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August 8, 2014

Tom Watson


TOM WATSON:テつ Little bit more than I can handle.テつ I scrambled pretty well and made some great up‑and‑downs for pars.テつ I had my sights on birdies the last holes and I didn't‑‑ actually the last couple of holes.テつ I almost chipped it in at 8, my 17th hole, and 9 went a little bit left instead of straight.テつ At least give me a chance to make the cut.テつ The golf course is pretty long for old folks like me.

Q.テつ Well, two in a row, going for three cuts in a row at 63, that would have been a pretty impressive feat for the summer.テつ I think you might not think so, but we do.
TOM WATSON:テつ It's always disappointing to miss the cut.

Q.テつ What was it like playing with Steve?テつ He played awfully solid today in these tough conditions.
TOM WATSON:テつ Steve started off very solidly.テつ He hit a lot of good shots early on.テつ He struggled a little bit in the back nine, but he carried on.テつ He hit some wonderful recovery shots and that's what you have to do when things go just a little bit off kilter.

Q.テつ I know you got a lot of schedules going on the rest of the day.テつ I'm sure you've got a few interviews.テつ Thanks for your time.テつ Good luck with the captain's seat.
Last round in this championship?
TOM WATSON:テつ It probably is, yeah.テつ The golf course is playing pretty long.テつ It's like Augusta.テつ Augusta is too long for me now.テつ I still feel as if I can play certain courses, but courses like this, especially after rain, can't get the ball high enough and can't get the ball far enough, and that's okay.テつ Goes with the age.テつ I don't have any problems with that.テつ It's still disappointed to miss the cut.
I guess you carry on now through the Ryder Cup, see what we can do to bring that Cup back.テつ That will be the absolute positive main focus at this point.

Q.テつ Tom, talk about Stricker's play.テつ Is it out of the realm of possibility even if he doesn't win this tournament that he is on your team?
TOM WATSON:テつ Strick has got game.テつ If he should win here, there would be no question that he would be on the team rather than vice captain.テつ No question.テつ Again, as I said about September 2, that's the magic date for me to make the pick.テつ If he runs the tables and happens to win and things like that, I'd be a fool not to consider him.

Q.テつ Could it be possible for you to make him one of your wildcard picks?
TOM WATSON:テつ That's what I just said.

Q.テつ Is there any concern with injuries with Kuch?
TOM WATSON:テつ Yes, there is concern.テつ We're falling like flies right now, some of the players that are either on the borderline or on the team.テつ That's a concern.テつ There's time for recovery and there's certainly a lot of golf to be played between now and September 2 when I make those three picks.
Yes, there is concern.テつ I want those guys to play well, and I want‑‑ most importantly, can they play well free of injury.テつ As I've said about Tiger, the main thing‑‑ the two things, is he free of injury and is he playing well.テつ That goes with the territory with all the other picks as well.

Q.テつ When you think of this Championship, do your thoughts go back to Oakmont and coming so close?
TOM WATSON:テつ Well, that was the closest I had.テつ I had a good lead going to the last nine there and kind of fittered it a way.テつ It would have been nice to have all four of them, without a question.テつ Again, I've enjoyed playing in the PGA, especially in the early years when I had a chance to play with Stan.テつ Stan qualified.テつ My teaching pro, Stan, qualified.テつ Back in those days it was a local qualifier.テつ They had local qualifiers for the local professionals.テつ Stan was the best in our area and he qualified a lot.テつ We played in I think, I want to say, three together.テつ That was always fun playing practice rounds with Stan.テつ To me, that's some of great memories I've had playing the PGA.
I think it's a tournament I didn't have too many opportunities to win.テつ I had a few, but not as many as, say, some other opportunities and other major championships like the Masters and the U.S. Open.
Been a good run.テつ I don't complain.テつ I've won more than my share.

Q.テつ Are you proud of the way you competed in your final years?
TOM WATSON:テつ Like I said, it's never good when you miss the cut.テつ It's disappointing, always disappointing.テつ Obviously playing golf at 64 years old on long golf courses and trying to compete against the kids who hit the ball 40 and 50 yards farther than you do, there are some challenges there.テつ I have to play a different golf course than a lot of these kids.テつ I felt like I played it pretty well.
I didn't putt my long putts very well.テつ I had some opportunities that if I made one or two of them, I would be playing on the weekend.テつ Again, it's disappointing that I didn't do so well.テつ Again, playing golf at my age, when I was 35 years old, I said I'm going to retire when I'm 45, and here I am playing when I'm 60.テつ I'm 64 years old against the kids.
I'm grateful for that opportunity to be able to do that because I'm a Ryder Cup captain, if nothing else but that.テつ I'm grateful.

Q.テつ Besides The Open Championship next year, do you have any plans for the major in the future?
TOM WATSON:テつ Right now I'll be playing the Masters next year and The Open Championship at St. Andrews.テつ Let's just keep it at that.テつ I don't know what's going to happen at that.テつ At my age, you never know.

Q.テつ If they were to extend an exemption to you again to this Championship to say fare well, would you consider that?
TOM WATSON:テつ Well, I would consider it.テつ Again, if I'm taking up a spot of somebody who could really get it, and I feel a little bit that way this week, I probably wouldn't do it.

Q.テつ Over the next three weeks, when you are evaluating players of who you might want to pick as your wildcard picks, what kind of action are you most looking at?
TOM WATSON:テつ The main thing is right here.テつ Who's got the heart.テつ Who's got the guts to make the 5‑footer when the chips are down, to be able to grind it out and get that one point.テつ That's what I'm looking for.
A lot of things go into that as far as prior to that, but the most important attribute of the player is how much heart they can have.

Q.テつ How do you identify that?
TOM WATSON:テつ Well, I've been doing a lot of observation.テつ This year, as I said, it's been a wonderful time this year because I've got in‑‑ I paid a lot of attention to the players.テつ I met a lot of the players.テつ Met everybody who is going to be on the team most likely unless Chappell wins or something like that.テつ I don't know him.テつ But, again, that's been the best part for the whole year.
Actually started last year. テつLooked at the players, watched how they are playing, watching them play in the tournaments, see how they finish, see how they play under the pressure.テつ That's been‑‑ that's part of the formula that I felt was why they asked me to be captain, to really assess the players and make sure we have the best possible team when we get there.

Q.テつ Without naming names, have you run into players who surprised you with they weren't who you thought they were one way or another?
TOM WATSON:テつ There have been some surprises but they have been heartwarming surprises, the types of attitudes that I have found with the players that I have been with and played golf with.テつ The attitudes, I like the attitudes of the players.テつ Again, it's kind a lot of me that I see in some of the players, a lot of me.
The main thing is you do anything possible to win.テつ You are hitting it and you are not hitting it very well, you find a way.テつ My caddie Bruce Edwards always said to me when I was playing lousy, "All right.テつ Come on, find a way. テつFind a way."テつ When I hit the ball in the crap, he said, "Give us a swing, just give us a swing.テつ Give me a swing."
Kind of like Seve, he was never out of it.テつ Players like that, in the Ryder Cup, my observation of the Ryder Cup over the years, watching it, I've seen so many great shots, more great shots, hole outs, more hole outs than you see in normal tournaments.テつ You really do.テつ And whether that's a factor of match play or it's all or nothing that you've got to hole it out or versus mental play where every shot counts, it may be a little bit of that.テつ It also could be the fact that these guys are playing under more pressure, which then elicits better performance.テつ I see it all the time.

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