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July 27, 2003

Tom Watson


PHIL STAMBAUGH: An exciting day of golf. You join Bob Charles as the only other player to win the Open Championship and the Senior British Open at the same venue. Congratulations.

TOM WATSON: Thank you. As I said out there on the 18th hole, it was -- I got lucky to win. I've said this all week, my putter has been magical all week this week. I must have made ten putts over 20 feet this week. I holed a sand wedge at 10 for eagle.

The leader of the tournament made a double-bogey on the last hole to let me have a chance, and it's almost destiny that that happened, I don't know. I know I was trying my darnedest down there to hit every shot, but it certainly wasn't as pretty as Carl was playing. He played very, very well the first two rounds. I'm sure he played well today again and made very few mistakes except for the last hole.

As a result, I got in the playoff, with kind of the Watson of old where I made just a lot of long putts, kind of scrambled around, kind of stayed in the tournament and relied on my short game and my putting to see me through, which it did.

Q. One club too much at 18?

TOM WATSON: One club too much. I hit a 3-iron shot. It was a right-to-left wind. I tried to cut the ball back into it, which I did, but it was just a little bit too hot. It was a fluffy lie, but I just had to try to just get it to trickle over the hill to get it close. I got a little bit too cute with it and didn't hit it quite hard enough.

PHIL STAMBAUGH: Tom, why don't you just take us through the round, if you could.

TOM WATSON: Seems such a long time ago now. I started off with birdie the first hole. I hit a drive and a sand wedge to about 12 feet and made the putt.

No. 4, I hit a 9-iron, made it from about 22 feet from behind the hole.

9, I hit a bad drive, one of the only bad drives I've hit all week, but hit it left where you're supposed to hit it. Hit a pitching wedge that ran up to the back edge of the green and I holed it from 30 feet for birdie.

10, I hit a 4-iron down to the bottom of the hill. Hit a sand wedge from 111 yards. Took one bounce and then it hit the flag dead-center went right in, slam dunk.

13, I hit the drive in the left rough, came up short of the green and hit a lousy chip about 30 feet past and made that putt for par.

16, I got a good break. I pulled my pitching wedge. It ran up the side of the hill and ran about 40 feet down the side of the hill and made that putt for birdie.

17, I hit a drive in the right rough. I pull-hooked a 3-wood from the rough way left up near the tee of 18, just past the tee. I hit a sand wedge about 30 feet from the hole and holed that putt for birdie.

18, I hit a 2-iron off the tee. I didn't hit it very well. I hit behind it. I hit a 3-iron for my second shot and ran it over the green, chipped it with a sand wedge short, putted it up just by the hole and made the putt for bogey.

Q. Did you feel it was destiny this week?

TOM WATSON: Well, this week, no. I didn't feel like I was striking the ball well enough to win, but I felt like I was putting the ball well enough to win. If I could keep from making too many mistakes with my long game, I was going to hang in there. I just kept on believing I was going to make every putt I looked at, and that's exactly what happened. I hope this feeling lasts for a long time but I know it won't.

Q. Were you expecting another second place?

TOM WATSON: I certainly was, yes. After bogeying the last hole, I expected second place. In fact, I said it to American TV, I said, "This is getting tiresome finishing second." I didn't expect Carl to make the mistake he did or the couple mistakes he did on the last hole.

Q. Do you think realistically you've got another major left in you?

TOM WATSON: Well, I played well enough in one round this year, a couple rounds this year at the British Open and another round at the U.S. Open. But that doesn't make it -- that was three rounds out of eight, and I had five other rounds that weren't so good. So in one round, yes. Two rounds, yes. Three or four rounds, probably not. But I still can hope, can't I? I still can dream it.

Q. Have you spoken to Bruce?

TOM WATSON: I'll speak to him tonight. I take it he's probably watching.

TOM WATSON: He told me I was going to come over here and win this thing without him. He said, "That's about right," he said. "You're going to go over there and win the British Senior Open without me."

I said, "I'll do it for you, pal."

Q. Given that subplot, where does this victory rank for you?

TOM WATSON: It's hard to rank them. You know, this is a beautiful trophy and it means a lot for me to win again in Scotland. You know, the Scottish people understand the game. I've always said it, they love their game, they play it with the seriousness that my dad used play it and I've always respected that. It's part of the fabric of life in Scotland here. This symbolizes the way I try to play the game, right here.

Q. Will you be back to defend?

TOM WATSON: I will be here -- I won't be here. I'll be at Portrush. Looking forward to it. Portrush is a course that I've heard a lot about. It's supposed to be a very, very good, good links golf course. Ben Crenshaw said it's one of his favorites. Coming from the historian, I give that a lot of credit.

Q. What is it you love most about links golf?

TOM WATSON: Well, I think it's fun to play links golf because you have to deal with landing the ball short of the green, getting the ball the right weight. I've always prided myself at being able to get the right weight, to get the right distance, whether you land the ball short of the green or not. Putting the ball, long putts, get the ball up pin-high, and that's the essence of links golf, getting the right weight. You throw in the wind and the unlucky bounces -- I didn't like it at first. I honestly didn't. I like that ball going through the air and stopping. But I finally relented four or five years into links golf and said I'd better start liking this game and play it the way I used to on as a kid, bouncing the ball on the greens. Don't try to make a shot harder than it is.

Q. You didn't do too badly when you didn't like it?

TOM WATSON: That's right. That's a good observation. I almost won at St. Andrews in '78. I had a good chance there when Jack won.

Q. In what way was Bruce with you today?

TOM WATSON: Well, Bruce was with me today because all those putts went in, that shot at 10 in. Although you don't pull for a guy to make a mistake, he probably had something to do with Carl's demise on the 18th hole after I made bogey.

Q. Who was your caddie?

TOM WATSON: Neil Oxman. He caddied a little bit on the Tour. He's a political consultant. He wins elections for the democratic party in the United States.

Q. Did you get any words of encouragement from Jack today?

TOM WATSON: Jack, encouragement? I didn't see him today. I just saw him this morning as he came back from breakfast.


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