Bubba Watson is the current Masters champion. He is one of the biggest personalities on tour and has recently signed a deal with Oakley, a company that seems to fit hand-in-hand with how Bubba plays the game of golf. I've had a chance to golf with Bubba before, but now I got a chance to sit down with Watson this week at the Waste Management Open and chat about his Masters win, his new deal with Oakley and some other entertaining subjects. The result is below.
SB: How are you feeling?
BW: Alright, not 100 percent, I've been sick for about a month with strep throat and now with the flu, but I lost about 10 pounds or so I'm a little weak.
SB: When the family, the wife and the newborn go to events, do you see yourself playing or practicing as much or do you stay with the same schedule?
BW: No, I have the same schedule. My wife was an athlete, she played professional basketball, so she understands what it means to practice and stay true to yourself and your sport and so she understands what it takes to be one of the best and that's what I'm trying to be so she understands it.
SB: I know you get a lot of Masters questions, but life this year compared to life last year heading into the PGA Tour season. How different is everything for you in all walks of life?
BW: Yeah, for sure, because you have another mouth to feed, you have a child to raise, you have other issues in life that you didn't have, like "Am I going to be able to play good golf for the rest of my life or do we need to be safe and go ahead and put a college fund in there for him." We want to adopt another child and have two kids, so when do we do that? There is a lot of things going on outside of golf but golf now has always been on the backburner, it's been my job, my sport, the thing I want to do, but it's always been about number four in my life and now it might be creeping down to (number) five because there is more important things in life than your sport or your job. Now having a child I've learned that, I've seen that, and don't get me wrong, I still want to be number one in the world at golf, I enjoy the game, I love the game, the game has brought me everything in my life, but it doesn't end my life if I miss a cut or play bad.
SB: So a good introduction to my next question, Steve Stricker has drastically cut his schedule this year because he wanted to spend more time with family. Because of all the money in golf, do you think more guys are going to do something similar at a younger age?
BW: You can see it happen but not to a young pro. You'd see it to a guy like Stricker, close to the Champions Tour, you can see it maybe happening but the thing that would change people's lives is their kids. His kids are getting into high school and he wants to do that foundation. Golf is a different sport because we are around charity dollars so much and now he started that foundation and he wants to do that foundation, help his community, and that's going to instill values into his kids.
He has worked hard for years, and now he's able to do it, for him I can see it, and that's what I'm saying. For me, right now, I want to play the Champions Tour but hopefully when my kids get old enough it might change my tune.
SB: When Tiger signed with Nike all those years ago, he signed for all this amount of money, but he mentioned the coolest thing, or the moment it was legit, was a duffel bag with all this Nike gear. What is the coolest thing you've got from Oakley so far after signing with them?
BW: When I got to the factory there in California and saw the design of the building, and heard about some of the cool stuff they're doing, that was the fun part for me. Everybody knows Oakley brand for their glasses, and seeing the eyewear test, and being a part and seeing the bike track behind the factory there. All that stuff was cool, but being a part of their company, seeing all the athletes they'd had before on their staff that they've been partners with, and learning about the company and all the things they've done, I didn't know the company was that big until I went there and learned about it.
Truthfully, when they talk about the fun stuff, that's what I wanted to do. You see the X-Games and that's where a lot of their stuff is and surfing and the eyewear and the goggles. When you're a part of that ... I play golf, and golf is boring, but when you see Shaun White winning for the sixth time in a row and he's got the "O" on there and you feel like you're a part of that even though he has no idea who I am, but I'm going to say me and Shaun are close, that's the cool part, the cool factor to me. Who doesn't know the "O" and the brand, so for me, for me to be a part of that, and for them to want me, I mean, they have the best pants in the game. They created the best pants, with the swim shorts and now into pants.
SB: They are the best pants.
BW: Every time that little slit, it fits over the shoes perfectly, I'm like, why doesn't everybody do this?
SB: It's like when we used to cut our jeans ...
BW: Who didn't cut their jeans?!
SB: So talk about the switch. Why did you do it, because before with Travis Mathew you were with them, so why did you change?
BW: Well the deal was up, so obviously you check around and see who wants you and who doesn't want you. It makes the decision a little easier if nobody wants you, I guess.
Oakley had a situation where they needed a player and I'm glad they picked me, but it's one of those things that you know the brand, you know the "O" brand, the fun part of the company, the excitement around the company, the innovation around the company, and for them to come to me and want me to be a part of that and be a part of their golf and to try and grow their brand in golf, how would you not want to be a part of that?
Why would I not want to be with a fun company because I think I'm fun, do some crazy videos with them, and again, boring golf, but I get to partner up with maybe Shaun White or someone like that so how would you not want to say yes to a company like that?
And then, after that, find out how much they're going to pay you (laughs).
SB: Do you have any input in designs or what it looks like or will you?
BW: I don't know. I want to be part of it, I'd love to be part of it. This first year before I was with them all that stuff was already made so I didn't have any input with them this year.
I was doing the thing with the majors (Ed. note: Bubba was wearing the same outfit all four days of majors with Travis Mathew for charity in previous years) but we canceled that because of the marketing reasons and things like that but there are other charity dollars we're going to do with them.
So this first year I had no input since they've already created it and signed me late but yeah, I'd love to be part of it and tell them yes, no, this doesn't feel right, that doesn't feel right, I'd love to have any input on that.
SB: Well you said you're fun, which I think most people would agree with. On Saturday you're going to do something crazy at the Phoenix Open. Do you know what you're doing yet?
