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July 23, 2014

Tom Watson


STEVE TODD:テつ Welcome to sunny Wales.テつ It's become a bit of a tradition in this tournament over recent years to welcome you to a course that you're trying to win a Senior Open that you've won an Open on, but it's a new venue this year, a new challenge, so if you can start by giving us your thoughts on being at Royal Porthcawl.
TOM WATSON:テつ I drove down Sunday night through the centre of Wales on the A483 with Neil Oxman, my caddie.テつ It was the plan to come down that way because I was told by one of the drivers at open that said, "You must take it down through new town and come down that way and see the countryside."
And it's beautiful.テつ I love the country; I live on a farm, and to see the hills and spectacular glens, it was beautiful.
Arrived Sunday night and came out, played a practise round on Monday.テつ And really not knowing anything about it, from the first hole on, it was just one after another, it was just, this is really a good hole, good hole, great hole, great hole, great green complex.テつ I really fell in love with it immediately.テつ It's a great test of golf.
It's tougher than Hoylake, I have to tell you.テつ It's running faster.テつ There's not as much rough.テつ If you add some wind to this, which I guess it never blows here too much, right, it will really challenge us.テつ It's a great test of golf.
The differences of this golf course and other Open venues, the greens have movement to them.テつ Movement, meaning, you have a lot of greens that‑‑ some greens will fall away, kind of the whole plate.テつ No. 1, which replaced No. 18, is a hugely contoured green that falls away from you.テつ And then you have greens that they go uphill, and it's just‑‑ the green just steps up and steps up, and you have downhill shots, uphill shots.テつ That's what I like about the golf course is the variety of elevation changes and the variety of the green contours.
I don't know the golf course yet, I can tell you that.テつ It will be kind of feeling you out.テつ It's kind of like a first date; you have to feel out, what's it like, and maybe not play quite as aggressive as you might once you get to understand the golf course.
Knowing where you can hit the ball with the wind is the key factor in playing links golf because the ball runs so far.テつ There are areas yesterday thatyesterday, the first round I played yesterday in the Pro‑Am I tested out trying to, okay, can I hit it this far over here to the left; where is the angle at 18 off the tee, for instance.テつ I hit a perfect tee shot there, so figured that blind shot out.テつ There's other areas on the golf course that I don't think I've quite figured out yet.
Hope I don't step on any land mines as I go around the course as I did last week.テつ I stepped on three land mines last week, and fortunately I made enough birdies to kind of stay in the hunt.テつ In summer it really is a wonderful, wonderful golf course.
Actually, I talked to Peter Dawson about The Open Championship being played here.テつ He said the golf course itself could certainly handle it.テつ The surrounding areas, there's so much more to an Open Championship and the golf course is not probably the No. 1 priority.テつ It's all of the infrastructure and all that sort of stuff that needs to go on for an Open Championship.テつ This would make a great Open Championship golf course in my opinion.

Q.テつ In your last round at The Open, your 68, how does that match your round at Turnberry?
TOM WATSON:テつ Well, I played well.テつ I played a lousy Saturday round, Jock.テつ I went back to my room and said:テつ That move away from the golf ball, I have to change that move.テつ I was cupping it back like this and getting stuck and hitting the ball to the right.テつ I said let me have a little more rotation going back.
I went to the tee the next morning, and everything was great on the tee the next morning and went out and played a really good round from tee‑to‑green.テつ I think I missed two fairways off the tee, that was it.テつ I think I missed four greens, so I played a good round compared to the first three rounds.テつ I played a really good round of golf.テつ Not like Rory, though.テつ Not like Rory.

Q.テつ You talked about the green complexes.テつ Of the other Open courses, what one is most like here?テつ You say Hoylake is not in terms of undulations on the greens.テつ What one is similar?
TOM WATSON:テつ Muirfield has some contours to their greens.テつ It's probably the closest, Muirfield.テつ There's movement in their greens, but not as much movement as here.

Q.テつ I've always known you to be a brave American and putting up with warm beer and lack of air conditioning, but did you drive, you, yourself, or were you driven on Sunday?
TOM WATSON:テつ No.テつ I let Oxman drive.テつ Let him so I could look.テつ I'm no dummy (laughter).テつ In fact, I got on the first tee on Sunday and I said, "God, I can't wait for the drive down this afternoon.テつ I'm looking forward to that drive."
He said, "Come on, concentrate.テつ You have to play 18 holes first."
No, I've driven over here.テつ I haven't scared too many people.

