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July 27, 2017

Tom Watson

Royal Porthcawl, Wales, United Kingdom

Q. How happy are you with the round given the conditions?
TOM WATSON: I'm extremely happy because I'm extremely lucky. I made some Jordan Spieth putts out there. I made a 90-footer on the first hole and about a 60-footer on 14 for birdies that you never make those, unless you're Jordan Spieth. I made a great bogey at 9. Just kind of hung in there. On a day like today, you just have to rely on your short game to try to get you close and try to stay steady in your putts because you're blowing all over the place. I putted exceptionally well today. I'm very lucky, the 72 I shot was more like a 77 or a 78 to be honest with you.

Q. How did conditions compare?
TOM WATSON: I'd put it in the Top-10 without a doubt, the two squalls we had to play through, it was obviously very difficult conditions. But again, you have to take what the conditions give you. The great thing about links golf is that you have to feel it so much.

With this type of wind, the roll of the ball, the bounce of the ball, that's when you have to feel, and try to get the right distance with your shots and your approaches going into the greens. That's the chore. I think I only had maybe one pin-high today. That's about it. Everything else was short or long.

Q. How much do you rely on your experience or does the game plan go out the window when?
TOM WATSON: Rely on feel. The yardage book is there as a minor inconvenience.

Q. The forecast not looking particularly good tomorrow, either. Probably another day you're going to need more patience. What's your mentality?
TOM WATSON: Bring it on, come on. Let's play real links golf.

Q. How hard was it to play out there today?
TOM WATSON: The conditions were obviously very difficult. The wind blowing as strongly as it did, and the two squalls -- my game, I turned a 77 into a 72 today. I made a 90 footer and a 60 footer, a la Jordan Spieth. Made a great bogey on 9. It was one of those days that you had to play by feel and you had to take -- you really had to add four- or five-clubs out there in your club selection going into the wind and to play the crosswinds. It's a tough golf course.

Q. You have an affinity with the Claret Jug; with all your history, did you have to draw upon that?
TOM WATSON: I think it has to do with my experience of the golf course. The reason I shot the score, knowing that you can't get frustrated by the conditions. You have to just deal with them. When I first played golf, links golf, I hated it. I did not like to deal with the bounce and all the varying conditions. Finally had a good talk with myself and said stop fighting and just take what the course gives you. Understand that your yardage book is just a minor inconvenience. You have to play by feel.

Q. If today was hard, how hard is tomorrow going to be with the respective terrible weather?
TOM WATSON: I don't know. That's something I have nothing -- I have no control over, so just have to wait till it happens and deal with it when I stand on the first tee.

Q. And of course you've played here before the last time it was here. What does this golf course mean to you?
TOM WATSON: Well, this golf course is one of the great golf courses we play without a doubt. It's an unsung links golf course. It has everything you want in a links golf course. I love playing it and I have nothing but the highest regard for it.

I was very lucky. Made a 90 footer on the very first hole for birdie, so that released some of the anxiety about the conditions. I made a 60-foot putt on 14 for birdie. So I really turned a 77 or a 78 score into a 72 today. Some good links golf, some lucky putts, lucky breaks on some of the shots that should have gone into a pot bunker or heavy rough and didn't. Ended up shooting 72 and very grateful for that score.

Q. Would you say this is some of the toughest conditions you've played?
TOM WATSON: I'd put it in the Top-10 in the toughest conditions I've ever played in on a links golf course, yes.

Q. Going forward, just need to be patient for the rest of the week?
TOM WATSON: Well, you have to take what the course and the conditions give you. The yardage book that you have in your back pocket is just something for reverence, nothing more than that. Nothing is exact when you play links golf. You have to play by feel and you have to have some luck, as I did today.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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