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June 17, 1994

Tom Watson


TOM WATSON: It is hot out there. You people in the press room are lucky. Very lucky.

LES UNGER: That is because we can't play.

TOM WATSON: Say that two years ago. We were burning up, right, in the press room?

LES UNGER: Generally.

TOM WATSON: Generally, I played a very good round of golf. To shoot 73, I let a good score get away today. Quite a few make up birdie putts. Missed a good birdie putts at 4, 5. 6 I had a good makeable one. 7 I had a good makeable one. 4 I hit it in six feet. 5 I had it in about ten feet. 6, I had it in about 15 feet basically straight up the hill. 7 I had it at about 15, 18 feet there. Number 9 I missed it from about five feet there. Missed it straight up the hill from about 15 feet at number 11. 13 I missed it from about 3 feet straight up the hill for birdie. 14 I 3-putted from 14 feet. Those are my makeable birdie putts that I mentioned.

Q. Yesterday you said you turned a 71 into a 68. Today you turned a 69 into a 73, is it up--

TOM WATSON: You can write that. Evened out. Damn it.

Q. The course conditions today; how did it affect your game versus yesterday? What affect did that rain have?

TOM WATSON: The greens were faster than they were yesterday afternoon. Faster speed to them, I felt. That one really goofy pin position, number 17, was a very goofy one put it on the side slope like this (slanting down). If you get behind the hole, you can't stop it. There are going to be going to have a lot of embarrassed players who hit the ball over the hole there. The greens were faster. Golf course played a little softer, a little bit softer because of the rain. And without the wind, you saw some pretty good scores shot. Steve Pate, 66. Good score. Again, I let a pretty good score get away from me today. It was -- the scores were up; if you kept the ball in play, the course was there for the taking.

Q. Tom, on 17 on, your second shot, the backswing was obstructed by a small tree. Can you tell us what your strategy was; what you were trying to do with the shot whether or not you were pleased with its outcome?

TOM WATSON: Well, I had a restricted backswing, but with the normal swing if I had picked the club up a little bit more on the outside, I didn't have a restricted swing. And I picked a 9-iron shot so I wanted to run the ball just short of the green and if I can keep it on the front part of the green in some way, then I'd have a putt out of it. I wasn't disappointed at all with the shot. I hit a good shot. I was disappointed with my third shot, though, I hit that ball too far, 9-iron shot; tried to cut it. Hit a good shot.

Q. What about your first shot at 17?

TOM WATSON: First shot I was trying to cut the ball up the hill; try to keep the ball from kicking left into the left rough. I just didn't a lousy shot. Terrible shot.

Q. Tom, you said it evened out, but is there something there to go to the putting green and work on?

TOM WATSON: You bet.

Q. What?

TOM WATSON: Make-em. That is it. That is all you can do. Make it. You got to make it. Forget everything else. Just go out there and make it. My touch wasn't as good today as it was yesterday. I had very good touch yesterday and I think my rhythm was a little bit off today too with the putter. That is what I will work on. Good old Catholic method, rhythm method. Is that politically incorrect? Am I offending somebody? I take it all back. Take everything back - the last 25 seconds.

Q. About the putting, yesterday you didn't express the utmost confidence in it. Is it psychological or is it something physical or what exactly can you do to help?

TOM WATSON: I just said the rhythm method. Try to get some rhythm with the putter and I watched a beautiful putting stroke all day today and last two days Larry Mize, so I used to still-- if I have get a chance to watch Sam Snead swing the golf -- I always felt after watching him swing the golf club I would swing the golf club better myself. And after watching Larry Mize putt the ball; try to keep Larry's stroke in my mind right there. A beautiful stroke, guy has a beautiful stroke, so that is what I am going to do. It has to do with rhythm.

Q. Tom, is putting confidence for you reversible in the middle of a round, if you miss a couple of 4, 5 footers, that you feel you can make the change in the middle of the round?

TOM WATSON: Yes. You know, we always -- if something is going not particularly well, keeps on-- it is like -- it is not going well for a period of time, you better try to adjust; make a change. Harvey Pienik repeatedly said, don't worry about it; if it happens one day, if you have played a bad round, second day, don't worry about it too much, but it if the happens the third day, then you better try and change something. It is somewhere in the round of golf, -- you really shouldn't try to change very much. When you start to change fiddling with your swing too much - we are all fiddlers, sometimes we fiddle too much and we get ourselves into a state of total confusion. But that is the thing we have to stay away from.