BW: I'm still waiting to see. We've got some ideas tossed around. We've got a couple of things, but at the same time I may or may not have got a call from the tour that we may have to be careful with what I do.
SB: But the whole idea of No. 16 is fun, right?
BW: It's already got out of hand if you're going to look at it that way, so you have to embrace and if you don't embrace it you're probably going to make a double-bogey so you have to embrace it and go with the flow. It's one hole out of the whole year, why not have fun with it? It's a football stadium with a golf hole in the middle of it.
SB: The crazy thing about No. 16 at TPC Scottsdale is without any grandstands it's a chip-shot par-3.
BW: Yeah, it's so easy. But now with the wind, people yelling, screaming, and you get energized so the ball goes further, yeah, stuff like that.
SB: So after winning the Masters, what or who gave you the coolest congrats after it ended?
Truthfully, the coolest thing was if you ask the members at (Augusta National), you never have pros go down. They didn't even say pros wait on the 18th green, so for three pros to go down to the 10th green and wait for me and hug me and not even know I'm going to win or not at that time. So for them to go down there, no matter what, Rickie (Fowler) Aaron (Baddeley) and Ben Crane, and Baddeley's whole family, Rickie's family was around, so for them to do it. They left, changed clothes and came back to watch me, that was pretty special, that was a big deal, and it wasn't a phone call but they were right there.
And they actually came to Champions Dinner with me, you go up with the members, and they came up there and ate food with me and everything.
SB: Well it was probably good food, too.
BW: Yeah, it was good food, and it was free so, yeah.
SB: How many times have you personally watched the second shot in that Masters playoff?
BW: I've seen it a couple of times on Sportscenter replays, and I've watched the final round, so I'd say probably 10 times just the shot. And who hasn't watched their shot on YouTube? So I've probably watched it, counting my phone, 15-20 times.
And then I gotta say, I send the link to certain people on my phone, you know, just to let them know I'm Masters champ, so I let them see the shot. They say, "Oh, I've seen that before," and I know, I just wanted you to see it again.
SB: Okay, I asked some people on Twitter for some questions. Dream foursome including you on the golf course?
BW: My wife, my dad, and then ... Seve Ballesteros. Just to see his shot-making ability.
SB: How much did the Whistling Straits experience for you help you go on and win the Masters?
BW: It didn't help at all. I wanted to win, nobody wants to lose. At that moment you don't think about stuff like that, and when people say they do, they really don't, that's a lie.
You're in the moment, you're not going to go, I've been in the trees before, let me decide how I'm going to do this.
So no, I didn't really take anything from it, the only thing I take from it going forward is that you're good enough. You were here one time so you can get back, so what I did on the back nine, I've said I've shot 31 in my life before, so let's do this again, it just happens to be Sunday afternoon at the Masters, so somehow I played good.
So you take, I was here once, I can do it again, but you don't think about that on Sunday afternoon.
SB: Okay, so I'm going to give you a compliment, I think you're the favorite at the 2015 British Open at St. Andrews.
BW: Perfect. That's a long way away, am I not going to play any good until then?
SB: Well, you can win other stuff before.
BW: Okay, just checking.
SB: But you hit that big cut, I feel like you can play that golf course.
BW: I've played it before, the one time I've played it in a tournament, the last time we played there, it was that wind delay during the middle of the round, and I missed the cut by one in the middle of that wind delay. But yeah, the more you play a course, the more you're going to get familiar with it. Like Augusta, I played it a few times in college, I finally played it, even though it sets up perfect for my game the way I cut the ball, my best finish was 20th and then I win it, so it's just one of those things that the more you play it the better you're going to get.
I can see myself playing well there but it all depends on the wind that year.
SB: I was looking at your Wikipedia picture, and I'll be honest, you were heavier than you are now. What have you done with your fitness to lose weight?
BW: I just changed my diet. When I first got on tour, you're young, you don't care about anything, you think I hit the ball miles why do I need to workout, I don't need to fix anything.
But I was eating chocolate cake everyday. Every night I was eating chocolate cake, any restuarant, we were having dessert, I don't care if it was ice cream or chocolate cake. I was eating steak, hamburgers, french fries. I haven't had chocolate in about five years, no caffeine in five years. In L.A. about five years ago I missed the cut because I had a headache all week, and then I decided that was the last caffeine I was going to take. I was drinking Coke or Cherry Coke about six of them a day. Instead of water, I was like, they're giving us Cokes for free in the locker room, I'm going to drink them. And I've never drank alcohol so it wasn't that make me get fat, and a bad diet so I just changed that.
I've had a trainer for the last three years, so he's trained me and I workout a little bit here or there.
SB: Okay, last question - can your wife, Angie, beat you in basketball?
BW: If she gets hot, when she was playing, she doesn't miss. When we play around the world, she hit 10 shots in a row she beat me. From three-pointers. I was thinking, she's 6-foot-3, no way she can shoot three pointers but she did. But she hasn't played in a long time, I would say, I might could take her in a game of H-O-R-S-E, unless she gets hot I could take her, because I've always been able to shoot I just haven't been able to dribble and I'm a sissy so I don't want to push anyone under the boards.
SB: So you're going to take her in H-O-R-S-E, but if you play one-on-one she might be able to take you.
BW: Yeah, if she starts pushing me down below I'll start calling fouls and stuff like that. An offensive foul, I'll just tell the truth.
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