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July 11, 2003

Tom Watson


PHIL STANBAUGH: Bogey free 64 today little bit like the British Open.

TOM WATSON: Yeah, it was. The wind started to pick up and it started pretty good. Started when we teed off. Teed off at 8:50. The wind started blowing. It got a little stronger as the day went on and once you get out to holes like 13 -- well, 10 and 11 which are kind of open, 12 which it has a little bit of blockage and then 13, second shot there, and really 14 going off at the top of the hill, 14 and 15 the wind is really howling. Played those holes -- 14 didn't play all that well. Didn't hit a very good shot at 15, but ended up making two pars. That was kind of the crux of my round making pars on those holes because those holes, they are just tough, tough golf holes. My round really was just -- it was puctuated with just a lot of good shots and a couple of long putts and overall, if I had to be critical about the round, I didn't drive the ball in the fairway quite enough but my iron-play and my recovery was good.

One thing about the wind, the wind is certainly a big factor, but if you had combinations of wind and firm greens then you are going to have real, real high scores. You saw all the scores today, really saw quite a few scores in the 60s today already. So even though the wind is blowing hard with the softer greens, the golf course plays pretty easy as indicated by how many scores were below par yesterday. I think this is a very difficult golf course. I played here two years ago, the greens were quite a bit firmer and I tell you when the greens are firm here, if you don't put the ball in the fairway, and -- you just can't get the ball on the green. The deep bunkers around the greens, you have got your problems.

PHIL STANBAUGH: Take us through your round hole-by-hole. Any good saves?

TOM WATSON: No. 1 I drove it in the left bunker, I hit a sand wedge for my second shot down the wind and to the front, and I left it short of the green and I used a putter from probably about 20 feet off the green, putted it up about two, three feet short and made par there.

2, driver and I really hit a really flush 7-iron into a strong wind, knocked it about twelve feet behind the hole; made that putt for birdie.

3, I put it in the fairway bunker. As I said, I didn't drive the ball the way I like to. I put it in the fairway bunker, had to wedge it out, hit a 9-iron actually pretty close to the hole; knocked it about eight feet from the hole, missed it.

I made up for it on the next hole. Hit a good shot on the next hole. I knocked about 30 feet short of the hole, made a putt, a little right-to-lefter, 30 feet - made a field goal.

Next hole hit a real good drive. I hit a pitching wedge into a strong wind from about 115 yards and I knocked it four feet from the hole, made that putt for birdie.

7, I hit a real good drive there and I hit a 3-wood. I hit it absolutely flush and as Tom says at the Golf Channel, that rolled right over the cup, he was right, at the back of the green, 70 yards (inaudible) rolled right over the Cup for albatross, rolled by about twelve feet, missed it. 2-putted for birdie.

8, I hit the shot -- I didn't hit as good a shot. I hit it off to the right, kind of safety play and I hit it -- came off the hill and down -- the pin's in the right front and I chipped it by about five feet; made the putt coming back for par.

No. 9, I hit the drive just in the first cut of the rough, actually pretty good drive, and hit pitching wedge about 20 felt behind the hole; made that putt for birdie.

Missed it from about ten feet at 10 and 11, played down the right side, I hit a pretty good drive, again, it just -- fadeaway from the water, I hit it in the bunker, not a bad place to be, but now the wind is really howling and I am going to play kind of a safe shot, very narrow green, pretty good lie in the bunker, I hit a 9-iron 126 yards. I didn't feel if I could get the 9-iron to the hole but -- if I came about 20 feet short that would be a good shot. I actually caught it flush and ended up about six feet right of the hole; ended up making that putt for birdie.

And kind of the same shot on the next hole. 9-iron on the 12th hole, par 3, kind of the same swing, knocked it about three feet from the hole, made that putt.

14, the long hole in the wind, I hit a real good drive and bailed out a 5-iron, 5-iron about 150 yards to the right and I made a good pitch down, I made it from about ten feet. Rolled -- hit the pitch shot about ten feet past; made it from about ten feet to save par.

And the next hole, as I said, didn't hit a very good shot, hit it on the toe, 3-iron, ended up about 50 feet short of the hole but 2-putted for par.

16, I got a lucky break. I hit a 2-iron, pushed it, and rolled through that first bunker into the short -- in the short cut of the rough and I hit a pitching wedge to about six feet from the hole, made the putt for birdie.

17, I got aggressive off the tee going to hit driver right down the right side, pulled it a little bit caught up in the rough before it went in the water -- fairway narrows up there, hour glass, hit a 7-iron in the fairway, hit a good shot and then third shot, pitch shot there left to right crosswind, I hit a pretty good shot, but it I hit hard right and ended up with, oh, 15 to 18 feet right of the hole, and misread the putt, 2-putted for par.

