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April 18, 2008

Chris Sullivan

Tom Watson


THE MODERATOR: We're joined this afternoon by Tom Watson. 28 and 35, a 63, the lowest starting round in this tournament since 2004. Your partner, Chris Sullivan, the CEO of Outback Steakhouse. You guys right now the low team as well. Just a few thoughts from each of you. Had to be a fun day out there for both of you?
TOM WATSON: Well, Chris got us started on the 10th hole, I'm busy three putting. He make it's from off the fringe for a natural birdie, so, that gets us off to a good start.
Then in the second hole, which is our 11th hole, I knocked my first putt by about 10 feet. And I looked over at Chris, he was giving me this look here, What are you doing out here, pal.
CHRIS SULLIVAN: That's not true.
TOM WATSON: Yeah, he was giving me that look.
CHRIS SULLIVAN: That's not true.
TOM WATSON: Fortunately, I made that 10-footer. So as a team, he helped me at 17 with one of the two shots that could have gone in the water today for me. The first shot was 12 on the par 5. I hit a shot out of the right rough that buried in the hazard, in the turf in the hasp but within the hazard. And I blasted a sand wedge. I didn't know where we were going to go. Just took a full swing at it - turf, mud flying everywhere. Ball flew out. Fortunately, to the back part -- just back over the green, and I chipped that and made par.
17, hit a fat 4-iron, and it looked like I said, That's in the water. Carried the water by two feet. And then 18, I left my first putt six feet short and made that.
Then there was the front nine. Never shot 28 before. Now that was fun. I could have birdied every hole. I mean, I missed it from about 12 feet at 2, and I missed it from about oh, actually a 20-footer, almost a straight putt at 8. So it could have been all the holes - could have birdied all the holes on the front nine, so.
We had, Chris, actually we double dipped a few times with birdies. He hit it close at 5. Hit it close there. That was a birdie. He also hit it close when I made another one on 1.
TOM WATSON: That's right. He knocked the stiff by 1, and I made it 25 feet at 1.
CHRIS SULLIVAN: Made it easy on me today. Only a couple clutch times. That's 2 out of 3. It was marvelous watching this guy. He hit so many great shots. The putter was working, just great shots. It was magical to watch.
TOM WATSON: It was a good day. I can go hole by hole. Starting on the 10th hole, I hit a 9-iron in there about 25 feet from the hole, and I ran that by about 6 feet. Then missed the putt coming back, pulled it coming back.
11, I hit a 7-iron about 30 feet, and I ran that by 10 feet. Made that putt coming back.
And 12, I hit a drive that nailed to the right a little bit. Fortunately, it didn't go in the hazard, rolled to the top of the hazard here in the rough. Took a 3-hybrid, came out a little bit right, and buried in the hazard. Had trouble finding it at first. Finally found it, and it was in the hazard. Took the wild swing at it, got it over the green, and chipped it back for par.
And then a couple of good holes. 13 I hit 3-wood off the tee, and hit it within 6 feet with a gap wedge. Made the putt for birdie.
And 14, I hit a driver, a 4-iron, and hit -- actually, I hit a sand wedge in on 13, and a gap wedge on 14. Hit it about a foot at 14 for a birdie.
Then at 15, I hit a 6-iron for my second shot, and made it from about 25 feet.
Then 17, I made bogey. I hit a fat 4-iron off the tee of the par 3. Just cleared the water on the line of the pin. Hit it up about 8 feet and missed it.
And 18, as I said, hit it on the green, it came down the hill. Left it about 6 feet short and then made it for par. Then I ran the tables on the front side.
First hole I made it from about 25 feet after pitching wedge. Second hole, I missed from about 12 feet there. And third hole, I hit it to the right edge of the green, probably about 12 feet and made that putt.
Then I made a long putt at number 4, made it from 50 feet at 4. After I put my drive in the fairway bunker, out with a 6-iron to the front part of the green, and made it from about 50 feet. That was pretty nice.
5, I hit a sand wedge about 10 feet and made that. 6, I hit a 7-iron in about three feet from the par 3 and made that.
8, sorry -- 7, the par 5, I hit a driver and 3-wood just short of the green. I pitched it up with the pitching wedge about three feet and made that.
8, I had hit it about 20-feet short of the hole after a 7-iron, and just missed it left. Number 9 I hit a 5-iron in there probably about 15 feet and holed that putt for 28.
New putter this week. Went to a new putter, same model putter as I used all last year. It felt pretty good after the first two holes.

Q. When you get a streak going like that, and you know it's not that easy, but it starts feeling easy, what is that like? Do you try to just ride it as hard as you can?
TOM WATSON: Yeah, you ride that horse as hard as it will go, man. It's like the Pony Express. You ride it until it drops. Because you know there are going to be sometimes when nothing's going to happen right. Everything seemed to happen right today except for the three-putt on the opening hole, and the bogey at 17. And the two ball staying out of the water luckily. That was luck. You know, I'm literally, I'm this far from going into the water at 12. And I'm this far from going into the water at 17.

