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April 27, 2008

Andy North

Tom Watson


THE MODERATOR: Tom and Andy, congratulations. 31-under, 185, finished 64 today. I guess you could call it semi-defending your title in the new official money. But maybe just get us started. Remarkable run the last four years. 162 consecutive holes without a bogey.
ANDY NORTH: As silly as it sounds, that's been one of the things we felt that's been very important, if we can keep both players in the hole so you don't give back. They're so hard to get, you hate to give one back. And we've done a pretty good job of that.
TOM WATSON: Yeah, we've done a good job.
ANDY NORTH: And we haven't had to make a whole bunch of 10-footers and stuff either. It's where we had two balls on the green. Maybe not birdie putts but easy chips.
Any time you can play this where the other guy's got a pretty free run at a birdie because the other one is up there, it makes it a lot easier.
TOM WATSON: Yeah, today's round we're four shots ahead. We're going in there. Last night I quietly just said to myself, I said: If we shoot 8-under par we'll probably win the tournament. And I was just hoping we'd get the 8-under par a lot quicker than we did today. (Laughter) We started off and, number one, as a birdie hole, but we kind of drive it down there too far.
It's hard to get the ball close at No. 1, the little pitch, and didn't birdie that. And No. 2, it's a good tough par 4. We didn't birdie that. But what got me started today was Andy's birdie at 3. He hits a 3-iron at the par 3 and lips it out, goes about three, four feet by, makes the putt for two. And birdies the next hole. He birdies the next hole.
And that kind of gets us off to a good start, because you don't want to gallop to the start where you just make five pars in a row or six pars in a row. You need to throw in some birdies there, and that's what we did.
Wasn't like the start we had on the first day when we birdied the first seven holes. That would have been really nice. But that didn't occur today. And as this field was -- as these players are out here, when we backed up just a little bit they were coming on strong. And it got to the point where we got tied.
And that is nice to have a chance to win in the last couple of holes and fortunately I made a good putt at 17 and then 18 Andy made it pretty simple for me to hit my shot in there. I hit a good drive and put my shot in there for a pretty easy 2-putt.
So the last hole was, which can turn around, it was in our favor.
THE MODERATOR: Maybe real quick get the birdies starting at 4. You said Andy made --
ANDY NORTH: Made probably a 10-footer, 12-footer. Something like that we both had it around the greens. And both left, Tom had one inside of me. I mean that's kind of what we talked about. If one's got a 10-footer, maybe the other has an 8-footer and hopefully make one. It's sure easy when the first one goes in.
TOM WATSON: No. 5 that was a tough hole because Andy hit it in the left rough --
TOM WATSON: I'm sorry, 6. It's a hard hole. It's one of the key holes in the golf course. A lot of bogeys are made at No. 6. In fact, Brad and Lonnie made bogey there today.
And I put the ball on the fair but hit a lousy shot into the right bunker. Andy put it in the left rough and then put it left. And that's about the only place you can hit it without putting it in the water. That's really bad where the pin position was today. Right bunker was pretty good. I knocked it out there about a foot and made a par.
So we saved par there after both of us missing the green. So I think that was one of the critical holes for us today. And then 7 I make a putt from, what, about 10 feet, something like that.
ANDY NORTH: Nice third shot.
TOM WATSON: Hit an 8-iron in there about 10 feet and Andy followed it up with a wonderful putt on the next hole. Par 3 hit a great shot, pin high, which is really tough to do on that hole, par 3, because it's up and over type of shot. You have to bounce it in and have the right weight to go down like this. Most people are long or short. By a long shot. And he made the putt.
ANDY NORTH: About 15 feet, probably.
TOM WATSON: About a 15-footer.
TOM WATSON: 11, Andy was on the green. I was just -- I was about 15 feet from the hole chipping for eagle. Andy putted it up there about five feet, and I chipped it up there about a foot for a birdie. And 13 Andy hit a wonderful third shot in there from the left rough and made it from about 15 feet, would you say?
TOM WATSON: About 15 feet, made it. Tough putt to read, that putt. But he made it right there.
ANDY NORTH: Hit a really nice drive with that short little hole in the green, right up there.
TOM WATSON: 14 I hit it just in front of the green. Hit a good pitch up about six feet from the hole, made the putt. And then 17 I hit a 5-iron in about 20 feet and rattled that right home.

