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June 27, 2003

Tom Watson


RAND JERRIS: Tom, a nice round of 72 today to follow up on yesterday's 66. Maybe could you just start us off by talking a little bit about your expectations as you stepped up to the first tee today and did you accomplish your objectives.

TOM WATSON: Sure. Well, I was thinking, just put the ball in the fairway and see if we can get the ball close enough to the hole to make a few putts today. And I did put the ball in the fairway but I didn't get the ball very close to the hole. That was my problem. I was a long way away and as a result I 3-putted, 3-putted the first hole from the back of the green and not a very good first putt there and a lousy second putt. It got me off to a bad start and I finished with a bogey on the last hole and you don't like to do that. You start with a bogey and finish with a bogey, that's -- you don't like to do that. But I did play well enough today, I put the ball in play off the tee very well. Play was pretty scratchy, not very good and left me a lot of long putts, 30 to 40 to 50 feet. You don't want those types of putts on these greens.

RAND JERRIS: Could you take a moment to walk us through the birdies and bogeys on your card.

TOM WATSON: Sure. First hole bogey, hit a the 2-iron and I hit a 7-iron, I think. 2 and an 8-iron. No; 2-iron and 7-iron. Put the 7-iron on the back fringe of the green, backed it by about eight feet and then missed it coming back. Made bogey there.

8, I hit a real good drive. I had 240-some-odd yards to the pin, knocked it about eight feet, made the putt for eagle.

Next hole I hit a driver in the right fairway bunker. I had a clean lie, knocked it on the green and 3-putted from about 30 feet. I left my first putt, oh, about five feet short.

10, I hit a 2-iron and a 9-iron about 15 feet from the hole, made that putt for birdie.

15, I hit a 7-iron for my second shot from the fairway and I pushed it just a little bit right in the bunker and now I'm dead. That's one place you don't want to miss it on 15 is to the right and that's where I missed it.

And I hit my bunker shot out about 30 feet and knocked that by about two feet and that 2-footer had about six inches of break. That pin was on quite a slope there today.

And No. 18, I hit a 9-iron over the green from the fairway and in the back bunker, I blasted out about 15 feet and just missed the putt there, made bogey there. So it wasn't much excitement out there for me today. Nothing excited to go write about. So let's talk about the Mudhens.

RAND JERRIS: Thank you. We'll take some questions out here.

Q. Tom, I heard you say outside that the greens were softer, obviously, after the rain last night and a little easier to get close to. You didn't take advantage of it, but not a lot of the field did; were you surprised that there weren't more low scores today because of the conditions might have allowed it?

TOM WATSON: No, because the golf course still, with the greens being as severe as they are, it's very difficult to make birdies out there. This is not a golf course where you go and you hit it ten feet from the hole and you have a straight putt at the hole. You have a 10-foot putt and it may break two feet. And, you know, that's the problem. That's the problem you face playing Inverness. The same if the greens are soft; can you get the ball to the hole, you still have a lot of break with the putts. Enter the fact that most of the players here haven't played here very much, and this is a brand new golf course so they don't know the intricacies of the golf course. This is my fourth championship here and I know a little bit more about the golf course than most of the guys who play here, I guess. It does help me, I think, but it didn't help me in a couple of holes today: No. 1, No. 15., No. 18.

Q. Tom, which set of greens do these remind you of, if any, of another course?

TOM WATSON: Really these are unique. These are unique greens. The greens have a lot of bumps and humps and valleys that don't seem to tie into anything. They are just raised up. The greens are raised up some and they have big, big -- they have some very treacherous slopes and you just, you know, try to stay underneath the hole the best you can. Today it was easier to do that because of the softness of the greens. You can stop the ball underneath the hole pretty easy today and make most of your approaches if you are hitting your irons worth a darn.

Q. Tom, you said that you struggled with your iron play today; is that because you had longer approaches to the green hitting a 2-iron off the tee?

TOM WATSON: No, no. No, I took the 2-iron out and put that in play today because it was the right play to do. Yesterday I hit drivers at 16 and I put it up there about a 10-yard neck. I tried to do the same thing today.

Fuzzy hit driver. It's a hard drive to put the ball with a driver in that fairway. I have driver and 7-iron and those guys have driver and 9-iron. I'm 2-iron, 7-iron and those guys are driver and 9-iron.

At 17, I hit 2-iron and 5-iron to 17. I didn't hit the 2-iron very solid. So it was a 2-iron, 6-iron shot if I hit it solid there. But I take all of the trouble out of play at 17.

Q. So does that mean you were playing a little bit more conservatively today?

TOM WATSON: It was at 17, yes. Actually, it was at 16. There were a couple of holes there that I hit a 3-wood yesterday at 14. I'm sorry; at 15 downwind. And it was stupid. So I hit a 2-iron today. And I hit it up to the crest of the hill. I hit a 7-iron to the green, that's where you should be. So yesterday I hit -- it may have mentioned to the fact that I hit a 2-iron a bunch of times today but I hit proper shots into the green.

Q. Does Lietzke's game suit this course?

TOM WATSON: Yes, sure, I think this is a cutter's golf course, left-to-right off the tee, yes, without a question. He works the ball left-to-right and I think this golf course, with the exception of a couple of holes, No. 5, even No. 4, even though it's a dog-leg left, a proper shot is to cut the ball back into the fairways so it doesn't get to that far-right bunker; that's the proper shot. So a good shot works very well on this golf course. Hale Irwin, he cut the ball.

Q. Tom, what about the wind today, did the wind play any part?

TOM WATSON: The wind was a factor just like it was yesterday. A little bit different direction more from the west than from the south today. So it played a little bit differently. A lot of crosswinds. You had a lot of crosswinds on the golf course today. A little bit more into the wind yesterday going into the southerly holes and downwind on the northerly holes.

Q. How many holes did you play into the wind?

TOM WATSON: How many homes into the wind?

Q. Yes.

TOM WATSON: Right into the wind? I don't think there is any hole that went right square into the wind today. This is a north-south golf course; it's not an east-west golf course.

Q. I'm curious. Do you remember how many times you hit 2-iron off the tee today?

TOM WATSON: Let me count them up. Eight.

Q. And yesterday the answer to that question would have been zero?

TOM WATSON: Oh, no, yesterday I hit -- I don't know. Four or five times yesterday. I hit it two or three more times today than I did yesterday.

Q. Thank you. Putts?

TOM WATSON: Putts? How many?

Q. 24?

TOM WATSON: Well, I putted for 16 birdies let's put it that way. I 3-putted twice. Whenever I have a putter in my hand I consider that's a putt even if you are on the fringe. I hit it off the putting surface a few times today as I did yesterday. And I 3-putted twice. But I putted for 16 birdies. I made one eagle, and one birdie and four bogeys. So two 3-putt bogeys. Two failed up and down bogeys.

Q. What did you hit it into the 8th hole on your second shot?

TOM WATSON: The 8th hole was a 4-wood, 17 degree 4-wood. I hope to see you tomorrow.

End of FastScripts....

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