Q. Those are as big a part of great rounds as great putts?
TOM WATSON: Yeah, it's luck, sure.

Q. At what point did you realize this was a special day, or do you not really realize it until you walk off the golf course?
TOM WATSON: I kind of felt when I made the 50-footer, you know, this is going to be a pretty good day. I just felt good about everything. When you make a 50-footer, and you've just made a couple birdies in a row or you start off and you've made two out of three birdies, you kind of feel like, all right, let's just ride this thing, like you say. Let's ride it. That's what happened.

Q. Did you figure something out from the back nine to the front nine? Or did you stay to the greens or they just started falling?
TOM WATSON: No. No, actually, I made some good strokes on the front nine, too. Oh, actually, my first nine I made some good strokes. And I made a stroke that I figured out when I three-putted the first time on 10, I changed my stroke a little bit and made that 10-footer coming back. I said, okay, all right. I know what I did with the first putt that I missed, and yeah.
You know, golf is a game of adjustments. You're always adjusting just a little bit. Unless things are going as well as they were today and then you ride it. You say, all right, I'm going to ride this thing until I feel I have to make an adjustment.

Q. Didn't you say you had seven or eight birdies yesterday when you were playing in the Pro-Am? Did that give you an indication that there were birdies out there?
TOM WATSON: Yeah, I did, same thing. With not a lot of wind and the greens as soft as they are, you can make a lot of birdies on this golf course.

Q. On the third hole today you said there were going to be a lot of birdies?
TOM WATSON: Yeah, I said they're going to shoot low out here. The greens are not as firm as they've been in the past. When they're not like that, you shoot good scores.

Q. This is not meant as a jinx or anything, but nobody's defended this tournament, no first-round leader has won this tournament. So what is your mindset?
TOM WATSON: I guess I'm jinxed now. You just jinxed me. Thanks a lot. You really just jinxed me.

Q. You don't think that?
TOM WATSON: Well, you know, I've always had the philosophy, you know, you get as far ahead as you possibly can, because if you make a mistake, you're still in the lead. People say they want to come from behind, well, that's all right. Let the other people feel the pressure. But I like getting out in front and running with it.

Q. You mentioned yesterday that your first day of practice here was Tuesday, that you were on the range, been there for quite a while and nothing ever really felt right. In the very end, something clicked.

Q. How do you explain to people how golf is that way?
TOM WATSON: Well, I know what to try with a golf swing when things are not going well. You fall into patterns where maybe you rotate a little bit too much, and you're not rotating enough. You know, that's the pattern I was getting. I was rotating too much. I wasn't staying on the ball, taking it back. I know that this will probably evolve into not rotating enough, and I'll have to feel like I'm going to have to rotate to get the swing in.
It's just -- it's like life. It goes in cycles. A golf swing goes in cycles. We try to keep it on an even keel where you don't get this way, you don't get this way too much. You ride the wave as much as this way, but you try to really keep it like this, even when you're up here.
Because I've found myself many times in my career after hitting a great shot, making a great, long putt or something like that, I make a mistake right afterwards. It kind of releases me from -- it releases me from my concentration. It doesn't keep me. I lose the focus just a little bit. That's part of my personality trait.

Q. Speaking of focus, obviously Augusta national is a nice tune-up for the famed TPC at Tampa Bay. I'm just amazed that there cannot be a let down after being up there last week, and particularly as important as that event is?
TOM WATSON: No, on the contrary. I got home on Saturday and watched the tournament. And after the tournament was over, I went out and hit a hundred 2-irons. Now I don't carry a 2-iron in my bag. I just wanted to see if I could hit some 2-irons.
I just hadn't hit a 2-iron in a long time. And I see these kids out there, and they have the speed with which to hit a 2-iron. So I said let me go out and see if I can hit some 2-irons. I hit about 80% of them thin. And then I hit three or four pretty solid. Then I just kept on hitting them, and hitting them.
That's what the Masters does to me. It inspires me. It always has. Makes you want to go out and play golf. Makes half this country want to go out and play golf. Does the same to me still.

Q. That's why I would have thought it would be hard to bounce back a week later and have some of your best golf?
TOM WATSON: No, no. Well, one of the things --
CHRIS SULLIVAN: Other than the weather, one of the things we like about moving this the week after the Masters Champions, (indiscernible) is to go out there, and I think they do. Talking to some of them earlier, they do get inspired being in there, and reenergized about golf, which we were excited about, versus just sometimes being on a normal grind. It comes through that, and I think everybody that loves golf is inspired after the Masters.
TOM WATSON: They are. I get pumped. I bet you get pumped, too.
CHRIS SULLIVAN: I think the fans do, too.
TOM WATSON: Yeah. It's fun to come in here not having to hit 4-irons and flags over bunkers like that and greens about like that. These greens are a little bit more receptive.

Q. Chris, would you be able to weather the abuse of winning this?
CHRIS SULLIVAN: You know, I've been promised by Tom that we're winning. So yeah, I can handle the abuse. But, you know, we've got a long way to go to do that. There's a lot of really good players out there. I hope Tom can defend his championship.
You know what, if we end up making the cut and playing great, that is great. But I hope Tom wins the championship, because I think it would be great for the tournament to have a repeat champion. And he's demonstrated today that he's capable of doing that, so I think that will be fabulous.
THE MODERATOR: Good luck to you both. Thank you very much.
TOM WATSON: Thank you.

End of FastScripts

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