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November 17, 2004

Tom Watson


RODDY WILLIAMS: Tom Watson, thank you very much for coming in to join us here today for the fourth UBS Cup on the course that you've designed. It must be a great honor for you to have the tournament here on this course.

TOM WATSON: It is. The golf course, I think it will hold up. I think we'll see quite a few birdies made. It will be an exciting -- it will be an exciting match from that standpoint. With the weather like it is right now, with the way it's projected to be with very little wind you're going to see a lot of birdies made and there will be a lot of people under par. It's going to be a real, I think a real sprint, you might say, out there.

The greens on the golf course are the biggest challenge. There are a lot of pin positions on the greens which are hard to get to, purposely designed by the designer for events that are like this. And I think all in all, the golf course is in very, very good shape. The greens are rolling beautifully, and as I said before, with the advent of good weather, we're going to find a lot of good scores shot.

RODDY WILLIAMS: The tournament last year was very close, 12 points apiece. How do you see the two teams shaping up this year?

TOM WATSON: Well, it's hard to predict. But when you looked at the Ryder Cup on paper, it looked pretty even, but it didn't come out that way. I think there may be a little bit of thought in the back of the American team's mind to get even, you might say.

Q. What are your thoughts on how the course has matured?

TOM WATSON: I played here actually the opening day that it opened and I haven't been back since. It's matured from the standpoint of the grasses. The grasses, especially in the Dunes, played here before, they were somewhat sparse, and now the various grasses we planted there, it's an experiment sometimes to see how the irrigation works along the edges where you can tie The Dunes in with the rest of the golf course because we have a lot of different grasses out there.

Q. Are you happy with it?

TOM WATSON: I'm exceptionally pleased with it, yes. Although one of the players I played with today asked me, he said, "Must be great to come back here and play your golf course."

And I said, "Well, I've got mixed emotions." I go by this bunker here or go by this green here and say, "Well, I could have done that a little differently or I could have done that better or I do have done this better."

So there's always an element of trying to improve your golf course after it's in the ground. Actually they have done that on the 12th green, we didn't get the 12th green quite right and they went in there and put it to where should have been. And the 17th tee, we built a different 17th tee to give it a little bit better angle off the tee, which we had thought of before, didn't do. Our first thought was the best there. All in all, I'm very pleased with the golf course.

I think it will hold up. I'm just hoping for a 10- or 15-mile-an-hour wind to make it a little bit less straightforward. Right now it's pretty straightforward. The greens are holding well and it doesn't play particularly long.

We can get on that issue, a sidelight. When I built the golf course, it was before the big increase of distance in 2001 with the golf balls. And the bunkers in some aspects, the bunkers are not in proper position, if you're playing that type of championship here. For us old guys, they are still in pretty good position.

Q. I'm sure when you sit down and design, you have something in mind, but does it reflect now what you set out to do, do you think?

TOM WATSON: Let me preface that by saying I shouldn't be using "I". I should be using "we" because there is one particular man, Charlie Arrington, who was very instrumental in doing a majority of the beautiful work on The Dunes and the golf course. We worked very well as a team. The concepts that I had as far as the shots in the holes Charlie made into reality and a beautiful reality. The construction company we used, in particular pat Stewart, who was a shaper, did marvelous work out there to put the detail into the golf course which makes it so appealing to the eye. So it was a team effort and it came out very, very well I thought.

Q. When did you know you were going to play?

TOM WATSON: Thursday last week, yeah. I knew there was a possibility Mark was not going to play. So I called -- after I went through kind of a reversal in my medical -- I was going to have an operation, let's say, and I decided to postpone it defer the operation.

Before I had the operation, I called Craig and said I wasn't going to be able to play because I was going to be rehabbing my hip and my shoulder. After I decided not to have it, I called and they said, "Well, we've already given your spot away."

So I said, no big deal. But I said, "If there's a place, I'd like to play."

Then I heard about a week later or a couple of weeks later that there was a possibility that Mark was not going to be able to play.

Q. The shoulder problems and the hip problems, can you tell us what they were and what you ended up doing?

TOM WATSON: I've got an arthritic left hip and arthritic shoulder is what I've got from just pounding golf balls all my life, and it was something that I thought I could address with an operation, especially my hip, I thought. And actually talking with the surgeon who was going to perform the operation, right at the last moment I asked him the critical question. I said, "Well, can you address all of the pain in my hip?" Namely, the bone spurs that were in my hip.

