Featured Golf News
Bubba Makes Maiden Voyage to China
Bubba Watson is in Guangdong, China, for the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions. The $7 million event starts Thursday on the Olazabal Course at Mission Hills Golf Club.
The reigning Masters' champion was not in Malaysia for last week's CIMB Classic, so he's well-rested for the tournament, which offers $1.2 million to the winner. He'll be paired in the first round with BMW Masters champion Peter Hanson and Branden Grace.
To come away with his second title of the year Watson will need to get by a tough field that boasts seven of the 10 top-10 players in the world and major champions such as Keegan Bradley, Paul Lawrie, Graeme McDowell, Phil Mickelson, Geoff Ogilvy, Vijay Singh, Ernie Els and Louis Oosthuizen.
On Tuesday the native of Bagdad, Fla., sat down with reporters and discussed his thoughts on China and chances this week. Here's what he had to say.
MODERATOR: We'd like to welcome Bubba Watson so the interview room. This is your first start at the World Golf Championships HSBC Champions but this is a new venue for just about anybody. Maybe some initial comments on the golf course and the venue itself, coming here the first time.
BUBBA WATSON: Yeah, coming to China for the first time. Looking forward to it. I've heard about Mission Hills throughout the years and how great the golf courses are around here. So I was really excited when we got here this morning, we landed early this morning and saw the lighted golf course. So who doesn't want to play golf at night; almost try to sneak out here one night and play that. Looking forward to it. This is a great field, great event. First time here, so hopefully we can make the best of it.
Q. Can you just tell us how you played the 15th hole today, and what are the possibilities?
BUBBA WATSON: Today I hit driver just in the left rough and I hit 7 iron to the centre of the green, just 2 putt, birdie. It's a par-5 I think. It's a great hole because of the fact that you're kind of hitting to like an island tee shot and then you hit into like almost an island green, and so I think it's going to change some scores coming down the stretch on Sunday where people can make big numbers or make an eagle or a birdie.
Q. We know you started training golf by yourself, can you give some nice to Chinese players, both mentally and physically?
BUBBA WATSON: The first thing is are to young golfers juniors to ever to have fun with the game, enjoy the game and just learn it on your own, just go out there and hit balls, practice your short game, chipping and putting, and just go out there and again just have fun. You know, let the game just be something that you enjoy doing and having fun doing it. And so it's a pretty simple game, but as a kid you can learn so much just by going out there and hitting balls and practicing by yourself.
Q. After the Ryder Cup, you guys relaxed yourself trying to play table tennis during the Ryder Cup period; who is the best table tennis player on the Ryder Cup Team?
BUBBA WATSON: You know, it's a team event, so we just want to have something fun to do at night. So we just play table tennis. As a team, we hang out together and goof around playing table tennis. And obviously the best on the team is Matt Kuchar, and he's also my doubles partner, so me and him in doubles always win, and he always wins his individual. But yes, he's always my partner so I can win.
Q. You mentioned the 15th, but what are your overall impressions of the course in did you play the whole course or just a few holes?
BUBBA WATSON: I played 1 through 4 and then 14 through 18. What I saw of the course so far, it seems like generous fairways, a little bit wider fairways, forgiving. Greens are not too big but I think it's going to come down to putting. The greens are rolling really good. You can make a lot of putts, and you can get hot out there so you can roll in some putts, make some birdies. I think everybody off the tee is going to be about the same. Everybody is going to hit fairways, a lot of fairways hit. But obviously there's a few bunkers out there that could get in the way, could slow you down. But I think it's going to come down to like most tournaments where it's going to be coming down to iron play and making putts. But the course is in great shape. Even with the little bit of rain we've had this morning when we've got here, it was playing really good and everything was in great shape.
Q. Your sort of course?
BUBBA WATSON: I'll tell you in a few days (chuckling).
Q. Is this your first time to visit China? And besides golf, what have you done in these couple of days?
BUBBA WATSON: This is the first time to China. I just landed this morning. I landed at 6 o'clock this morning, and I've come straight here and then played some golf. So we're looking forward to I think one night, Sunday night maybe, we are going to go back to Hong Kong and hang out and go visit the town there and have some dinner downtown and just check out the area there.
Q. Will you attend the celebration?
BUBBA WATSON: Yeah, that, too. Hopefully I have to stay there.
Q. Do you collect anything on your round the world travels? Do you collect something each time you go to a new country?
BUBBA WATSON: I love to collect trophies, but I haven't done that yet outside the U.S.
Q. Now that you have a child, do you take it back anything?
BUBBA WATSON: Yeah, I might start. You know, that's a good thing, I might start doing that. But no, I haven't really collected anything. Just memories.
Q. Have you done some homework before you came to China? Is it the same impression that you think?
BUBBA WATSON: Yeah, you know, I've always thought this was a beautiful place, always someplace I wanted to visit. When we landed in Hong Kong, we came across some big bridges to get over here, and the waterways, the coastline off those waterways right there were beautiful, just like I've seen in the movies. So everything looked like it was supposed to. Then this place is pretty amazing. Mission Hills is a pretty amazing place with all these golf courses here. I love golf, so this is what intrigues me is seeing the mountains around the golf course here.
Q. What's the difference between the courses that you've played in America than compared to here in China? What sort of difference on the golf course?
BUBBA WATSON: Well, there's not really much difference. The grass, there's a couple places in the U.S. that have the same kind of grass as here. But the difference, it's really - there's not much difference. Every golf course, they have sand traps, have greens, have tee box, fairways, out of bounds and water. So it's about the same. It's just a different design how somebody designs a golf course compared to other designers.
Q. You've been involved in charity and you've been very low key on doing that, very subtle. After winning your first major at the Masters in Augusta, what sort of changes have you done to your charitable contributions?
BUBBA WATSON: No difference. I still support my charities that I love. Junior golf is big on my heart. I always help my community, Pensacola, Florida. I have a charity golf tournament in North Carolina, a junior tournament. Obviously now with adopting a son, we have donated some money, some time and energy into adoption, trying to help adoption and helping these kids. I think there's roughly 150,000 kids in the U.S. looking for homes, and so trying to help out as much as we can to help them find homes.
MODERATOR: Bubba, good luck this week. Thanks for coming in.
The transcript for the above interview is courtesy of ASAP Sports.