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October 26, 2003

Tom Watson


PHIL STAMBAUGH: 67 was not good enough to overtake Jim Thorpe today, but you did go ahead and accomplish the goal of winning the Charles Schwab Cup overall competition. Congratulations on both those accounts. A few comments about the day.

TOM WATSON: It looked as if Thorpe was going to leave the door open all day until he holed that putt at 16. He made it look pretty easy tee-to-green. He was knocking the ball close to the hole, but missing every putt he had and I was inching up on him every time. I had the opportunity. It seems when I made mine, he didn't, so I got within one shot of him and that was extinguished on 16 and then his birdie at 17 to make it 3 shots.

He deserved it because of the way he played today. He didn't putt very well, but they went in for him when it mattered, on 16 and 17, and that's the ball game. I didn't play as well today, yesterday or today, as I did the first two rounds, played tee-to-green on the first two rounds as I did today. I kept it in there today with a couple of good up-and-downs and 5-under par, no bogeys. I'm pretty happy with that.

Q. Did you know where you stood in relationship to the money list and Schwab Cup standings?

TOM WATSON: The money list, Bruce had to tell me. I had to finish second to Jim. I had to do that in order to win the money title, and that's what happened. I'm grateful to people like Chuck Schwab, what he does for us in the game to create a money making situation for us and this is what it is. We're professionals, we're out here playing for money, and this is just the cream. When you play well for a year, you make a heck of a lot of money.

What I'm going to do with that money this year, I'm going to use it for my foundation, through which I'm going to fund ALS Research and ALS Patient Services, and assorted other charities which I yearly give quite a bit of money to. It will allow me to give more money to those charities that I normally give to. I'm going to focus on ALS for my buddy and pal, Bruce.

Q. On that topic, had you told Bruce that's what you were going to do with the money or was that a surprise announcement to him?

TOM WATSON: No, I didn't tell him. I didn't tell him. I wanted to make sure I won it first.

Q. All in all, Tom, this was the Champions Tour first time at Sonoma Golf Club. Were you pleased with the condition of the golf course?

TOM WATSON: I was very pleased with the condition of the golf course. The greens, they got firmer today. They're a little inconsistent with the way the ball bounced. It takes local knowledge to understand that. Obviously the weather was perfect, 20-under par wins the golf tournament, it's four shots higher than what Thorpe predicted, but that's what I expected on the golf course.

If you drove the ball well on the golf course, you were going to shoot low numbers. It's not an easy driving golf course. You had to really thread the needle on four or five tee shots out there to get yourself in position on the par 5s to go for it. All in all the condition of the golf course was excellent, with the exception of some of the inconsistencies on the green, I think that's more local knowledge.

The other thing both Jim and I, and Stadler, talked about was the difficulty in reading the greens. It had nothing to do with the smoothness of the greens, but maybe there is something to this valley effect. Everything goes down to Sonoma, and it was a little bit of a tilt all the time on this lay of the land here. I know my chip shot on 16, I swear that thing was uphill. That thing ran right on by. I was surprised. Then when Tom Jenkins hit his shot. I thought it was short, and the ball rolled right up there like it was a level putt. So there had to be something to the valley effect on those particular shots.

Getting back to the point, local knowledge, the more we play the golf course, the more we're going to understand it. This was our rookie week out there. We made a lot of mistakes out there. A lot of putts were missed because you couldn't read the greens.

Q. It's obvious you have tremendous affection for Bruce. How do you imagine the friendship? Is it a deep friendship? Is it the feeling one would have for a brother?

TOM WATSON: It's a trust.

Q. That one would have for a best friend or a brother?

TOM WATSON: A best friend trust. You can't get any better than that.

Q. (Inaudible)

TOM WATSON: Trust in all things. As I said at his wedding, he doesn't have a mean bone in his body. He has some problems. He roots for the Eagles when they play the Chiefs, or the Phillies when they play the Royals. I have a real problem with him then, but he's a true sports fan. He loves the Tour, loves his family out here. It's sad. It's sad to see him withdraw because he can't talk, and that's what's happening.

