Featured Golf News
Bubba Discusses Masters Victory
Wearing his brand-new green jacket, Bubba Watson met with reporters following his electrifying win in the 76th Masters, the first major title of his career. Here's what the folksy, long-hitting lefty from Bagdad, Fla., had to say to the media right after he edged Louis Oosthuizen on the second sudden-death playoff hole on Sunday at Augusta National.
MODERATOR: Ladies and gentlemen, my distinct pleasure and honor to introduce to you, 2012 Masters Champion, Bubba Watson.
BUBBA WATSON: No, no, hold your applause. (Clapping).
MODERATOR: Bubba, how does it feel?
BUBBA WATSON: It feels it's just - I've never had a dream go this far, like I've been saying, so I can't really say it's a dream come true. It's just I don't even know what happened on the back nine. I know I made bogey on 12 and then I birdied four holes in a row. Nervous on every shot, every putt. Went into a playoff. I got in these trees and hit a crazy shot that I saw in my head and somehow I'm here talking to you with a green jacket on.
Q. On Tuesday, Bubba, underneath the tree, you were asked what it would mean to you to win. And you referenced Caleb and you couldn't finish your answer. What does it mean to you?
BUBBA WATSON: I still can't finish my answer. It's just - mmm. Man. I don't know. You know, it's just we knew that we had to adopt back when we first started dating, the first date me and Angie ever had, she told me she was going to have to adopt, she couldn't have kids and I said, "That's fine. I said if God tells us he wants us to adopt, we'll adopt." Four years, four years ago we started the process. This winter we really got serious on it, because all my dad's the history of my family. All of the stuff going on, it finally came to this winter, we could do it. And got turned down a couple times. This one, Tuesday of Bay Hill, we got a call; Wednesday of Bay Hill, we made the decision. And Monday after Bay Hill - I almost pulled out of Bay Hill, talked to my wife about pulling out of Bay Hill. But I didn't; I finished fourth, and then Monday morning, we were down in South Florida, picking up little Caleb. I can't wait to get back.
Q. I'm sure thinking about your father, what do you think he would say right now?
BUBBA WATSON: He'd say, "You still need to practice. You missed that fairway. You were under the trees a couple of times. You missed the first putt." No, he would be excited, just like my mom was excited. We didn't have any words, we just cried in each other's arms. The thing is, golf is not my everything. I'm not going to go home - if I would have lost today, I'm not going to go home and pout. I'm going to think about the great times I had, the chance I had to win; I won, I get to go home and think about that. But tomorrow, there's going to be a new tournament and y'all are going to write about other people. Y'all are going to forget about me tomorrow, you know what I'm saying. I'm going to have to keep living my life and do everything. But for me to come out here and win, it's awesome for a week and then get back to real life. I haven't changed a diaper yet, so probably going to have to change a diaper pretty soon.
MODERATOR: Bubba, these guys aren't going to forget about you tomorrow.
Q. The first playoff hole, the second, you missed the putt to potentially win and hitting your tee shot into the woods. Walking down the fairway at 10, how are you steadying yourself for that shot?
BUBBA WATSON: The first time I ever worked with my caddie, Boston, six years ago, I told him, I said, "If I have a swing, I've got a shot." So I'm used to the woods. I'm used to the rough. And we were walking down here and I said, "We were here already. We hit it close here already today," because I was in those trees. I got there. I saw it was a perfect draw; a perfect hook. We were walking down the fairway going, we've been here before. You're good out of the trees. And he said, "If you've got a swing, you've got a shot." I get down there, saw it was a perfect draw. Even though the tower was in my way, I didn't want to ask if I get relief or anything, because it just set up for a perfect draw - well, hook. That's what we did. We just kept talking about, you never know what's going to happen out here. Anything can happen. You know, so that's what we did walking down the fairway.
Q. Out on the putting green when the Chairman was talking -
BUBBA WATSON: I blacked out.
