AUGUSTA — Much is made of the media address that Augusta National Golf Club chairman Billy Payne will make today, when he delivers golf’s version of the state of the union. Payne will address a number of points and discuss the positions Augusta National is taking on significant issues as a leader in the world of golf.
But members of the press got to hear an entirely different and unique take Tuesday, when reigning Masters Tournament champion Bubba Watson shared his wit and wisdom on a variety of subjects. Here’s a sampling of some of the talking points Watson covered.
• On his miraculous shot out of the pine straw on No. 10 in last year’s sudden-death playoff, that led to his win:
“A lot of professional golfers can see it. A lot of people can see it. Doing it’s the hard part. … I’m just obviously going to say, I’m the only one that can do it. I’m the only one that had a chance to do it.”
• On winning the Masters Tournament:
“You know, this is the mecca. This is the ultimate as a golfer, the Masters. … I never dreamed†– like I said before, I’ve never dreamed this far. Actually, as a 12‑year‑old making putts on the putting green, it’s easy to make putts to win the Masters, but to actually do it, that 8‑incher that I made to win was a tough 8‑incher.”
• On trying to repeat his miracle shot:
“No, I would never hit it again. Well, unless Thursday through Sunday†– I’ve been known to hit it in the trees, but I’ll lay up so I won’t look as bad.”
• On the subject of doing anything silly with the green jacket before breaking down in tears:
“Out of respect and honor for Augusta National, as one of greatest clubs we have, as one of greatest tournaments, out of respect for them, I didn’t do any of my funny antics that I normally would do. Only thing I did was wrap (1-year-old son) Caleb up in it. That ends our press conference.”
• On having a monument for his miracle shot permanently placed at Augusta National:
“Well, who wouldn’t want to see a plaque that says ‘Bubba’ in the middle of the pine straw? But yes, I would never ask for a plaque. If I do it again this year, then yes, there should be a plaque.”
• On the biggest difference upon returning to Augusta National as the champion:
“The difference between last year and this year, last year, I didn’t know if I would ever be back to the Masters. Now I know for a fact I should be back to the Masters every year unless I do something wrong and they say I did something wrong and I can’t come back, so we’ll try to keep that on the good side.”
• On the possibility of going solo from his faux pop group, The Golf Boys:
“The biggest star is obviously me and the weakest star is obviously me because I cry a lot. But yes, I thought about going solo. I figure I can do better without them. My outfit (overalls without a shirt but with a fully-buttoned collar) is the best.”
• On what his Masters Tournament victory has made possible for him:
“The way I see it is, I’ve been blessed to do what I do for a living. I enjoy it. Now I’m blessed to have a green jacket. But my platform has changed. I can do some good in this world, I guess you’d say. I can do some good things off the course. But obviously I can do better things if I play good golf. That just keeps building my fan base. But the charity dollars, the fun things that I do off the course (like building a hospital in Kenya or hosting Bubba’s Bash concerts).”
• On buying a $10,000 ring for the wife of Paul Tesori, Webb Simpson’s caddie, after a bet:
“Every time I see Paul’s wife, she shows it to me and we always make a joke out of it, ‘Let me see that ring I got.’ … I’d buy a ring every year if it means I was going to get a green jacket. You would, too.”
• On his expectations this week:
“I’m going out there and I want to make the cut because first off, I don’t want to have to sit around and give somebody the green jacket. I want to be here on Sunday, playing.”
• On topics of discussion with former Masters champion Tom Watson:
“I had lunch†– I was lucky enough to have lunch with Mr.†Watson, Tom Watson, yesterday, and he talked a little bit about things. He wanted to talk about the hover craft more than anything else because he’s got the 400‑acre farm or whatever.”
• On hearing the interview was about to come to an end:
“Make it a good one. It’s the last question. Everybody’s waiting for this one.”
Noah Feit is the sports editor for the Aiken Standard and has been a professional journalist for more than 14 years after graduating from Syracuse University.
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