Q. Could you share with us what you said to him after putting out on 18? You had a quick conversation with him then.

TOM WATSON: He then told me, he said, "Well, you won the money title." I said, "I did?" Because I thought if Thorpe won, I wasn't going to win. He checked it out. He's a great sports fan. He gets paid a little bit of money from it, too, so that's what he told me. I said that's great, because if I win the money title, most likely I will get an invitation to play the Senior skins game in Hawaii and we'll make a nice vacation, the MasterCard Championship and the Skins Game. Bring your wife over there and we'll have a great time.

Q. You are known as being a good sport for coming up short like this. How tough is it to see Jim Thorpe roll in a 70-footer for eagle and your 67-and-a-half foot putt for birdie?

TOM WATSON: I've done it a lot to other people in my career. He was due. This game is about things evening out. It just evened out for him. He played a lot better than I did today. I was unfortunate because I inched up on him. I made a few putts, he missed everything. He made a birdie putt at eight, a short birdie putt, he 3-putted seven, I think. He was just miserable on the greens. It just turned around. Things evened out for him. That putt, when I came off the green, I said, well, that evens things out a bit for all those putts you missed on the front nine.

Q. Charles Schwab was in here earlier. He talked about not minding this being a permanent spot for this event. Being a northern California guy, how do you feel about that?

TOM WATSON: We had great crowds. We had perfect weather. We're not going to see this weather again, I don't think. This is beautiful weather. The growers are loving this for their late harvest.

PHIL STAMBAUGH: Let's go through your birdies.

TOM WATSON: Five birdies. I birdied the first hole, driver and a wedge about 10 feet, made the putt.

I skulled my sand wedge on the second hole over the green and I got it up and down, good chip shot down about three feet.

8th hole, I hit a good drive, 3-wood in the left bunker. I hit a good shot out about three feet for a birdie there.

10, I got it up and down. I hit the wrong club for my second shot, an 8-iron instead of a 9, and hit it through the green to the right, and made a very good chip down to about two feet from the hole.

12, I hit it about six inches with a pitching wedge.

13, I got a good break off the tee. I pulled it. It ended up a good lie in the left rough. I was standing on the cart path, a 4-wood on the green, 2-putted about 70 feet for a birdie.

Then at 16, I hit a good drive down there, 3-wood fat and rolled down the hill and I hit that chip shot I was telling you about that ran by about 12 feet and there was a putt that Bruce read correctly. I thought the putt was going to break right to left and he said no, it's straight. I played it straight and it went right in the hole. We missed on a few reads this week, but that was a good read by Bruce right there.

That was the round. Nothing real exciting, except the up-and-down at 10 was a good up-and-down. I needed that to stay in the hunt. And Thorpe missed another short birdie there. He kept leaving the door open. The door was -- left open all around until the loud slam at 16.

Q. On the PGA Tour, when you often follow final groups, leaders rarely talk to each other, at least from my observation. Jim Thorpe talked a lot today, seeming like you were playing a practice round?

TOM WATSON: Jim likes to talk. It keeps him loose. One thing I did say to him. It really wasn't a needle or anything like that. On 18, I played with him yesterday, he hit a driver off the tee, and I said that's the wrong play. If he hit it too far -- you'd hit it down there behind the tree if you hit a perfect drive. He rattled it through the tree, through the bunker, and made bogey. I see him with an iron in his hand teeing off today. I said, Thorpe, putt that away and hit your driver again. His caddie didn't like me saying that. I was sticking the needle in him a little bit. He said, No, man, and hit his iron. We talked a little bit today. He's a fun guy to play golf with. I enjoy Jim. He's got a lot of talent.

Q. (Can Bruce still play golf?)

TOM WATSON: He can't play golf anymore. When Bruce could play, he was a great putter. He played a game called the snake game. Anyone here play the snake game? You know what the snake game is? The last guy to 3-putt has to pay everybody else the number of 3-putts that everybody has in the group that day, whatever their playing for for 3-putts. If you're playing dollar 3-putts and there are nine or ten 3-putts, the last hole, if you 3-putt the last hole, you've got the snake and you pay everybody ten bucks. He was always good in that game.

I won't be at the father/son. My son has exams this year, a week early. I'll see you in Hawaii.

End of FastScripts.

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