Q.テつ How long did it take?
TOM WATSON:テつ Well, we got lost.テつ We got lost.テつ Sometimes it's hard to, we asked for directions once.テつ It took us about five hours.テつ I mean, it should take‑‑ going the motorway, people say, I got here in three and a half or four hours.テつ The roads are kind of windy.テつ They have a big farm‑‑ we went by that, is it Builth Wells?テつ Yeah, Builth Wells.テつ So all the horse boxes there, and it made me feel right at home.テつ My wife would be here but she's in her own major championship this week.テつ She's competing in Fort Worth Texas in a cutting horse show.
No, it's beautiful countryside, and what a wonderful golf course.テつ It's been a great trip already.

Q.テつ When you were talking about the greens, did you say something about‑‑ did you have something to say about the ninth green?
TOM WATSON:テつ The renovation?

Q.テつ Sorry, your 10th.
TOM WATSON:テつ It's too busy, too bumpy.テつ Too bumpy and not in keeping with the smooth‑‑ you have contours to the greens but this one has lots of bumps to it.テつ It came out a little bumpy I think.
That's a designer talking.テつ We're all designers.テつ We can't like everything, right.テつ Have to be a little callus, like you guys, cynical and callus.

Q.テつ With Colin Montgomerie going for his third major in the season here, can you talk about his performances in the U.S. Senior PGA and Senior Open; and you must fancy your chances on a links course.
TOM WATSON:テつ Well, I played with Colin.テつ Actually I played with him at the Senior PGA the first two rounds with Bernhard Langer.テつ There's a name you haven't asked me about, Bernhard.テつ He's had just a marvelous career.テつ I think McGinley ought to pick him for The Ryder Cup Team, he's that good.
Colin, I played with him the first two rounds at the PGA and played very well.テつ Doesn't surprise me.テつ He can control the golf ball.テつ That's what you need to do here.
But again, on links golf, sometimes controlling the golf ball gets away from you, and you have to hope that you golf ball doesn't explode on a land mine somewhere in the gorse or you're stuck in a deep bunker somewhere with an unplayable lie.テつ Those things can happen here on a links golf course.
Colin is playing great golf.テつ He's a great putter.テつ Can make up for mistakes with his putter to win here.

Q.テつ On Sunday when you spoke at length about Tiger, do you fear you might be in a no‑win situation with Tiger when it comes to whatever decision‑‑
TOM WATSON:テつ No, it's not a no-win.テつ The decision will be mine and mine alone, and it's hard not to pick Tiger.テつ But again, you know the dilemma.テつ I know the dilemma.テつ It's too early to really talk about the dilemma until the dilemma's there.

Q.テつ Colin and I have a bet.テつ He asked me what I thought the winning score would be and I said 12‑under, and he said he would take 12‑under.テつ He would go for 8‑under.テつ What do you think the score will be?
TOM WATSON:テつ I'm terrible at predicting scores.テつ Jack was always great at predicting what's going to win, especially in the last round.テつ I think it's higher than 8‑under.テつ I think it's going to be between‑‑ it's going to be closer to four than it is eight.テつ I just think the golf course, you'll make some birdies out there, but you'll make some bogeys, as well.
I don't know.テつ It just seems like a tough golf course to me and it will be a challenge.テつ We don't know what the wind is going to do but it looks like it's going to be hot and it's going to be really fiery.テつ Again I think it's going to be higher than that.

Q.テつ You said that you liked this course as soon as you saw it.
TOM WATSON:テつ I did.

Q.テつ Does that apply to all the links courses you've played?
TOM WATSON:テつ No, not at all.テつ Every hole, just every hole was good on this golf course.テつ There's not a weak hole on the entire golf course.テつ It just plays‑‑ every hole has got its character to it.テつ You have to hit shots.テつ You have to control your golf ball.テつ It sets up visually.テつ There's some blind shots that, okay, I can lay back on 17 if I want and see the green, or I can get it up there where I hit in a shorter club and not see the green; what decision am I going to make there?テつ So I have an option.
That's what I like about these golf courses.テつ It gives you some options to do things.テつ I tell you, it's just depending on the wind.テつ Links golf is all dependent on the wind; how strong it is and what direction it comes from and how that golf course plays with that wind.テつ

Q.テつ Inaudible.
TOM WATSON:テつ A number of golf courses are like that in my career, yes, where you just like every hole.テつ Most of them, like I said, I'm callus and there are some holes that I don't like.テつ Do it differently‑‑ I think sometimes they don't fit.テつ But this golf course, it has it all in my opinion, it really does.