Q. When Charl was talking, who or what was going through your head?
BUBBA WATSON: What time is my plane taking off to get home? And truthfully there was a helicopter flying in the distance, and Charl, he's a pilot, and he's a helicopter pilot, he's got both licenses. I wanted to nudge him and go, "You know what kind of helicopter that is?" That realistically is what I was thinking about. (Laughter).
Q. How much energy did you get from the crowd so behind you?
BUBBA WATSON: I got a lot. You know, for me, I've said this before, been working on it a lot, keeping my head down. Breathing, trying to keep calm. Because I get so amped up. I get so excited. Not a nervous energy. I just get so amped up, and I'm just trying to calm down. So I'm trying to keep my head down in between holes, trying to keep my head down when everyone is screaming, "Go Dogs," and yelling and, "Go, Bubba." Just trying to calm down as much as I can instead of getting amped up. I know they are behind me, and I know people are cheering for me and going for me to make birdies and keep going, but it's just, I have to do it differently because I get so excited. So like a little kid, basically, get pumped up.
Q. What is it about the Masters and Augusta National that produces incredible finishes and incredible days like this?
BUBBA WATSON: Well, the golf course. The golf course is a tough golf course, but it's also fair. I mean, if you're playing good golf, you're hitting good, quality shots, the ball can roll your way and get close to holes. Obviously we see the hole in ones; we saw a double eagle; we saw eagles on the back nine. You know, that's where the golf course is in such good shape, it's a good golf course, a fair golf course, but a tough golf course. So I think the golf course really just lays it out there for excitement.
Q. The club and the distance on the hook?
BUBBA WATSON: We had 135 front, is the only number I was looking at. I think we had like 164 hole, give or take, in that area, maybe a little less. And I hit 52 degree, my gap wedge, hooked it about 40 yards, hit about 15 feet off the ground until it got under the tree and then started rising. Pretty easy. (Laughter).
Q. I think anybody who goes through the adoption process knows how difficult it can be. Is there one moment that was the most frustrating during the whole thing?
BUBBA WATSON: Yes. Monday night at Bay Hill, we got turned down, or Monday of Bay Hill, we got turned down. And then we made a call to an organization Chicks in Crisis in California, on Tuesday morning and on Tuesday night. She said, "We have one for you if y'all are willing to accept." Monday at Bay Hill we got turned down, which was heartbreaking, watching my wife, and then Tuesday, we got the great news (tearing up).
Q. You said that golf is not your everything; maybe three, four years ago, how frustrating could a bad round be for you and how much has the maturity, the maturation process, seems like this was the culmination of it?
BUBBA WATSON: A few years ago, I was living the wrong way. You know, I was -every golf shot was controlling how mad I got, how I was on the golf course. But off the golf course, outside the ropes, as soon as I signed my scorecard, I didn't care if I shot 90 or 60, I was the fun, goofing around little kid, joking around with everybody. But on the golf course, I was just going the wrong way, because I thought that I was good enough to be where I am today. And so I was going the wrong way. I was so wrapped up in what everybody else was doing; why is he beating me; why is this; why is that; why can't I make putts; why can't I make the cut; why can't I do this.
And so with my wife sitting me down and talking to me, and my caddie sitting me down, my close friends that were here today watching, they told me that I was going the wrong way; If I'm going to live my life as a Christian, in 2004 when I gave myself to the Lord, you can't live your life that way. And so I had to change. And my caddie said that he was going to walk away from me, even though he knew I was a good player, he knew that he could make some money off of me. He said he was going to walk away because he didn't want to see a good friend we are good friends, and he didn't want to see a good friend go through that struggle. It hit home. It's a slow process. Been working hard. And this year, it's gotten better. Last year was a little better and this year is better, and hopefully the years to come it gets better and better.
