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July 14, 2006

Tom Watson


DAVE SENKO: Talk about your day. 5 under today. You're at 8 under after two days.

TOM WATSON: Well, it was a very good round today, especially in the back nine. I played a lot of solid golf shots. That's the best I've struck the ball since earlier in the year, so that's a good sign.

I'm happy about the way I'm striking the ball, and I think I'll I just can't wait to get out there again tomorrow to play. One of those things. Been struggling with my golf swing, and figured out what the deal was. That kind of turned on the light. That makes everything easy. That bodes well.

Now, my putting, yesterday I tried to slice every putt, and I did. I did slice every putt yesterday. I missed a couple of short putts yesterday and today slicing it, but at least I didn't yank it in the inside. So what I'm trying to do is create habit of taking the club straighter back. When you slice it you take it on the outside and you cut across it.

So I'm trying to do it too, so that I will eventually get the putter so it feels right going straight back. So that's what I'm trying to do with the putter. Everything else it was a good round of golf. Missed a couple small ones, but I can't complain. I mean, good strokes coming in, and it's getting better on the greens and certainly getting better with the long swings. So I'm feeling pretty good right now.

DAVE SENKO: Birdies, starting st No. 2.

TOM WATSON: Yeah. I birdied 2. Didn't hit a very good second shot. I hit a fat with a sand wedge after a driver, and left it short of the green, oh, about six feet short of the green, and putted off the fringe right if the hole about 30 feet. That was out in the very front.

Then I on the next hole I hit a good drive, but my second shot I hit it in the right fairway bunker way off line. Hit a lousy shot. Hit a pretty good shot about to the middle of the green from about 60 feet. Knocked it up about three feet and sliced it to the right and missed it. Actually, I sliced I pulled it. I took it outside and I pulled it. So I got good feedback even though I missed the putt.

I missed a really short birdie put at 7. Took it a little straighter back with an open face and I pushed it, so I got good feedback there even though I missed it. You probably think, this guy a stupid. What's he doing this for out here?

That's how you learn find. You got to putt your putting stroke under the heat and see how it works. That's what I'm trying to do.

Q. (Inaudible.)

TOM WATSON: That was about it was about two and a half, three feet, max. I hit a sand wedge in there; beautiful shot. In there.

No. 9, I hit drive and a pitching wedge about ten feet and made it.

10, I hit a driver and pitching wedge for about two feet for an easy birdie.

Let's see, 13, had a good drive and I hit the high birdies just short of the green. I was down in one of those low holes there in the mown fairway grass there, and I hit a little bump and run 8 iron. Kind of remind me of what I'm going to have do the next couple weeks. I bumped it into the side of the hill, and rolled it up the right of the hill for about five feet and made that putt for birdie.

16, I hit a 9 iron in after the driver, I hit a 9 iron in about six feet and made that.

17, I hit driver 5 iron and sand wedge to about three feet.

And then 18, I made a par there. Made a good par there.

But I hit the ball very well on the backside; it was under control. I'm going to go out and practice my putting a little more. See if I can translate that cut stroke into a straighter back stroke and see if I could get the habit working straight back through.

Q. (Inaudible.)

TOM WATSON: I did. A little more rotation with the left forearm in timing with the shoulders. Hadn't been rotating quite enough.

Q. (Inaudible.)

TOM WATSON: I think so. I think familiarity really has a lot to do with this golf course and how to play it, what to stay away from. I think it does. It's playing easy, the golf course, because it's so wet the ball is not pounding through the fairways and the doglegs. If you land on the ball on the fairway it stays there. Same thing on the greens. The greens are soft, with the exception of 18. 18 always plays hard.

But the golf course any time you have a wet golf course it plays its easiest. Windy, dry conditions, and that's when the courses play their toughest. We're not going see what this week here, so the scores will be low.

Q. (Inaudible.)

TOM WATSON: Yeah. It's like that every year here. It really is. I mean, it just seems everyone's between 5 and 8 under par after two rounds. You might have a couple guys get hot and get 11 or 12 under after a couple rounds. But where I am right now is on the it is a log jam.

