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July 27, 2007

Tom Watson


TOM WATSON: I loved it out there today. It was just a great day on the golf course, it really was.
DAVE SENKO: If you can get us started and tell us about your day.
TOM WATSON: With the exception of beaning Mr. Ian Lauder (ph) in the head at No. 15, or 14 I guess it was, that was a dark spot of the day. Other than that, it was really a great day. I enjoyed myself on the golf course. It was fun to be challenged like it is out there with the various wind conditions, various flagstick positions.
And with the exception of a couple 3-putts at 16 and 18, which kind of leaves me with a sour taste in my mouth, I can't overcome the pleasure I had playing golf today. It was a lot of fun. I hit some quality shots, hit some awkward shots, but hit some quality shots. I had a shank out there today.
Today it was really a good day. Just one of those days.

Q. Just a couple of questions, the chap you hit in the head, he's okay presumably?
TOM WATSON: Yes. I was told on the 18th hole, he's okay.

Q. Was that drive or second shot?
TOM WATSON: That was the third shot at 14. Drive in the left rough, shank 3-wood into the bunker, pull-hook it out of the bunker left of the green, way left of the green. Nobody saw it, and boom, hits him in the head and comes all the way across the green and leaves me actually with a pretty easy chance for bogey, which I made.

Q. Professionals don't seem to be afraid of saying the word "shank" anymore. You just said it openly, and it doesn't seem to send a shiver down your spine.
TOM WATSON: Does it send a shiver down your spine?

Q. I'm afraid it does. (Laughter)
TOM WATSON: That's why you asked the question.
A shank's pretty close to a good shot.

Q. I thought that was an old wive's tale.
TOM WATSON: No, it's actually pretty close to a good shot. I was in the rough and sometimes when you're in the rough, the grass can grab it. I don't think the grass grabbed it very much. I had actually a pretty good lie, but I got ahead of it with my body and caught the nozzle, we called it a lateral. I was just thankful to get a bogey out of it.
I made a really good birdie on the following hole on the 15th, really good drive and a 4-iron to 12 feet and that was good. And then 3-putted 16. Missed a shorty, and then 17, I knock it on the green with a two (shot) idea and 2-putt for birdie.
8, good drive, good second shot, leave my putt short about four feet, four or five feet, and then miss it. Not a good way to end. Actually I hit the second putt where I was aiming it. Can't complain. Not like the one at 16 where I wasn't hitting it where I aimed it.

Q. Sorry to bring you back to the 14th. Did you speak to the guy?
TOM WATSON: Oh, yes, I did. Actually I let the medics take care of the situation, and I didn't intrude. You know, he got on his feet, got on the cart and then he recognised I was there and he stuck out his hand and he said, "It's a pleasure."
I said, "No, it's not." (Laughter) It was just a big lump right on the middle of his forehead. I'm going to go visit him right now.

Q. Des Smyth is leading at 2-under, and had four birdies in a row on the last four holes; how good is that, in the worst of the weather?
TOM WATSON: That's very good. Any time you make a birdie on the golf course into the wind, you've really done something on this golf course. Downwind holes are for the taking. 17, it's a birdie hole today. I mean, it's a two-shot hole, knock it on the green, roll it on, 2-putt for birdie and make an eagle like I did yesterday.
The downwind holes, you can take advantage of the downwind holes. You have to be a little bit careful but in the wind holes like No. 1, No. 1 is about the toughest beginning hole in the Open rotation golf here, I think. Good, tough tee shot and very narrow fairway. Of course today into a very strong wind. Saw a lot of people have a lot of trouble.
Our threeball, everybody knocked it on the fairway and got off to a good start.

Q. 17, the putt for eagle, that must have looked very, very close to going in.
TOM WATSON: Yeah, I had a good putt. I pulled it just a bit right off the bat. I felt pretty good with the putter today. You know, the last hole, kind of windy conditions on the first putt. I think I eased into it a little bit, a little wobbly, but the second putt I hit it right where I aimed it and it didn't break. I was very surprised.

Q. You've been playing links golf in Scotland for some time now. Is it the truth --
TOM WATSON: 32 years.

Q. Is it a true test when it's windy like this?

Q. But you relished it, didn't you? You thought it was great.
TOM WATSON: I do. Today I really enjoyed and had great pleasure playing this golf course today.

Q. Does that give you an edge in both in the Open and the Senior Open that when other people go, "Oh, not sure about this."
TOM WATSON: I fought it my first four years here, and then 79 at rhythm, I said, why am I fighting this. This is kind of fun, you get out there and you're playing 9-irons 210 yards and you're hitting 5-irons 130 yards. This is -- it's fun. It's just when you succeed at hitting those shots and hitting the right weight, hitting a solid shot, my favorite shot today is I hit a 4-iron at 15. I had just -- I hit it right on the nose, up about 12 feet from the hole.
And I was just -- you know, one shot brings everybody back usually, and that's the shot that's going to bring me back tomorrow. I'll forget about the 3-putts and just remember that shot.

Q. (Do you still rely on yardages even though hard to judge with the wind)?
TOM WATSON: You do, but it's still a yardstick. You know, for instance, the 7th hole today is 173 yards. I hit a 4-iron and I hit it just a little bit off, not exactly -- pretty close to centre but just a little bit off, but didn't get it 170.
And 15, I had 170 yards, same club, 4-iron, I hit it right on the button and went right past the hole, with the downslope a little bit. There was a yardstick there, same shot, same wind.

Q. How would you feel about a head-to-head with Nick Faldo?
TOM WATSON: It's good to be out with him. He's a grinder. Boy, does he grind. He takes three practice swings and he's just trying everything possible to play the best possible shot every time he plays.
You have to admire him for that.

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