Q. You talked about it being a special day, not just because of winning the Masters, but because it's Easter?
BUBBA WATSON: Yeah, this is the day Jesus is risen. Good Friday was when He was crucified on the cross, and today is Easter where we celebrate He's risen. For us, that's salvation to go to Heaven. He took all of our sins from us. So for me, it's just a dream come true. My dad is not here. I hope he's watching in heaven. My grandma never got to watch me play professional golf. She used to make all my knickers for me. So when I think about the day, those are the most important things to me. A guy, Billy Weir, that introduced me to PING; all of these people that influenced me throughout my life, that's what I'm thinking about, not really me winning a golf tournament. I'm thinking about all of these people that influenced me in the right direction to get to where I am today as a person.
Q. At the same time, it has to be just a great accomplishment, one of the great goals, even though you said you never dreamed about the Masters.
BUBBA WATSON: I dreamed about it. I just never made the putt. (Laughter). You know, I hate to say this, but the young lady who missed the putt at the Major, the Ladies Major, that putt, I thought about it. I wanted to make sure I focused hard on that putt, because I knew how delicate these situations are and how this may never happen again.
Q. Now that you have a little chance to think about it -
BUBBA WATSON: A little.
Q. Not much, but what does this mean; a goal, a dream you've accomplished.
BUBBA WATSON: As an athlete, as a golfer, this is the Mecca. This is what we strive for, to put on the green jacket, to win golf tournaments. As of, I don't know, less than two years ago, it seems like, I didn't have a win. Now I've got four. My goal, my dream, my dream has always been to have ten wins. And you know, this is a step in that right direction.
This is what everybody strives to do. No matter how much you want to live your life other ways, this is an honor, a special privilege to put the green jacket on. I watched it as a kid, watched it growing up, at the University of Georgia, we talked about this tournament. Played here once a year at the University of Georgia, but I never dreamed about actually winning and sitting here and talking to you guys. But yeah, it's a special time, a special place, as a golfer, as a fan of the game of golf, as with everything, it's a special time for me and my family.
BUBBA WATSON: Thank you. Hopefully you write good stuff about me this time.
Q. Yeah, I got you, man.
BUBBA WATSON: Good.
Q. Can you just describe your playing style as you see it? This could be good.
BUBBA WATSON: Let me make sure it's a good one. (Smiling).
We always joked about Bubba golf. My caddie has always called it Bubba golf. We always say it walking down fairways. I just play the game, the game that I love. And truthfully, it's like Seve played. He hit shots that were unbelievable. Phil Mickelson hits the shot, he goes for it. And if you watch Phil Mickelson, he goes for broke. And that's why he wins so many times. That's why he's not afraid. So for me that's what I do. I just play golf. I attack. I always attack. I don't like to go to the center of the greens. I want to hit the incredible shot; who doesn't? That's why we play the game of golf, to pull off the amazing shot. I just play golf, fun loving Bubba, just try to have fun and goof around. My favorite club is the driver, even though 18 doesn't set up for me, but the last three shots I hit on 18 were right down the middle, and I told Teddy, we were going to live and die by the driver, so I hit driver on 18.
Q. I know it seems like a long time ago, but going back to the first hole, you got off to a bad start today. Was that a mud ball? And can you talk about your power, and do you think ultimately that was maybe the difference this week in your ability to overpower the golf course?
BUBBA WATSON: First hole, I had a little bit of mud on the ball. I tried to play a little cut in there. Drew a cut draw, it's hard to hit that shot, but a cut draw. The first two days, I've missed that green. I hit the fairway all four days on No. 1, but I missed the green the first two days and made par. The last two days on the weekend, I hit the green and 3 putted both times. So I'm not really liking that hole right now. But you know, I 3 putted. It was a tough putt. I hit a good putt on the second putt, missed it. My caddie just kept saying, "There's a lot of golf. You've already heard roars. You saw Bo Van Pelt shoot a low number. Just keep going, keep going." I told him, and my comment to him was, "I'm still in it. Don't worry. I'm right here."
Q. I apologize if you answered this before I walked in, but when Louis made that double eagle, can you just describe what was going through your mind at that point and what you had to do to try to chase him down at that?