Q. (Inaudible.)

TOM WATSON: Well, last week the week in Kansas City I wasn't there. Last week I was pretty close. I wasn't striking the ball that well or doing anything made enough good swings, and I know when I made a good swing now why I made a good swing. It was kind of apparent when I was trying to hit the ball under the wind I rotated more, and as a result I hit a very solid iron shot.

I got into a normal position and didn't rotate as much and was having problems with it. Now with the rotation it looks good.

Q. (Inaudible.)

TOM WATSON: No. No, it's the same type of thing. I've tried a lot of things in my career. There's a lot of like a couple weeks ago, which putting stroke am I using? Well, I'm using 99B and a 47C.

This putting stroke is kind of similar to the one I used a couple years ago, two, three years ago when I won at Turnberry. I hit the ball very solidly with the putter and then I got away from that, and so it's something I'm going back to. See if I can make it happen. I'm tired of doing what I'm doing on the greens.

Q. (Inaudible.)

TOM WATSON: I can't tell you. I've never played it. Don't know. I know that Niklaus said that the bunkers were all carryable at about 270. That's out of my reach. That's out of all the kids' reach. Just blow it over the bunkers. Just say good bye, you know.

I played with Gil Morgan the last two days, and he hits the ball he'll probably carry the ball 10 to 15 yards past where I carry my ball. That's what you need it if you're going to carrying 270. That's what you need. And most of the kids can do that. Just have to use my wiley skills and treachery to beat those kids over there next week. Good putting stroke may be the key. That would very much help.

Q. (Inaudible.)

TOM WATSON: That's right.

Q. (Inaudible.)

TOM WATSON: Well, I used to go over early just to get adjusted to the time change. I think that's critical. The older I get doesn't seem like the time change is that big of a deal as it used to be. But it used to be a big deal. So I just go over there five or six days early and get my body acclimated to a different time zone. That was needed.

Plus, I got a chance to play some links golf over there. The Players' Championship has been right before the British Open. I didn't play over here because I wanted to get over there and get acclimated.

Q. (Inaudible.)

TOM WATSON: I don't think so. Like last week I said at the U.S. Open. Last week that Open at Prairie Dunes, nobody played it. I played it once in my life. So it was a brand new golf course. And when you go to a brand new golf course, you have different wind conditions. What happened last week was that we had a north wind Tuesday and Wednesday's practice rounds there were northeast winds.

Well, the forecast was for a southeast and south wind. So it was playing a completely different golf course when you teed it up on Thursday. An if you go over there and play a lot, you'll get a chance to play with a variety of winds usually, and that's when you learn the golf course.

Not to get off on a different tangent, but Europeans, for the Ryder Cup, they played it very smart as far as their venues are concerned. They've had their venues on their golf courses where they hold their own golf tournaments. We don't. We play there occasionally with the Ryder Cup. U.S. venues are, but the Europeans play at a place where they always play golf tournaments.

And when you play a tournament there, you understand you'll get to know the golf course. You know the tricks of the golf course. You know, that definitely gives that team the advantage if they've played that golf course a bunch of times in competition. And in fact, your question, we see the same guys here. We do. Because you see we play this golf course a number of times and you know how to play it. There's critical shots on the golf course: 4, 16, 14, critical shots. You practice for those shots.

Q. (Inaudible.)

TOM WATSON: Yeah. You know, this year is going to be interesting to see what happens this year. But, you know, the team is comprised of players that haven't had a lot any Ryder Cup competition so far. Interesting to note, Fred Funk made this point, to get on the Ryder Cup team you have to get in the top then tournaments. The American players who do get in the top tep seem to be jumping up that list pretty quickly, because there are a lot of Europe form players in the top ten every week out here playing with the kids, you know, the kid's tour.

So we only have three or four Americans each week getting up there in the top ten getting points. And when one guy does win, boing, he goes right up there. You're may see a very unusual team from the American standpoint. So that's the way to qualify. And Europeans qualify on a world points basis as well as European basis. Food for thought.

DAVE SENKO: Everyone okay? Thank you, Tom.

TOM WATSON: Thank you.

End of FastScripts.

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