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July 13, 2001

Tom Watson


DAVE SENKO: You're tied for the lead at 9 under. Maybe just take us through your round today.

TOM WATSON: Sure. It was a very similar round to yesterday. The wind blew the same way. Some of the pin positions were different. They made club selection and tee balls off the tee a little bit different. Game plan changed a little bit because of the pin positions, but all in all, it was a very similar day. The wind blew about the same, maybe a little bit less today than it did yesterday. May game was better off the tee and not quite as good with the irons in my hand. I didn't run the tables on the greens like I did yesterday. But I still putted well. Very happy with the 68. I didn't get into too much trouble today and I left some shots out there today, I felt, rather than -- and yesterday -- yesterday was one of those that I made up a lot of shots with good putting. So the two rounds have evened out. Kind of where I should be, I guess.

DAVE SENKO: Birdies, started at No. 2.

TOM WATSON: Yeah, I birdied the second hole. I hit a shot in there with a pitching wedge and made from about -- I made it from about 2 feet there. Actually it, was a little bit longer put -- it was about 25 feet. I hit it just below the little deck there, and I read the putt right and it went up there, and that was a -- that was a gift, you might say, starting off. The fourth hole, I hit a very good shot in there with a 6-iron and I made it from about 15 feet. Straight putt. 5, I bogeyed. I hit 3-wood off the tee and I hit 6-iron just through the green. I hit a lousy chip about ten or 12 feet by and missed that putt. 7, I hit a driver and a 3-iron onto the green. Two putted from just about 30 feet. 9, I missed the green just left with a 7-iron. I hit a lousy chip short and missed it from about six feet. Just down the hill and kind of chugged it. You guys have never chugged it before, have you? Then I hit a real good shot at No. 11. I hit a sand wedge from about 70 yards and made that putt from about a foot and a half, pretty easy. 12, I hit a shot that in the air could have either been a two or a five, and it ended up being a two. The shot was going right at the pin, but the pin was tucked in the very right-hand side of the green. I was not trying to hit it that far right, but it hung right in there on the line and just carried over the top shelf and ran there about ten feet from the hole and made that putt for birdie. If it went -- if it dropped eight feet to the right from where it hit, it would have been in the drink. Yeah, eight feet to the right and it would have been in the water; that was a 6-iron. Next hole hit my best drive of the day, to the back edge of the green where I had no putt. I had no putt really at the hole because I had going up over right-to-left like this and the pin was down in the valley. I hit a good putt for good speed and knocked it down to about eight or ten feet by and then I made the putt coming back for a birdie. No. 14, I got it up-and-down from the right fringe. Made about a 6-foot putt there to save par. 15, I hit a 5-iron short of the pin about 40 feet and then ran my first putt by about eight feet and missed that putt. Actually hit a pretty good putt. Just misread it. 17, I hit a 3-wood off the tee and it stayed short -- 4-wood second shot. Aimed it at the bunker and hit it in the bunker; so I hit a good shot. Good bunker shot out to about six feet and made that putt for birdie. So seven birdies, three bogeys. Could have been a little bit better. Although I made that long putt at 2. But I'm very happy about the way a played today. I played well. I played better off the tee. Yesterday I didn't play that well off the tee. Today, I played better off the tee. I worked on it yesterday for the first day in a long time.

Q. Did you aim at the bunker on 17 because you wanted to spin it at the water there because of the pin?

TOM WATSON: No. I aimed at the bunker because it was a lot safer shot than trying to aim it at that very small slope of green on the right-hand side. So I tried to take the water out of play, which I did. I hit a good shot. That shot in there with a 4-wood is -- well maybe if I was Tiger Woods, I hit a 5-iron from there, but I'm not Tiger Woods.

Q. Your play is terrific, but your predictions are a little shaky.

TOM WATSON: They are pretty bad, aren't they?

Q. You said this is not a 20-under golf course. You've got 14 birdies in two days.

TOM WATSON: Okay. The reason is, the greens are like pool tables. They are fast, but they are true. If you get your stroke going, you feel like you can make from anywhere, if you have a pretty level putt at it. The greens, even though they have some big, big contours to them, if you get on the right level, you're going to have -- typical Nicklaus design -- you're going to have a pretty level putt at it. So if your iron game is on, you're going to get a lot of level putts. Might be 30 feet. But from 30 feet, you feel like you can make it, you give it a good run.

Q. Hale was talking today about aggression, and how once he got more aggressive, he was able to turn it up a little bit. Were you able to do that -- yesterday you were talking about just kind of staying in the middle on this course --

TOM WATSON: I had to pick my spots. I know Hale was hitting on all cylinders today, and when you are like that, I know the feeling. That's when you can be aggressive and you can shoot at those tiny, tough pins. You can shoot at 17 or you can shoot at the pin on No. 12, the par 3. That's when you really have a command. I understand that. I feel that way at times, sure. I've felt that way at times, sure, be aggressive and hit it right at it, sure.

Q. On the regular tour, players would get jacked up to play with you when you were in your heyday. Hale has just been incredibly dominant on the Senior Tour. Does it jack you up to play with him?

TOM WATSON: Sure, it does. He's won three National Opens. As I said a couple weeks ago at the U.S. Senior Opens, Hale is one of those players that you have to beat. You know that going into the tournament. And obviously, right now, I'm tied with him and he's -- there's Larry Nelson in there, who is 7-under. He's right in there. Bruce Fleisher, he's right in there, as well. You know that those three players, the way they have dominated the Tour the last couple years, those are three players that you have to watch out for.

Q. Does the fact that the fairways are a little bit more generous, is that perhaps why the scores might be a little lower, even though it is hard and fast?

TOM WATSON: I think a lot of it does have to do with the fairways, but not because of the width so much, but like you said, they are hard and fast. We are getting a lot of roll on these fairways. We are playing the par 5's, the third hole and the seventh hole, pretty much downwind, so we can get to those greens with irons, and it's -- that makes a difference right there. I think the par 5's are probably -- if you look at the average score on the par 5's, 17 has been playing downwind, as well. The only par 5 playing into the wind is 13, and that's the shortest par 5 on the golf course. So the three par 5s playing downwind -- if you want to look at reasons other than perfect greens, those par 5s downwind make it -- make for some birdies. I still have a heck of a hard time with No. 3. I think that green sits in there cock-eyed like this. I hit the ball too far over there today and then I had to pitch away from the hole. I was probably 80 feet from the hole, but I had to aim it 30 feet left of the pin over here. I couldn't go this way; I had to aim it right over here. It was my own darned fault because I hit it too far.

End of FastScripts....

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