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May 31, 2014

Bubba Watson


THE MODERATOR:  Bubba Watson, you got to 12‑under today and currently hold the lead going into the final round.
BUBBA WATSON:  I was only 3‑under today.
THE MODERATOR:  Good one.  Talk about your round today, and we'll have some questions.
BUBBA WATSON:  Today was good.  It was a little windier than we were used to.  Picked up all day.  Shooting in the 60s is great around here.  Pretty excited about it.  Have a shot going into tomorrow.  Would like the same score tomorrow and let the boys just beat me if they want to beat me.
So tomorrow come out here and stay relaxed and keep doing what I've been doing the first couple of days.

Q.  Just want to get this straight.  If you shoot 69 tomorrow, you'll be happy no matter what happens?
BUBBA WATSON:  Oh, yeah.  For sure.  Shooting in the 60s around here, hopefully I can come in top 18 so it will beat my previous record here.
Again, if you're shooting 60s around here‑‑ obviously there's some guys shooting low numbers early in the morning, but shooting in the 60s, if I shoot in the '60s and somebody beats me, then obviously they just played better than me that day.  I think in the 60s is a good round of golf.
I don't know if you've ever shoot in the 60s, but it's a good round of golf.

Q.  Nine holes.
BUBBA WATSON:  Exactly.  And you're excited about it.

Q.  Just to that point, you spoke earlier in the week about the difficulty of the course, just what a challenge it is.  And especially 16, for example, how it sets up very difficult for a left‑handed player.  Would this mean a little bit more if you finish it off tomorrow because of the difficulty and because of the challenge that it presents to all the players?
BUBBA WATSON:  No.  The challenge doesn't mean anything to me.  It's just winning would mean a big deal to me.  I don't care if the golf course is what we call easy or difficult; I just want to win.
So Sunday afternoon everybody gets a little tighter.  Golf course just seems that it just gets a little tougher.  So coming down the stretch there's going to be a battle tomorrow.  And hopefully ‑‑ no matter, again, if it's a birdie fest or all pars and bogeys, a win is a win.

Q.  Joking about the top 18, but why are you‑‑ what haven't you done here in the past that you're doing a lot better this week?  Is there something specific?
BUBBA WATSON:  It's all about maturity.  Thinking around the golf course a lot better.  It's my ninth year on TOUR, so better thinking on the golf course is creating better shots.
Hitting a lot more greens.  Hitting a lot more fairways.  Trusting a lot of things.  Putting a little better this year.  When you add all that up, it turns out into better scores.

Q.  When you won in 2012 at Augusta, I'm wondering if you even cared what happened the rest of the year with such a big win.  And is that any different this year of wanting to win more?
BUBBA WATSON:  In '12, yes, I cared very much.  I had a chance to win at Travelers, my third tournament back in 2012.

Q.  Easier to accept, I guess, is what I'm saying.
BUBBA WATSON:  I think when you first win, you think you're a hero.  You think‑‑ you put more pressure on yourself to be great, I guess you'd say.  Now I realize I'm not very good, I'm not very great.  So there's less pressure.  I'm not anxious going to the next tournament and trying to be No. 1 in the world, not trying to be the next great champion.  I'm just trying to play golf.
The joke is it's Bubba golf.  I'm having fun out here, and that's where I need to be.
When it comes down to it, a bad score tomorrow with Little Man sitting here means absolutely nothing.  It means something to me personally, but to my family it won't mean anything.  So that's the way I'm looking at it.  Back then I didn't look at it the right way.  I looked at it all about me and not about what golf really means in life, if that makes sense.  Just trying to answer that is so weird for you.

Q.  Having fun up there, aren't you?
BUBBA WATSON:  Yeah, I am.  I'm shooting in the 60s right now.

Q.  On the third shot on 18, it looked like your ball moved.  What was your vantage point, perspective?
BUBBA WATSON:  My vantage point was pretty good.  But it was‑‑

Q.  What were you thinking, I guess, is the question.
BUBBA WATSON:  It was my fourth shot.  No, it was funny, the camera angle when we came in ‑‑ obviously my whole group was there.  Casey was right there beside my ball as well.
My club, the scoring guy said that my club touched the ball and I said, No, it didn't.  It didn't even come close.  The camera angle looks like that.  Casey verified it.  But the rules officials in the truck verified it as well.  It just looked that way.
But I think the PGA TOUR was just making sure before media runs with stories or people just ‑‑ because it's been happening a lot lately.  So they are just trying to be safe.
But, no, there was no issue.  They even said there was no issue.  It just looked that way, but it really didn't.

Q.  I have a follow.  There's been so much drama on this TOUR with people ending relationships, being interviewed by FBI agents‑‑
BUBBA WATSON:  Ball rolling where it didn't.

Q.  And you're like way‑‑ you're not part of this drama for a change.  What is that like for you to be on the outside of all this drama looking in?
BUBBA WATSON:  It's obviously good.  I'm not part of these stories.  Well, the ball rolling, I guess.  But, again, it's just life can bog you down.
We all make mistakes.  We all have our own issues.  Even though they might not be in the world to see, we all have our issues.  Right now my issues aren't out public, so I'm doing all right.