18, I hit a good drive, 6-iron, three feet, missed it. I didn't read it right. I also pushed it a little bit and lipped out. Disappointing there but I got a good break at 16 for a birdie, my ball rolled through the bunkers, so I feel like I got even. That long putt at No. 4, that's another pretty good shot. Out of the bunkers today, I felt pretty fortunate.

PHIL STANBAUGH: We'll go to questions here.

Q. You were just 1-under on the par 5s; is that correct, were you surprised when it's just 1-under on the par that's you are shooting this low?

TOM WATSON: Well, I am not surprised, but from the standpoint -- usually make it up on the par 5s, par 5s here are difficult. If you mess up, you are going to have difficult times making pars out there, even on the par 5s. They are tough holes. This is a tough golf course. The greens are narrow. The greens play very narrow, that means that your margin for error left and right just is not there. You don't have much margin for error. No goal post today. I talk about it when I give clinics, you have the left goal post and the right. Usually are about like that on greens. Here they are -- you can reduce it by about a third. Tough shots. You have got to place very, very accurate iron shots into these greens including the par 5s, so no, I am not surprised.

Q. As tough as this course has played if somebody told you yesterday morning that you would be at 10-under after two rounds, how happy would you have been with that?

TOM WATSON: I would have been very happy. I would have been a non-believer. I just -- the greens are soft so that's the reasons the scores are lower. Even if there's a hard wind today you will see some low scores today. My pal Murph shot 4-under par, but wasn't there one other 68 out there, Phil?

PHIL STANBAUGH: Terry Mauney had 67 --

TOM WATSON: Right, so the golf courses with the softer greens are going to produce some birdies.

Q. Were the conditions out there today reminiscent at all of some of your rounds when you played in England in the British Open?

TOM WATSON: The wind, yeah, but the greens, no. We always get firm greens over there. You rarely ever get greens at the British open where the ball just stops dead unless you are going into a 30 mile an hour wind, then the ball stops dead. But, no, the wind are similar, but the greens are soft.

Q. You talk a lot over the years about how much you have enjoyed playing in tough conditions. You did it at home growing up and you still did it occasionally. Does it get your concentration a little keener when you have a little something to think about like the wind?

TOM WATSON: It does. It makes you focus a lot better, I think. I think at times when you don't have the wind you don't focus quite as well and you may take -- you may take risks sometimes on shots that you shouldn't take when there's no wind. When there's a wind, a lot of times you are just happy to get on the green. And then when you hit the ball close, you really feel like you have accomplished something. That gives you a boost of confidence that yeah, I have got it today. That's what I -- that's what I had today. Like on No. 2 I think that 7-iron on No. 2 just told me that, yep, today is the day. Early in the round I hit it real good, solid flush 7-iron, made the putt, I enjoyed that.

Q. Did you question the same feeling at 14? You had a difficult chip up there above the hole. Didn't like look your lie was too bad. You knocked it down, then came back, made the 10-footer for par. At that point did you think it is going pretty good today?

TOM WATSON: Yeah, a bogey on that is not a bad score today, but par is -- you are going to pick up at least a half a shot on the whole field on that one; maybe a little bit more. I think overall, I think that hole, Phil, probably places in the Top-10 toughest holes we play on the Champions Tour.

Q. You have talked a lot about your caddie and what winning has meant to you guys. Talk about the run that you guys have been on; talk about that a little bit today.

TOM WATSON: Well, I said when he was diagnosed with ALS that I wanted to win for him, and came close at the U.S. Senior Open, playing well enough right now to win and maybe this is going to be the win. I haven't had a history of winning very many times on the Champions Tour, and I really do want to win for Bruce. Have another hug on the 18th green like we have had many times before.

Q. The cold weather sometimes affects him a little bit more. Was he having any problems today?

TOM WATSON: No, he wasn't having any problems today although I told him "you are riding the cart, you got shorts on, don't you think maybe you just should take your rain suit with you and put it in the car; not carry it in the bag, just put it in the car just in case." He was laughing. He toughs it out.

Q. Obviously you do well under harsher conditions but do you see that as a chance maybe separating yourself from the rest of the field; do you like it?

TOM WATSON: Yeah, when the conditions get tough that's when you do separate yourself. You can make -- you can make a statement and you can go from -- like I did went from 22nd place to 1st place. I don't know after today if it's going to be 1st place, if it's going to be right there today but when you shoot a round like this in the wind you are going to pass a whole bunch of people.

PHIL STANBAUGH: Anything else? Tom, thank you very much.

TOM WATSON: Thank you, Phil.


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