BUBBA WATSON: I told him afterwards, actually when we were walking up 18 during regulation, I told him I just wanted to run over there and give him a high five. I mean, he's getting crystal. Every year I've played here, I've gotten crystal but I didn't have an eagle this year. It was amazing to see the crowd. The crowd roared forever. That's what a kid, as a fan of golf, that's what you love watching and I got to see it front row. Got to hear some roars out there. And then for me, I didn't think he - I wasn't thinking about he was leading at that time. You know, and then when I saw the leaderboard on the next hole, I thought, that double eagle, he's leading now. Yeah, I wasn't paying attention at the time. I was just thinking how amazing that shot was. It was his first double eagle, so special for him, too.
Q. Going back to Bubba golf, you move almost every shot; is it easier to move the ball through the air? Do you have difficulty hitting it straight?
BUBBA WATSON: No. I mean, I can hit it straight. It's just it's easier to see curves, get the ball working towards the hole. Like Pro Am pins, pin is in the middle of the green, you might hit a straight shot. But if the pin is hanging on left or on the right - I remember this good player, maybe great player, y'all, Jack Nicklaus, he said, hitting here, he said he wanted to aim at the center of the green and get the ball drifting towards the hole when he played Augusta. That's what he did here. That's the way I like to play all the golf courses, not just Augusta. On 17, I had a little gap to go straight up where the Patrons were. First time I've ever used that word, Patrons. (Laughter). You know, it was a straight shot, so I hit a straight shot there over that tree in that gap. I had to hit three dead straight balls on 18 to get it in the fairway the last three times. So I can do it. It's just not something I really want to do. It's easier in the trees like I did on the last playoff hole.
Q. Two questions, what club did you hit on 16?
BUBBA WATSON: 16? What is 16? Oh, 8 iron.
Q. And secondly when you got to your ball on 10 in the playoff, how long did it take to figure out what kind of shot you needed to play?
BUBBA WATSON: I knew as soon as I was walking - before I even got to my ball, I was already looking at the gap. I saw the gap. So about, I don't know, before I hit the crowd, to go through to get to my ball. I saw the gap. I saw everybody was standing. You could see the gap, how everybody stands. And they gave me a perfect line for the draw. I used like the crowd as my - as like a line, to how my ball flight was going to be. There was a TV tower just past the tree. I couldn't see the flag. The crowd was in the way if I wanted to go dead straight at the pin. So I just used that as like my aiming stake to hook it about 40 yards.
Q. You've often talked about straight shots being sort of the hardest shots in golf to hit, and that's why you like to curve the ball. Was it almost not that you want to be in the positions you were in on, say, 17 or 10 in the playoff, but is it almost easier for you to be in that situation to focus more and not let your mind wander?
BUBBA WATSON: Yeah, it really makes me focus. I hit that shot earlier this week, on No.11. I hit it under the pine straw, aiming right at the water. Had to hook it about 40, 50 yards again, had to hit 9 iron, but I had to keep it hit below ten feet because of the tree limbs. So I hit a low, hook 9 iron; this time, it was a little bit higher. So I had about 15 feet of height. So I hit the low hook. But yeah, it makes you focus and makes you concentrate on making solid contact and making sure it hooks. That's my go to shot. Everybody knows I know how to hook it, so I'm more comfortable in that. Obviously at that time, I would rather have the middle of the fairway, I would rather take that challenge than what I had, but I'm used to missing fairways.
Q. How high is the ceiling, do you think, for Bubba golf? And how suited did you think this golf course was for you when you first came here?
BUBBA WATSON: I thought it was very suited for me, because I like to cut the ball off the tees. Every once in awhile, I can get lucky and hit it over the edge of the trees on 13 when the wind is right. So that hole sets up good for me. 15, I have to hit a straight tee shot to keep it down the middle there. But no, the whole golf course sets up well. There are about four, maybe three tee shots that are really tough for me; 11 and 18 are the toughest for me; 7 is pretty tough. But no, I mean, coming here, I thought this set up really pretty good for me throughout the years I've been here.