Q.テつ Did the wind blow on the first two days you played it?
TOM WATSON:テつ Yes, it did.テつ A little bit more north on Monday than yesterday, but it laid down almost completely yesterday.テつ A little bit more from the west yesterday.テつ Today is more from the south.
I didn't play today because I need to give the body a little rest, after playing all the rounds that I did at The Open Championship and then playing the first two days here, give my body a little rest.テつ Right now, it's saying thank you.

Q.テつ One on Rory, who won so well.テつ A lot of people including the players‑‑ do you have any idea‑‑
TOM WATSON:テつ What's my forecast?テつ Well, he'll win more.テつ How many more is dependent on a lot of things.テつ It's dependent on‑‑ I think Jack said the same thing about Tiger.テつ Will he break your record; he could but it's dependent on a lot of things.テつ Depends on marriage, children, a combination there; injury is a big, big thing.テつ It depends on injury, if he's injury‑free.テつ And lastly, and maybe most importantly, is desire; how much desire do you have.
You can't really predict it, Jock, but he will win more.テつ And one of the things about Rory that I have to give him great credit, he came through a stretch of golf‑‑ I still have the Golf World magazine in my bathroom and I still see it over there, I've got stacks‑‑ I think, I need to throw all these magazines away but I've been keeping all the golf worlds for Ryder Cup purposes, you see.
There's one, the headline says, "Glad that's over."テつテつテつ That's after his bad spell, after he won earlier this year.テつ So he went through a stretch and you were writing him off.テつ No, you weren't really writing him off but you were questioning, what's wrong.
A number of things can go wrong when you're going through there, but the one thing that you know is happening, his confidence is low.テつ And to regain your confidence, you have to start hitting good golf shots and confirm those good golf shots on the practise range when you're practising, but then you have to confirm them in competition.テつ It's a building process.テつ
テつテつテつテつテつテつ Many times I remember in my career where I would make a change and hit some good shots, and then I confirm it on the range; and I would get on the course and I would hit some good shots and I would hit some bad shots.テつ But then I would stick with it and hit some good shots until maybe it became more consistently good.テつ That's how you come out of a lull or a bad spell.
And sometimes the light switch just goes off like that (snapping fingers) where you make a change in your golf swing and all of a sudden it's free and easy and your impact is solid, and, whew, boy, it's off to the races then and it's hard not to get too excited sometimes there.
Going through that bad spell was a good thing for him.テつ Bad for him, I'm sure, when he went through it, but it's a good thing for him.テつ Bobby Jones said:テつ "I never learned anything in victory.テつ I only learned in defeat."テつ No truer words are said about anything in life, particularly playing golf as an individual sport, it's like that.テつ You learn from your defeats.テつ You learn a lot.テつ I think that spell is part of anybody's career.

Q.テつ Do you believe that if Tiger had no injuries, he would have broken Jack's 18?
TOM WATSON:テつ Injuries have played a big part in Tiger's career:テつ He's had knee; he's had the Achilles heel; he's had his back operation.テつ Those things‑‑ I was talking to Steve Jones today.テつ Steve Jones fell off a motorcycle and couldn't play competitive golf for three and a half years because he messed up his ring finger on his left hand here.
It's just things like that.テつ It's not a little thing.テつ The injuries are a big thing and keeps you from playing free and easy.テつ If you can't play free and easy out here, you're not going to be able to compete.

Q.テつ A lot of people are saying that the American Ryder Cup Team is not shaping up how you maybe want it to, but if you look at the list, the top nine spots there just now, there are some pretty impressive players in those positions.
TOM WATSON:テつ Yeah, we've got some good players on our team.テつ But you look at The European Team, they are formidable.テつ They are all‑‑ you have the U.S. Open Champion.テつ You have The Open Champion.テつ You look at it and you look on their team and our team right now, it makes you wonder.
But the thing I know, our team is going to be in that team room and they are going to be thinking about Medinah.テつ I'm going to make sure that they are thinking about Medinah.
I know in my career when I had a big setback, the way I reacted to it was pretty positive most of the time.テつ I had a big setback and I would come back with a big positive after that.テつ I'm giving away my secret as captain (laughter).

Q.テつ (Inaudible.)
TOM WATSON:テつ I don't think you have to remind him more than once.
STEVE TODD:テつ Thanks for joining us, Tom.

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