Q.  Couple questions about your round.  On 11, for a guy who has been annihilating the par 5s this week, how irritating is it to walk away with 6?  First question.  And, secondly, after a couple of really good chances on 13 and 14, wonder if you could talk about just the importance of knocking in that 12‑footer on 15.
BUBBA WATSON:  Well, you know, it's golf, first of all, so you know the par 5 birdie barrage is going to end sometime, and so we should end it with a par instead of a bogey.  But the shot I missed ‑‑ I missed my target by about 10 yards.
Me and Teddy still thought I got over the water on the tee shot.  Found out I didn't.  So then we laid up.  Hit a wedge in there.  Just missed the putt.
But you can't‑‑ the way I'm looking at it, you can't worry about the one hole.  There's 72 holes that play great and you're going to have some bad ones and hopefully you have more good ones.  I look at it as made a mistake; try not to make that same mistake next time.
Same thing, I hit a great putt, I thought, on 13.  Again on 14 I hit a good shot in there.
And as soon as it came off the putter, it went to the right.  If it's me or if it's the bounce or whatever it is, it went to the right.
And so, again, I tried to do everything I could, just didn't go in.
And so here I am talking to you after a couple of misses and one bad swing.

Q.  Are you irritated with your game?
BUBBA WATSON:  No.  Again, I've never had the lead going into the last day, so I'm excited.

Q.  T‑23, by the way, is your bestfinish.
BUBBA WATSON:  There you go.  See?  I was trying to boost my confidence.  Now I have a better shot of beating it tomorrow.

Q.  Bubba, throughout this week, when you've come in here, you've said from time to time how 16, 17 and 18 aren't really your favorite holes and how they don't all fit your eye and they're tough for you.  Today you were par, par, bogey and yesterday I think you played them okay.  How do you get past that‑‑
BUBBA WATSON:  Played them 2‑over yesterday.  So I beat it today.  1‑up.

Q.  It's not a mental block, but how do you get past your feelings for those holes when you have to play them coming in, and if the tournament's on the line tomorrow coming down those last three holes, what's your mindset going to be when you come to those three holes?
BUBBA WATSON:  The same as they were today, try to make a good swing.  Today we chose the wrong club.  I pulled it a little bit on 18, so it cost me a bogey.
We tried to baby a club, and we should have went with a full club.  Come up short.  It's better to come up short on that hole than it is long on 18.
So, again, it's just trying to make the good swings.  I've made good swings before.  Coming down the stretch tomorrow hopefully I make a lot more birdies than everybody else so I have a few shots to play with.
But coming down 18, if it means I have to birdie or make a good swing, hopefully it happens on that moment.

Q.  T‑23 is your best finish here, as Doug just pointed out.  Can you attribute any of that to the fact a little bit different weather conditions this year; that we've never had a week that's this dry?  Is there anything to that?
BUBBA WATSON:  No, I think if you look at my stats overall throughout this year, it's been better.  My play has been better this year.  Played less tournaments, but my points and money have went up.
And so I just think I'm thinking better around the golf course.  Obviously, you know, mud balls, I hit the ball pretty high off the tee, so mud balls are a factor sometimes.  But everybody gets those, so I can't really just say weather.  I can just say I'm a lot more awesome this year (chuckling) .

Q.  Couple things real quick.  After your drop on the par 5, you had 252 in.  Did you even think about trying to go for that hole?
BUBBA WATSON:  Yeah, I thought about it.  We came up with 248 with the hill and adjustments.  And it was a perfect 3‑iron, a little cut 3‑iron, but at the same time there's still water down there.  It's a good wedge pin.  I've been hitting my wedges pretty decent this week.
So it just played in our hands to try to wedge it in there and make the putt.  I wedged it in there; just didn't make the putt.

Q.  Second thing, did you see the issue on 18 on a monitor at all?
BUBBA WATSON:  When we got to the scoring tent, they were looking at it.  When I walked in, all of us walked in, four of us walked in, and we were like, Are you serious?  There's really an issue now?  Like, What's going on?  And that was it.  They were talking about it over the radio when I got in there.  They said right away:  No problem.  No issue.  So it was squashed within five seconds as we got in there.

Q.  You believe your club didn't touch the ball?
BUBBA WATSON:  Yeah, I was the closest one to it.  Yeah.  I would tell you if it did.  I'd be the first one to‑‑ I mean, it didn't.

Q.  Heading into tomorrow with the lead, is there anything different you do tonight and tomorrow morning just as, say, opposed to last night and this morning?
BUBBA WATSON:  No.  Yeah, the basketball game is a little different.  It was the Heat last night and tonight is Oklahoma.  No, I do everything the same.
We have dinner in just a second and put Little Man to bed.  I read to Little Man before he goes to bed, then come out, try to get the body ready and get ready for golf.

Q.  When did you learn to read?
BUBBA WATSON:  He's teaching me.
BUBBA WATSON:  He's teaching me.

Q.  The benefit of playing fewer tournaments.  Nicklaus, Woods played fewer, Adam Scott's game got better playing fewer.  What effect has it been for you, and was it a conscious decision to scale back?
BUBBA WATSON:  Yeah, I would love to be ‑‑ my ultimate goal would be 20 a year.  But when you look at it, especially if ‑‑ my mind is crazy anyway, and so the more rest I get at home, the more time with family, the more time just enjoying friends at the house, I'll get to a tournament like this that's very stressful, I'm excited about it.  I'm excited to be here.
I didn't practice much over the weekend.  Looking forward to coming here and practicing.  So I had two weeks off before this one.  When I'm here, I'm full of energy and ready to go.  These tough situations, my emotions are not going up and down as much as they normally do on a long stretch of golf.
So I'm really looking forward to the playoffs this year, four in a row.

Q.  When do you go to Pinehurst?  Are you one that likes to go early, or do you wait until the week?
BUBBA WATSON:  I wait until the week.  Augusta is a different story.  Who doesn't want to play Augusta when they let you go there?  So I go in early there.
I'll be there ‑‑ I think I get in Sunday night, and then I'll just play.  Might try to sneak in nine Sunday afternoon and then start on Monday.

Q.  Were you there in '05?
BUBBA WATSON:  Nope.  I've never been there.  First time.  I'll just wing it.  I heard it was nice.

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