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October 24, 2003

Tom Watson


PHIL STAMBAUGH: Once again today, back nine, very good to you and we looked it up, you're 10-under on the back nine and 10-under for the tournament.

TOM WATSON: 10-under and even par on the front nine.

PHIL STAMBAUGH: A couple thoughts on today's round.

TOM WATSON: Again I started off and I hit ball close to the hole and didn't make any putts except the first hole. Made a putt at the first hole again and birdied the first hole -- this is my bad luck hole. I birdie the first one and don't make another one for a while.

8, I hit it just in front of the green in two in the bermudarough, and knew I had to hit it harder out of that and left it short. Chipped it out about three feet and didn't even sniff it.

9, I knocked it on the green about 30 feet past and 3-putted. Now I'm back to 3-par after playing some pretty good golf. But I have exactly the same feeling as I have yesterday. Started off on the back side with the two par 5s, just thinking that, well, if I play half decently, I can shoot 4-under par; again that was my target, 4-under.

I started with the birdie at 11, hit a good shot in there at 11. I missed a real short birdie putt at 12, hit it nice and close and missed it.

13, two good shots and chipped to a gimmee birdie there. Then I made a no-brainer. I made up for some of the putts I missed at 14, the par 3. I played a 3-iron to just about 35 feet in the right fringe. I made the putt coming just down the hill there. Thought I missed the putt to the right but misread it. I hit it right where I wanted. I didn't hit it where I wanted to. I hit it right of where I wanted to and it broke a little more, and thank-you-very-much.

16, a good drive, a 4-wood about six feet from the hole for an eagle.

17, I did not make a hole-in-one. I hit it over the green, skulled my chip by about ten feet and holed it. That putt I hit it exactly where I wanted to.

18, I hit a lousy 2-iron off the tee but got a break in the rough, I had a real good lie and hit a 6-iron about ten feet from the hole. Again I read the putt well. And it was a slight right-to-left and it went right in the hole.

So I read the putts well the last three holes, which was -- I guess that gets me going for tomorrow because I've been having a hard time reading the putts. And Bruce is having a hard time reading the putts. We misread the putts together the first few days quite a bit.

PHIL STAMBAUGH: Are you gaining more knowledge on this course.

TOM WATSON: The wind is slightly different. It came from a slightly different direction, but it didn't play much havoc with you. The knowledge of the golf course, again, is in the putting. And without putting these greens a lot, I don't think you're going to get too educated on these greens. These greens are tough to putt. I said yesterday they are difficult because they are level. There's a lot of levelness to them and just slight breaks, long, long breaks and you might have another break that comes into play that you just don't see.

I hit one putt today that looked opposite of the way I wanted to, the way I thought it was going to break. These greens fool you.

Q. Have you won any majors with the Ping putter you're using now?

TOM WATSON: I've won the senior majors, yes. This summer I used the senior majors -- I used it at the British Senior Open and the Tradition. This is a back-up putter that was stolen back in the mid 80s, the one that I used when I won all of those tournaments back in the late 70s and 80s, early 80s.

Never found that putter. This is a replica.

Q. Do you feel there's any advantage to any of the players this being a four-day event versus three days?

TOM WATSON: Well, the one disadvantages I have is that Thorpy predicted 24-under par is going to win the tournament and he's well on his way for 24-under par and I'm way behind there. So, who knows. I've got to catch Jim, and Jim's playing with -- he likes the golf course obviously and he's not -- he's not afraid of hitting the shots where he has to hit it on this golf course.

Q. He's played it very aggressively, will that catch up with him at some point?

TOM WATSON: You don't know. He certainly has made, he's gotten off to a strong lead. And with the three 3-putts that I've had and a lot of the missed short putts, maybe I can -- tomorrow maybe I can make it up on the front nine, have the same back nine and have a real good round under my belt.

Q. If I remember in '81 at Marion, Jim was one of the leaders one day and George Burns another day. We were having a lot of fun with famous names. 20-something years later, how much better of a golfer is he, and we've talked so much about Tiger Woods and African-American golfers, etc., and you look at Jim and Jim Dent, who on your tour are basically full-time, did you play with them before and do you think they have improved considerably over the years?

TOM WATSON: I played with Jim Dent and I played with -- I played with Charlie Sifford, Jim Dent and Lee Elder. I played quite a bit of golf with those guys back in the 70s and the 80s.

Jim Thorpe right now, he's playing a lot and he's playing well. He's had a great year. He finished right up there and it's Top-5 just about every event. He's really -- he's played very, very good golf.

As far as his ability to play, I think it's getting better because he's played a lot, and being able to win, and get the feeling that he can win when the pressure is on. That's important. And when you're playing and you come down the stretch and you don't win, that eats on you and that makes you more nervous the next time you go out to play. You put yourself in that position, David Duval, myself, there's a lot of people in the history of the game that had to learn how to win. You put yourself in the position, you finally do it and then you finally understand how to deal with those feelings that you have. And Jim is doing the same thing right now.

Q. If I remember, the '75 Western Open --

TOM WATSON: '75 is the first one --

Q. You struggled in those two Opens --

TOM WATSON: That would be '75, '74 and '75.

Q. You withdrew and then won the British Open in '75 and things just all turned around.

TOM WATSON: Well, things sort of really turned around in '77 for me. But I had to learn how to win and I subscribed the same thing to Jim, or I ascribe it to Jim, he's had to learn how to win. Now it's easier for him. It's not a question.

Q. Setting aside the putting woes, are you doing everything from tee-to-green that you want to?

TOM WATSON: I've hit a lot of good shots. Of course the golf course is playing at it's easiest as far as no wind. When you don't have any wind on this golf course -- do you have some elevation changes on this golf course that if we had wind, without having to putt with -- with not having played it but just three times, it would be difficult to judge. I misjudged it on 17 today, I asked Bobby Watkins, did you hit 9? He hit 9 to the back end of the green, 140 yards, a little bit downhill but I thought the breeze was back in my face and stepped on a 9-iron and flew it to the back edge, another 55 yards. So that was a misjudge there. You add a 10 -, 15-, or 20-mile-an-hour wind, now you've got your work cut out for you on this golf course.

Q. Any advantages and disadvantages playing being paired with Jim Thorpe tomorrow?

TOM WATSON: I always like to play with the guys that I have to beat. It's like Sam Snead says: You can look at them and see how they are handling it. And tells you what you have to do.

1, I hit 3-wood and pitching wedge about 20 feet and holed the putt.

7, I hit a 6-iron to about ten feet and holed the putt.

11, I hit drier, sand wedge to about three feet and holed the putt.

End of FastScripts.

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