Bubba Watson was one of the favorites at the season’s first major, but didn’t make a run for his third green jacket, finishing T37 at the Masters. GOLF.com talked to Bubba coming off his week at Augusta National to discuss making the cut on the number, his interaction with a fan that went viral and of course, Bubba-mojis.
We’re just getting off the Masters, which seems to be a place you enjoy and where you play well, but the course with the wind last week just looked as brutal as we’ve seen it play in the last couple years. What was it like for you, you’ve had so much success there to go and have it play so differently?
Yeah, this is the toughest I’ve ever seen it. We’ve had wind before, but nothing like this. This is the most wind. And with it colder, well cooler, I know I said colder, but cooler temperatures, then the ball goes shorter, the course plays a little longer, so this is the toughest I’ve ever seen it play.
I think it was very fair. There wasn’t anybody complaining about fairness. It was a treat. It was a treat to play that way and show its teeth. We’re such good players that somebody’s still going to play great. And we saw it Sunday, I mean (Willett) went bogey free and shot five under to go from behind the pack to win. We’re such good players, we can turn it up at any moment and someone did that this week. But yeah, it was the toughest I’ve ever seen it. I really enjoyed the challenge. I felt bad for me personally. It was tough for me being I was sick with allergies and a sinus infection and my head was plugged up but that’s no excuse. I can still play. There are other people with allergies who played that week so it was a challenge, but it was a fun challenge. You learn from that and hopefully if it happens next year you try to learn from that and perform at a higher level.
Yeah, I was going to ask. You’re such a creative player. You think to do things that no one else on tour does, when you see the conditions like this does it sort of get your creative juices flowing? Does it get you excited to attack the course in a different kind of way?
Yeah, you know that’s it. When you’re trying to hit shots downwind off the side, or hold it into the wind or with the wind, you change your clubs or how you hit certain shots and you’re trying to pull them off. And you know obviously last week I didn’t pull them off. I beat some people in the field but not enough. So, when you try to create the shots and you have the ability to create the shots, and pull stuff off, you know there are a lot of people who wish they did what I did. There’s a lot of people who missed the cut, a lot of people not in the field. So I mean I did OK, but just not what I want. You always dream of being a lot better. It gets you excited. I told everybody every day, I said playing in this, it would have been the most fun, seeing a golf course that tough and that windy. You know all my buddies that I play golf with at home, we love it when it gets gusty winds like that because we try to challenge ourselves to hit shots. You know crosswinds we try to cut them even more, we try to hook them ever more. It was fun, it wears you down though when you don’t pull them off.
When Jordan was sitting on the 18th tee on Friday, did you think you were done?
On Friday, I knew that it was close. It was all up to Jordan. Obviously someone could have birdied a bunch of holes and passed Jordan, but on the back nine I knew it was up to Jordan. He made a double bogey on the front somewhere and everybody goes, Oh wait, he only needs two more bogeys and I’m in because I missed that short putt on Friday. I missed about a four-footer for birdie that would have got me in. So I’m watching it, and obviously I’m watching it taking notes for next year, or for years that have winds like this. So I’m watching it taking mental notes. When he hit over the green on 17, my thought to my family was “Listen, if he bogeys and gets me in, I hope he wins but at least he gets me in.” And then when he missed the putt I was like, Oh my gosh.
But the problem is on 18 on Friday, the pin is in the bowl where the most birdies are given up on that pin location. So I was like he gets this bogey but at the same time he has a great chance for birdie. So when I saw it go in the bunker on the second shot I knew I had a great shot. And then when I said he had the putt I thought the seven overs could get in if he misses this, but he made it. I was the only one affected by the 10-shot rule because I was the only one at six over. So I saw him and his caddie and I said thank you so much for helping me out and they laughed and they said, “Yeah we’re always looking out for you.”
It was pretty funny. It was funny for me, maybe not for them so much. Now they know, they’d probably like those two shots back.
I was going to ask if you teased him about it. So, you’ve won two of these. You’ve been around the champions, the club a lot. But there were some comments made, Lee Trevino said he didn’t want to go play there anymore because of all the restriction. Is it something that you think about, that the players talk about? Cell phones and all that stuff. I mean, why has no one said this is silly? Do they just not feel that way?