Q. Tom, yesterday it seemed to me, if my memory is correct, that you were making Watson pars, the thing that made you famous 15, 20 years ago. Is that really your game you are striving to reach again, get back to those Watson pars or do you want to get better than that?

TOM WATSON: I played better than that today. I played better than I did yesterday than today. I shoot 68 yesterday and 73 today. So I have to say that -- I can't explain to you why 73 today was -- just count them up. You just have to count up the strokes. I guess if you count up the number of putts, yesterday I had 27 putts; today I probably had -- how many putts did I have today, in the '30s, I know. I hit every green, except one on the front side, maybe one putt. Hit 11, 12 -- 10, 11 and 12, 2-putted those, 13 2-putted. 14, 3-putted. 15, I 2-putted. 16 I 2-putted. 17, 2-putted. I had 36 puts today- on a 73. So I did play better from tee to green. Old flat stick.

Q. Tom, is par still in your mind the score to beat?

TOM WATSON: Not now. It is going to be under par. I think the winning score will be under par, for the winning score after 72 holes. I don't think we are going to get much change in the conditions as far as wind is concerned and I don't think they will speed up the greens anymore than they were this morning. If we get any softer conditions, definitely will be under par. If we get -- per chance if it will dry out at all, we would have it -- the scores would get higher, it would get firmer.

Q. Even though you didn't putt that well today, you don't seem unconfident about your ability to change it. Do you feel more confident with the putter than you have for awhile?

TOM WATSON: No. That is just one of those things that I have to make happen.

Q. What putter are you using now? Have you changed it in the last few months?

TOM WATSON: I changed putters coming into this week. I am using a different type of ping putter than I was using. I think it is a Ping anser2 something like that- I am not exactly sure what it is.

Q. Tom, with the exception of Hale Irwin, player after player, come in here and say that five and five and a half hour rounds aren't that bad considering the conditions of the golf course. Do you agree with that and do you think it is good for the game of golf to watch as a spectator and people on TV watching guys take 5 and a half hours to play golf?

TOM WATSON: Well, I agree with Irwin and the gist of your question. No, it is not all right. 5 and a half hours is too long to take. But if you are shooting 80; trying to do your best at the U.S. Open you can see why some people take a little bit longer. We played in four hours and 40 minutes today and we felt like we went on a pretty good pace. Yesterday it was 5 and a half hours; we played the round almost an hour faster today than we did yesterday. It was a pleasure to play that fast even though four hours and 40 minutes is still slow. Our normal rounds on the tour is about 4:20, for the first two days and about four hours the last two days in twosomes. But you have to realize that any time you get real fast greens, as we have in Augusta, you are going to have the same problem with slow play. Fast greens cause the slow pay play and there is no rough at Augusta.

Q. Did they say something to you this morning about speeding it up?

TOM WATSON: They don't have to tell me to speed up. No, I didn't see anything. It was just slow. The first group got out in 4:25. Second group was, I think, 4:40 yesterday. That is pretty slow.

Q. How fast do you play at home?

TOM WATSON: If I tee off first with Jim Gallagher we can play in two hours and 30 minutes. You can play under three hours pretty easily and tell you one thing, we would have had 14 heart attacks and 5 heat exhaustions from the crowd following us. They could not keep up with us. No way.

Q. Everybody talks about the heat this week, did it bother you at all the first two days and what do you do to try to combat it, the heat?

TOM WATSON: It was pushing me to the limit today on the last few holes. It was really hot out there. It was as hot as -- I haven't been that hot in a long, long time. Yesterday, it didn't bother me. Not at all. I got a little sweaty and just greasy; used the towel a few times. 17th green, of course, I was making bogeys, so that probably increased my temperature a little bit, but I was really-- it was really hot on the 17th green. 18 was awfully hot in the fairway. Burning up.

Q. Along the lines of the weather, do you think you should wear shorts to play?

TOM WATSON: I wear shorts all the time at home. Wear them all the time. I got the greatest sock line here, short line right here.

Q. Would you like to see that rule changed?

TOM WATSON: No. I think there is a certain decorum that we ought to keep out here. That is part of it. Wear cotton pants and feel just fine. Look at those English man at the Sahara, I mean, they look like beets. They look like -- they look like beets at the British Open of 1977; never forget that. I mean, those Englishmen and Scotsmen, their shirts off and they were red as lobster. God, they got sun burned out there. Thank you.

LES UNGER: Good luck, Tom.

End of FastScripts....

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