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April 8, 2016

Tom Watson

Augusta, Georgia

Q. 43 appearances here, the first one 1970. What does Augusta National, the Masters Golf Tournament mean to you? And what do you mean to the tournament?
TOM WATSON: Well, what it means to me is that when I was a little kid I used to watch the Masters on TV. I'm lucky to be able to play in it. It's just one of those dreams that came true for me. I watched Arnold Palmer win and Jack start winning. And I had dreams that maybe someday I could play in the Masters. And lo and behold, the 43 times.

Q. What were your feelings on 18? Looked like you might have been almost overwhelmed?
TOM WATSON: Well, I was talking to my caddie, Neil Oxman, Neil has been a very close friend, confidant and caddie, but he's more than that. And I said, you know, I really appreciate what you've done for me. And I started to tear up. And it was special to be able to walk up. He was going to plow out ahead of me and let me have my glory and I said, no way, you're walking up the last hole with me.

Q. It was a nice touch when you hit your heart and pointed out to the people.
TOM WATSON: Well, I've been blessed to be able to play here and have fans. I hope I entertained some fans here or the patrons here. And I appreciate their applause for me and how they treated me today out there. Lots of hats off to Tom today. It was really pretty special.

Q. So many unbelievable moments from you throughout the years. Is there one that you could pick out above all else that's the most special?
TOM WATSON: Well, there's several, but being able to make that phone call after I won my first Masters to Stan Thirsk and Byron Nelson, I think that was awfully special to be able to do that in the privacy of being alone in my room, to be able just to say thank you to Stan, thank you to Byron, back‑to‑back. And that was a special moment. The aura of winning the Masters and how I did it, it gave me a boost to my confidence and the way I could play the game. But I had to thank people who I felt were responsible.

Q. You said good‑bye to The Open Championship at St. Andrews in July. And you said no reason to be sad, it's a celebration. But now that you're saying good‑bye in the final major of your career, the finality of it, is there some sadness in there?
TOM WATSON: Well, there's some melancholy to it to a degree. But I can't play this golf course anymore. I'm a realist. If I could still play this golf course, I wouldn't be retiring. I wouldn't be retiring from playing the Masters. And that's the honest fact.
I know that next year, six weeks before the Masters starts, I'm not going to have anything to do because I don't have to prepare for the Masters like I always have for my entire career, prepare for the Masters, six weeks in advance, hit those key shots at 12, at 5, at 10. Practice those iron shots that you want to play. And I'm not going to be doing that anymore.

Q. Did you take extra time today, Tom, to reflect and look around more than you would in a normal round?
TOM WATSON: Well, not in particular, no. I certainly acknowledged the crowd in their acknowledgment of me, continually all the way around the golf course. It was really special. And it was heart-warming.

Q. (Inaudible.)
TOM WATSON: Well, that was my wife. She whistled at me on 11. They were out of Snickers bars at 11. That's my routine. I go up to 11, I have a Snickers bar and have a drink and it gets me through the back nine. That's been my routine for 30 years out here. But they were out of Snickers bars.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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