.
And it was about inspiring this time.  So I just handled it different that way.  I wanted to use it to my advantage of how to help, how can I help do my little bit part in this world.  I tried to inspire my local community.

Q.  You mentioned University of Georgia.  Chris Kirk went 6‑under.  It's been a great year on TOUR for Georgia Bulldogs.  I just wonder what about that training at Georgia leads to success on TOUR for so many players?
BUBBA WATSON:  When you look back at ‑‑ Chris Haack recruits well.  Gets good players.  But as we watched the NCAAs yesterday finish up, a lot of young talent coming out.
But University of Georgia is doing good right now.  Oklahoma State, they have a pretty good record out on the PGA TOUR as well.
It's just one of those things, Georgia just happens to be hot right now.  These guys have been out for a couple years getting better at the game of golf and improving.
But there's a great short game area at University of Georgia, so obviously the short game is what we practice the most at University of Georgia.
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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