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November 4, 2000

Tom Watson


PHIL STAMBAUGH: Okay. Tom Watson with 5-under par 67, but had six birdies on his back nine today, and is currently 12-under and one back heading into tomorrow. Just some general thoughts on your play?

TOM WATSON: Well, general thoughts is that I've had some pretty good play and streaks, and some pretty good putting streaks. I've had some pretty bad putting streaks, too, in the three rounds I've played, and today was no different. I had started off and I didn't make any putts the first nine holes; I made nine straight pars. I bogeyed 10. And I said, you know, I'm looking at Hubert make something good strokes out there, I'm going to change my position here a little bit and see if I can get that feel that I had when I won about a year ago in Dallas. And I moved my hands a little farther behind the ball, or farther behind in the head and I started make something putts. And lo and behold, six holes in a row made birdies and made good putts on all of the holes, and I made a good par putt on 17. Made it probably from about 10 feet for par there, after knocking it by from about 45, 50 feet. So, I had seven good putts in a row that I made, and I made six birdies in a row, which is the most I've ever made in a row. So there's a first for Watson here. Obviously, being 6-under par after 10 and looking at the leaderboard and seeing the guys up there, it was kind of now or never. And that first birdie went in and the second birdie went in and I said, "Now, let's see if I can just run the table on the back nine," and almost did.

Q. That six in a row, is that at any level?

TOM WATSON: I've had -- I've been 8-under after 10 and I've been 7-under after eight at a time, but I've never had -- in a row, I've never had six in a row.

PHIL STAMBAUGH: If you could just take us through the back nine. Tell us what happened through 10 and then take us through your birdies.

TOM WATSON: At 10, I hit a good 3-wood out there and I had about 150 yards to the flag and I pushed an 8-iron to the right down where I really had a tough shot and hit a pretty good flop shot up there about 20 feet from the hole and missed that putt and made bogey. 11, I hit a good drive. I hit a pitching wedge from -- what was it about -- it was 114 yards. I hit it about 113 yards and hit the pin on the first bounce. Got black paint on the ball. Spun back about four or five feet and made the putt. And then 12, I knocked -- I hit the driver in the left rough, but I hit a good shot out of the left rough about, oh, six or seven feet from the hole and made a good putt there coming down the hill. Par 3, I made it -- I hit a 5-iron in about 20 feet to the right of the hole and made that putt for birdie. 15, I hit a pitching wedge -- I'm sorry. I hit a sand wedge to about -- I'd say about 15 to 18 feet and made that putt for birdie. It wasn't a very good sand wedge shot, but I made a good putt and read it right. Everything worked out right there. And then on 16, I hit a sand wedge again after a 3-wood and I made it from about -- I'd say I made that from about 18 feet. So I made some long putts out there. One of the things that makes it easier, today, versus the first two days, is that we had a cloud cover today. Playing in these pines -- I don't know if you've ever played this golf course, but with the shadows, with old eyes and shadows, it is hard to read putts, it really is, when you're going from bright spots to shady spots to shady spots. And it's tough the first couple of times -- at times to get a good read. And today since there were no shadows, it made it a lot easier to read putts. Oh, I missed 14. See, that's why I'm on the SENIOR TOUR. Hit a good drive and 2-iron just missed the green to the right. Pitched it about six feet from the hole and made the putt for birdie. And the next two holes I hit sand wedges and made about 18-foot putts there.

Q. The 40-foot birdie putt, did that --

TOM WATSON: Yeah, I wanted -- I said, what the heck, don't leave it short, and so I did; and I knocked it 10 feet by but I made it coming back. That was the key. The last hole I hit two good shots and I hit a lousy chip shot. I had it sitting down in the Bermuda rough.

Q. Have you enjoyed this year on the Senior Tour, and is your plan to maybe play more in the latter half of the year?

TOM WATSON: I usually don't play very much at this time of year. I'm going to be playing -- although, I'm going to be playing the Father/Son. I'm going down to Argentina and playing in an exhibition there for three days there. And I'll be playing in the Hyundai, which is the old Diners Club, with Jack Nicklaus. So we're going to do some made-for-TV events, and that's going to be fun. I can't wait to play with my son. So, I'll be playing up through the middle of December. Next year, my plans, I'll probably play a few more tournaments, but I may play one or two tournaments on the regular PGA TOUR. So, I'll be playing three out of the four majors for sure. I played all four majors this year. I'll play all in all about 21 events total this year, with all of the events I'm playing.

Q. When you have a run like this, and you think about your finish at the PGA this year, does that maybe keep your eye a little more on the regular tour than this tour, or do you feel sometimes caught between which one you want to be on when you have a run like this?

TOM WATSON: I don't have any delusions about the regular tour. I still feel that I can play at times with the kids. I'm hitting the ball shorter than I have -- I started to lose my distance a couple years ago. I had good distance up into 1997 and '98 and '99 and this year, I have lost some distance. So, I need Barney to make me a better driver, and we'll see what happens. It makes a difference how far you hit it out there. I used to be one of the longest on the regular tour, and it is awfully tough to do well out there, unless you're -- unless you're up there in the length department, or you're a great, great putter.

Q. What are your overall impressions looking back on this year in the senior events?

TOM WATSON: Well, I've played -- I've played 13 senior events. I finished second in four of them. I'd like to finish -- this will be my 13th event and I'd like to finish first in one of them.

Q. Have you been surprised at the quality of the players out here?

TOM WATSON: No. It doesn't surprise me at all. You look at Hale Irwin, Larry Nelson, Bruce Fleisher earlier in the year before he got injured. These guys are top-notch players. Hey, they don't miss too many shots. They don't make too many mistakes out there. We play shorter golf courses, so you could -- you're not going to miss a lot of greens, and you make a couple mistakes, and you're back. You're back against the quality of players that we have at the top of the list here. But it doesn't surprise me. Without a question, it doesn't surprise me. If Jack Nicklaus says that these guys can play out here, you've got to listen to Jack.

Q. Would you tell us about how -- the galleries haven't been as big as the regular tour, but did you notice the crowd today?

TOM WATSON: The crowd was bigger today.

Q. Did you notice when you were on the birdie run the crowd growing?

TOM WATSON: It was nice. They were bigger today. Hopefully, we don't get too much rain tomorrow to keep them away and we can get a good turnout tomorrow.

Q. 6-under after 10, is there any indication you're about to go, or after you made the first couple of birdies do you feel like you're starting to get on a roll?

TOM WATSON: You get a little PO'd at yourself when you get to 6-under par and you've hit some pretty decent shots and you haven't made any putts. And sometimes, just a little change, and I just said -- just make a little change in the putting stroke, the address position and it worked and went with that for the rest of the day. And that's one of the great feelings in life is when you know you're going to step up to that putt and you're going to make it.

Q. Do you feel like when you go on the tee tomorrow, you've won eight major championships, do you feel you have any advantage over Thompson or Jacobs?

TOM WATSON: Those guys will be blowing it by me. I'll be hitting first; maybe I can put some pressure on them.

Q. Do you feel like you have any advantage with your past Tour experience?

TOM WATSON: I don't think there's a lot that can be said for past Tour experience. It's just how you do -- how you do when you have to do it. I've never been one to look back and say, well, these guys are -- they are scared of you or they are nervous just like I am. Sometimes I'm more nervous than they are. Sometimes I'm less nervous than they are. It just depends on how you wake up that next morning. That's the way I look at it.

End of FastScripts....

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