Q. And the ceiling for Bubba golf?
BUBBA WATSON: The ceiling? major champion, think I'm done, right? I mean, can't do any better than this. (Laughter). You know, if I go get me lessons and change my swing tomorrow; I've won four times and won a major. So, who knows? That's the best part about history, we don't know what's going to happen. We don't know the future. We don't know anything. Hopefully I keep crying. Hopefully I keep having the passion to play golf and keep doing what I'm doing.
MODERATOR: We are going to talk about three more questions.
BUBBA WATSON: Make them good.
Q. Are you going to go tonight to your son and Angie, and do you have any idea how to change a diaper?
BUBBA WATSON: Yes, and no. Yes, I'm leaving. Plane is waiting. Hopefully I can get there soon and then I'm going to be home. We leased a house, the baby is not allowed to leave Florida because the adoption is not finalized yet. We leased a house in Isleworth; so I'll be in Isleworth pretty soon. What is the other one?
Q. Do you have any idea how to change a diaper?
BUBBA WATSON: No. I don't want to change a diaper. Hopefully this will give me a week or two to just watch her again. Maybe not, though.
Q. On that family angle, how have you sort of stayed in touch with your wife? Can you see the baby at all yet? How much do you know? You said the baby is in Florida. Give us a little update: Were you talking to her throughout the week? Were pictures going back and forth?
BUBBA WATSON: She just sends me little pictures here and there of what he's doing. Yesterday she said my interview was good and she said, "Your son really liked it and he was staring at the TV." I got pictures like that throughout the week. Yeah, has not really changed much, he's only a week older.
Q. You didn't talk to her yet today?
BUBBA WATSON: No. Cell phones are not allowed. (Laughter) (shaking head). But yes, I did talk to her. That was off camera, right.
Q. With this victory, you're surely going to become a cult figure within the sport. Have you always made it a priority in your golf to entertain, and do you feel ready for the fame that's going to be coming your way?
BUBBA WATSON: No. I don't play the game for fame. I don't play the sport for fame. I don't try to win tournaments for fame. I don't do any of that. It's just me. I'm just Bubba. I goof around. I joke around. The house we rented this week has a little putting green so hitting chip shots around there around the water. Goofing around; when I'm home, I just goof around and play video games and joke around with my videos and obviously do dumb videos for Twitter. That's just me, if I was missing cuts every week, it would still be the same way I act off the golf course. But no, I'm not ready for fame. I don't really want to be famous or anything like that. I just want to be me and play golf.
MODERATOR: Bubba, would you mind just summarizing your scorecard, birdies and bogeys.
BUBBA WATSON: First hole I 3 putted. I made a bogey. Second hole, I hit 8 iron, my second shot, blocked it out into the bunker. Hit a bunker shot to about, what, ten feet. Made it for birdie. Where else did I do good? No. 6 - no, sorry. 5. I birdied 5. I hit 4 wood off the tee, hit 9 iron in there. Made about a 35 footer for birdie. Then 12, I hit a little 9 iron and again, I was pumped up. Tried to chip it, flew it to the back, had some mud on the ball. The ball shouldn't break to the right, and when it broke, it just kind of rolled off to the right about 12 feet past. Missed that. Then where did I birdie? 13. 13 I hit a good drive. Hit 9 iron to the center of the green. 2 putted.
14, I hit a cut driver. Then I hit 56 degree, spun it back to about six feet, made that. 15, I hit a good drive down the middle, straight drive down the middle. And then I hit 7 iron from like 198 to about 20 feet short. Left that putt about three feet short. And then made that. 16, I hit cut 8 iron about ten feet, eight feet I guess. Made that one. That's it.
MODERATOR: Bubba, thank you so much for coming in. It's an honor to have you as the 2012 Masters champion.
The transcript for the above interview is courtesy of ASAP Sports.