What Tiger Woods taught Bubba Watson during practice rounds

Tiger Woods keeps a close circle. Throughout his career, he’s kept his team small and rarely allows outsiders a peek inside the walls. Lots of players are friendly with other golfers on Tour, but Woods was all business — it’s part of what made him great.

In recent years however, Woods opened up a bit, revealing things behind his difficult-to-crack facade. Practice rounds with fellow pros became more common — Justin Thomas has become his go-to playing partner — and the steely glares were replaced with softer eyes.

Bubba Watson is another Tour pro who’s become friendly with Woods over the last decade. He’s been a regular in the 15-time major winner’s practice rounds, and even bought Woods’ Isleworth mansion in 2013.

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This affable relationship gave Watson the unique opportunity to pick Woods’ brain, and he made sure to analyze anything and everything about the way he operates.

“What I saw is that my dedication isn’t as high as his,” Watson said on this week’s Off Course with Claude Harmon podcast. “By watching him, I learned different techniques … How to practice, when to practice. But again, I learned that I am not dedicated enough. I’ve got other things in my life that I want to be successful at.”

He went on to explain that another thing he learned was that he could play golf at an elite level. Going toe-to-toe with one of the best to ever do it — even in a practice round — gave Watson added validation to his game.

“Playing with Tiger Woods is a dream come true,” Watson said.

Check out the entire Off Course podcast below.

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Zephyr Melton

Golf.com Editor

Zephyr Melton is an assistant editor for GOLF.com where he spends his days blogging, producing and editing. Prior to joining the team at GOLF, he attended the University of Texas followed by stops with the Texas Golf Association, Team USA, the Green Bay Packers and the PGA Tour. He assists on all things instruction and covers amateur and women’s golf. He can be reached at zephyr_melton@golf.com.