No, there’s nothing being said. When you play golf, if you’re playing golf, you shouldn’t be on your phone anyway, right? You should play golf. And if you’re playing with buddies or you’re playing with business people, and you’re working a deal, or you’re playing with your family, you should be spending time with whoever you’re playing golf with. And if you’re by yourself, you shouldn’t be on the phone anyway, you should be practicing, right? So, for me it’s a golf club, I mean that’s what it is. It’s Augusta National Golf Club, it’s about golf there. So I love the rules. I love put your phones off and play golf. When you play with your friends, or whoever you’re playing with, you get off your phones and play golf.
So I don’t mind that rule at all. The taking your hat off inside, I think everyone should do that anyway. So that’s really the only two rules that I know. I know there’s no public play, but that’s just how it is, it’s a private course.
So that’s really the only two rules that I know of, which I respect wholeheartedly. They might treat me different because I’m a two-time champion. I’ve never felt uncomfortable there. Obviously after winning twice, I feel a lot more comfortable there. So I’ve never really thought about it. Most of the private courses I’m a part of have the cell phone rule anyway, so it’s not a big deal.
The last question I wanted to ask — I thought this was funny and I didn’t know if you would think this was funny — but about the interaction with the fan that was reported when you said you wanted him to back up and said you shouldn’t be here. And he said, “Neither should you,” and you had a comeback. I thought that was funny. What was your perspective on that?
Yeah, I was just trying to be funny and that’s why after I said — you know I didn’t want him to take it the wrong way — so I said thanks for coming out, thank you for being out here. I wasn’t trying to be mean or anything I was just saying my ball is in a bad spot, and it’s wrong — well not wrong but you know what I mean — it should be in the fairway. But at the same time, I’m OK. If I never win again I’ve got two green jackets. So, yeah, I wasn’t trying to be mean to the guy, but I was playing in the Masters so it probably came out the wrong way, which is why I said thank you for coming out. I was just like, Oh gosh, maybe that came out bad. And at the same time I was trying to figure out how I was going to get out of these trees.
I was playing with Jeff Knox, the marker, I told him about what was said back there and he was laughing … I told him about it on the green. I said, “This person got me good.” We laughed about it on the green because the spectator got me.
Let’s talk Bubbamojis … I think the obvious question is: Why?
They’re already on your phone. You have smiley faces and thumbs up and all these things so me and my friends, instead of sending long text messages we always send messages with emojis. So, I said “Hey, this is fun, we always do this, so why not just make my own but do it with video and do it with sounds where my voice is saying the things and they’re cartoons?” I said, “Why don’t we do something like that just for the fun of it?” It’s not about making money or anything like that, it’s just giving somebody some fun emojis to use, so now all the guys I text with, they send me back pictures of myself and they send back my voice that says “thank you,” “you’re welcome.”
I had some golfers on the tour now over the last week say, “Hey I need to do this, who did this for you?” It’s so fun. Every time I text with a golfer, I send a picture of myself. I send them a trophy that has a saying on it because you can put your own words on the trophy
What is it like to send pictures of yourself, or to get them? Is it weirder to send or get?
Uhh…I guess get. Especially when you get the voice. Like it says, you know they’ll ask me a question and I answer it, and then they send me back thanks and it’s my own voice. So it’s pretty funny. I pretty much laugh every time I hear that.
You do understand that you’re setting yourself up for people to use these against you on Twitter, right?
It’s good. I mean, a lot of the people who write negative things on Twitter, I mean they’re probably big fans and it’s only to get a reaction. So much of the stuff I’m getting on Twitter, when you respond to them, they respond back in a positive way. I can take that in stride. I’ve dealt with it the last five or six years, I’m good with it.
Do you like social media? It seems as if you like being on there, but you never know if an athlete or a public person does it because they feel like they have to or because they enjoy it.
I like doing it. It’s the way to connect with fans. You share moments. I have some friends who have what you’d call normal jobs. You know, head pro at a golf course, one guy works at a factory, you see what they do it during the day. It’s fun. I mean, I know we could just text message each other but you can see it on social media. But like I said, the negative stuff, some of those people are just trying to get a rise out of you … And I know that after five or six years of the negative stuff. But no, it’s just a way to express yourself and talk about things you like, you know. And show the goofy side of yourself like I do. So, no, I really like it. At first I was questioning it, like is this going to take up my time? Is it going to take me away from focusing on golf? But actually none of that happens. It’s been fun. It’s been a fun process to learn it, but also interact. Also, doing the games and contests with fans with signed stuff from me and stuff you can’t get anywhere else. It’s been fun and helpful.