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June 28, 2015

Tom Watson


THE MODERATOR: Tom Watson, 1 under, 69. 5 under for the Championship.

Q. A nice finish and a good way to --
TOM WATSON: Yeah. First of all, the golf course was in marvelous shape. It was a good, really good USGA Open test. Rough was tough. Greens, you had to hit quality iron shots, which that was my weakness this week. I didn't hit enough quality iron shots. But I drove the ball beautifully, I putted well, and I chipped the ball well. Except for today, I didn't chip the ball very well today, but the other days, I did. All in all, it was an above average week for me. I drove the ball just great and putted the ball well. So if I can get my iron game just a little bit sharper, I'll be going into St. Andrews with some positive vibes.

Q. Ask you about that, how this sets up for your feelings for St. Andrews and having a good week there.
TOM WATSON: It's certainly not going to be this hot. Probably will be a little windier. But the greens of St. Andrews, I've said you have -- when you -- you'll hit a lot of good shots, and you'll be 60 feet away. You're going to have a lot of long putts. It's imperative that week to have really good speed with your putts, good weight, and keep it out of the bunkers. The bunkers are death. If you add strong wind in there, that's a tough golf course to handle.

Q. Starting the round, Tom, did you think of a number you might need to get to?
TOM WATSON: Well, I thought 7 -- 6 or 7 under par, something like that, would be right there. But these guys had different thoughts out there today. They've played awfully well, and they lit it up. The finish is really tough. The last three holes are really tough here. You have to drive the ball on the fairway, both at 16 and 18. You have to hit a quality iron shot at 17. It makes you play good, solid golf with long clubs in your hand on the last three holes of the Open Championship to win it.

Q. When you made the putt at 18, you had some emotion there. What was that like, just to finish that way?
TOM WATSON: It's great to be able to finish with a putt like that and get under par for the day. I struggled with a couple of bad iron shots in the front nine and a couple bad chips. But just I didn't hit it close enough to the hole. But I take away a lot of things. I made three good putts today. I made a good putt at 10, 12 and 18. I drove the ball well. I think I missed -- I might have missed a couple fairways, but one was just in the short cut. That was it. The driver was really my friend this week, and going into this, I knew I had to drive the ball well, after playing the practice rounds. This course is set up as a USGA event. If you hit the ball in the rough, you're going to be penalized.

Q. One of your best driving weeks in a long time?
TOM WATSON: Oh, yeah. It's the best by far that I've had in several years. I drove the ball beautifully.

Q. You said you played above average. Is it disappointing not to win? You obviously gave yourself a great chance.
TOM WATSON: My iron play was below average. Short iron game is pretty fair, with the exception of the shot I laid the turf over the ball at No. 6. But my short iron game was good this week. Outside of my wedge play, my iron play wasn't all that hot. Hit some good shots at the 12th hole with the water. I had four good shots there. I was proud of that. The shots into 13, to 3, the shot to 5, I hit some just really, really well below average shots.

Q. What about the adrenaline? Beyond the shot analysis, just to get yourself in position like you did Thursday and Friday, to give yourself you chance on the weekend?
TOM WATSON: I start out, and I even parred the front nine, and I start making some birdies and, hey, lo and behold, here I am. I'm the leader. And I knew that I was driving the ball well. If I could just get the irons somewhere on the club face. That wasn't to be most of the time this week. So hit some decent irons on the back nine today. I had a really good shot at 14, hit my best iron on that hole. Again, it's a tough golf course. It's tough to hold the ball on the greens. 13, 3, just knock you over the green on those holes, and I just didn't have the ball up in the air with enough spin, even though I was trying to.

Q. How hard will you prepare between now and St. Andrews? Is it a balancing act between getting worn out and getting ready?
TOM WATSON: No, actually, I've pretty well been able to pace myself pretty well in preparation. I do prepare. I hit a number of golf balls. I hit a lot of golf balls, and I'm in good shape right here after this week. I was tired yesterday after, but today, I was in great shape. My body was perfect today.

Q. Do you think that the extra training you've been doing helping you out?
TOM WATSON: I think so. The training has helped. I prepare for these tournaments. I get ready for them. I just don't go and not prepare. That's not me. I've got to prepare. If I'm going to play competitive golf, I've got to show up. I have to have some semblance of readiness.

Q. Given your knowledge of St. Andrews and so forth, I wanted to ask you about Jordan Spieth's chances there. He's a good long putter. You mentioned you'll have a lot of long putts. Third leg of the Grand Slam he's looking at. You've seen him play as the Ryder Cup captain and so forth. Assessment of him?
TOM WATSON: Jordan obviously has the game to win there. The main thing is to prepare properly there. St. Andrews is a very difficult golf course to understand, very difficult. There are several holes, like No. 12. 12 is a very hard hole to understand. There's other holes, 17. You've got to understand how to play 17. You've got to understand how to play 2 and 4 and know how the shot reacts at 5, the long shot going into the green. You've got to know all these things. I think he said, if I'm not mistaken, he said he's going to really prepare hard there. He's going to do a lot of preparation there.

Q. Good head for the game, though, for a young kid.
TOM WATSON: Yeah, he's an adult. He's mature. I like his fire. I like his fire. I like his grit. I like the way he thinks.

Q. What do you expect of yourself at St. Andrews?
TOM WATSON: Well, if I can get my iron game in decent shape and -- actually, it's got to be more than decent. It's got to be in good shape. Driving the ball well. If I get the iron game in good shape and I'm putting well, I give myself a fair chance to at least make the cut and to do well there.

Q. We would not be surprised. Something technical with the iron swing versus the driver swing that's off?
TOM WATSON: I think I'm picking it up a little bit. I think I'm just too steep on my backswing. I get in that habit sometimes.

Q. Going back to the book again one more time?
TOM WATSON: Yeah, but it's -- as I said earlier in the week, I've hit some pretty good shots, but I'm not hitting consistently. I'm just not consistently hitting the shot where it should be on the club face. It's just not good. So maybe rocking off my right -- hitting the inside of my right foot, I thought about that today. Hit some practice shots there and attempted to lean a little bit right. I think that may be just a little bit going this way, just getting the outside of that foot and getting sloppy. You hit behind the ball doing that. That's one thing that I've thought about today that I'll put into practice tomorrow when I'm starting to get ready.

Q. The rest feel about right going in?
TOM WATSON: The driving, the putting, the short game is good. So I've got a lot of positives looking forward to The Open Championship. I've got a lot of positives.

Q. Does anybody look at your swing now that Stan's gone?
TOM WATSON: My son, and he's on my bag. He's going to be caddie for me.

Q. That will be fun. Thank you very much.
TOM WATSON: Thank you, gentlemen.
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