He said, "I can't get to the bone spurs arthroscopically."

I said, "Well, what the heck am I going having an operation for?"

He said, "Well, have you tried a cortisone shot?"

I said, "Well, let's try that." I tried that for about two weeks and now the hip is book to normal again. Advil works and Vioxx really worked but I don't take Vioxx anymore.

The shoulder was another issue as far as the mechanical part of my shoulder. I had other issues this summer with a nerve problem in my neck which caused a weakening of my right arm. That's gone away. Who knows, that might return, you never know. It's just like a car that has a couple 100,000 miles on it, that's all it is. There's parts that are going to be breaking all the time.

Q. Does having designed the course give you any more of an advantage?

TOM WATSON: Well, I think it does to a certain degree, yeah. I think it gives me an advantage. Any time you build a golf course, you build strategy and you understand where you can hit it and where you can't hit it better than the players who have just seen it for the first few times.

Q. Care he me he can --

TOM WATSON: You'll be driving the ball on the long holes -- no. The amateurs I played with today, John Costas, he's the head of UBS here, he had just a great time. And they had a great time not only because we shot a bunch under par, but just beauty of the golf course and the variety of the golf course.

This golf course has three elements to it. It has The Dunes characteristics that you see starting off on the golf course, starting at 2 through 6 there. Then the other elements are that you have the marsh holes and you also have the holes in the forest. So you have three distinct elements on the golf course.

And it was fun trying to meld it all together so it wasn't -- the golf course had a very good flow to it from a playing standpoint naturally, but also from a visual standpoint. That was done by our construction crew and the efforts that went into the design of it.

Q. How many times were you on site?

TOM WATSON: I was outside here probably 20 times here in the building of the golf course, something like that. So there's a lot of Watson touches, lots of Arrington touches, Stewart touches, Buddy Darby's touch; Buddy the owner of the golf course here. A lot of thought went into it.

Q. How many acres did they just let you have out of the wetlands?

TOM WATSON: I can't answer that. I think all in all, I think somewhere in the 350 to 450 acres, somewhere in that area out of the wetlands, somewhere in that area. They had some room for development but not a lot. You see that one house going up on the back nine there? It's by 14th green there. In fact, there was a bridge out there that was built by the Kuwaitis that owned that, over there by 15 green and 16 tee. You could land a super fortress on that thing. There's an island out there; there's an island that it goes to.

That was originally the plan for them to develop this whole area and go over that to that island. That bridge, it's as wide as this room here. That was built in the 80s. I can't tell you how many acres, that's a good question, but I think I was surprised they didn't have as many as I thought they had. I think it was in the neighborhood of 350 acres or something like that, 400 acres.

If you notice, I hope you don't notice, but there are buffer areas between the wetlands and the playing area, and it's really ryegrass. We had only a 15-foot buffer we had to deal with there on most of it and we put a bunker in there and there was no bunker.

Fun to develop it. There's lots of issues you have to deal with.

Q. Anything on the front nine --

TOM WATSON: I can't tell you. Charlie Arrington could tell you that. I think I asked the question to Bob Gibbons, the guy who works for me who is on-site most of the time, and he said it was I think in the neighborhood of 450,000 to 500,000 yards or something like that.

The original design of the golf course was to take the water that's pumped out of the well on No. 3 and when we got to the water we said, uh-oh, we have lousy water, so now what do we do?

Okay, so we tried a natural system of drainage. We went from three lake, four and back this way towards 13 different water holding areas, thinking that the salts, the temperature of the water -- the water came out of the ground between 90 and 100 degrees, hot. So, okay, we're going to go through the whole filtration system and irrigate out of the lake here by 18. Well, it just didn't work, and the water quality was so poor. So they spent a million bucks to build a water filtration reverse osmosis system to water the golf course.

As I said, it was really great to work with Buddy Darby and his team because he said, all right, let's just build what we can build here and the best we can do it. They have done a great job. The clubhouse site, it's 25 foot lower. The original grade of that land is 25 foot lower. It has a 25-foot fill there. You wouldn't know it. You just kind of -- well, it's just, okay, it's there.

Q. Is your regular caddie here this week?

TOM WATSON: No. I'm using a local guy here, Adam Hughes is his name. I called up Buddy and I said, "Buddy, get me a caddie." He said, "All right, I've got you one."

End of FastScripts.

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