Q. How far?
TOM WATSON: About 20 feet.
ANDY NORTH: It's interesting. We never seemed to hit it really close today. But we had some good -- almost every hole we had a 10- or 12- or 15 -- 20-footer.
TOM WATSON: At least one of us had a good makable birdie putt on every hole.
ANDY NORTH: Just couldn't make them, which kept it very interesting. Tim said it was important we kept it interesting today. Being the television guy with the ratings was important so we did our thing (Laughter).
TOM WATSON: Actually what Andy really wants to do he wants to build this patio out with Watson and North in bricks. And culvert and all the bricks that he's won. They give us a brick for winning the tournament.
ANDY NORTH: Which is cool.
TOM WATSON: Which is cool, because they put the bricks out in front of the clubhouse here.
ANDY NORTH: We need about 10 more.
TOM WATSON: We need about 10 more bricks.
ANDY NORTH: That's right.

Q. Tom, the putt on 17, having a hard time remembering you ever backing off of any shot. You backed off there. Why?
TOM WATSON: I got bugged. There was a flying ant that was starting to -- it was starting to work itself on my ball. It was right over here. I was about ready to putt and I said it's not going to bother me. It got to about right there, I said I gotta back off and get rid of this ant. And no big deal.

Q. And the wedge on 14, could you keep a straight face after Andy's shot went a little sideways?
TOM WATSON: He had a little lateral there, didn't he?
ANDY NORTH: It was about two feet above my feet. I was trying to hit a scooper up in the air. I was lucky I didn't kill anybody. So that was good. We laughed about it. It was a nice high one.
TOM WATSON: It was a nice high shank.
ANDY NORTH: In the tree.
TOM WATSON: I've hit about three or four shanks in the last two years. And that gets in the way more and more the older you get. It's okay.

Q. First of all, you have a putt, hit the hole at 16, go to 17 and bury it. Is that a big --
TOM WATSON: You know, there were two putts. I had a good birdie putt at 15 and 16. And I left it short at 15. And that's a cardinal sin. And then 16 I just wanted it to break more than it was.
I just got it outside the hole too much and that's the way it is sometimes. You just don't make them.
ANDY NORTH: It was a weird day. There were a ton of putts that we'd look at it and, gosh, is it a right edge or is it outside the edge? If we went outside, it didn't break. If it went edge, it broke too much. I mean these are great greens. They're absolutely fantastic greens. But there's just enough green in them that when you start making putts, man you can make them from everywhere. But when you start missing them.
Then a little bit fine, sometimes you need to aim at the right edge and hit it and not try too hard to make it. Other times we were trying a little too hard on some of those.
TOM WATSON: I think what happens you get trying too hard and you don't let it happen. You start steering it.
ANDY NORTH: Trying to be too perfect.

Q. You said earlier in the week having won the Raphael Division three years in a row, felt you had something to prove against the top corps. Now that you've done it, is it still satisfying?
TOM WATSON: It feels very good. You know, we worked so hard. And those of you that have heard us on our soapbox the last three years, we appreciate your support. But we work so hard to get it to this format that we felt like it was really important that we played well. And having dinner Thursday night, let's just get off to a good start. Let's get off to a good start and make these guys realize we're here.
And then seven in a row Friday morning was beautiful. That was just beautiful. It gets you giggling.

Q. To be able to say now you're the best senior golf team in the world-
TOM WATSON: I've been telling Azinger for two years he has picks. He has four picks. We can play teams. Maybe his guys can't, but we can play teams. He ought to be thinking about it (Laughter).

Q. What's his response?
ANDY NORTH: He laughs at me. But maybe we'll get his attention one of these days.

Q. What is it that makes you such a good team? I know statistically how it worked out. But can you put it into words of how you guys have been so dominant at this course?
ANDY NORTH: It helps to have the best player's ever played sitting next to you, one or two of the three best that ever played.
Tom -- if you watch much of it the last four years, Tom still hits the ball better than anybody out here. I can tell you that. Hits it as well as a lot of the younger on the our Tour. And to have a partner that you know is going to put it in the fairway and put it on the green, it takes a lot of pressure off me. There's a lot of holes I happen to wax at it. And hopefully I hit it with the club face, hit an iron to a par 5. And it relaxes me a lot to know that he's there and so solid that he's not going to make any mistakes. And I know if I get enough chances I'm going to make a few birdies. And it's a great partnership.
TOM WATSON: What I like about it is I've got eyes on the greens. I don't read the greens very well anymore. I like the eyes that Andy has. He's a wonderful reader of putts.
ANDY NORTH: It's one of the few things that still works well. So that's good.
TOM WATSON: It gives me a little push when I'm out there. And that's fun.

Q. Jeff Sluman said a few minutes ago that your first round raised the bar for everybody, put pressure on everybody else. You said the first round was key to the whole thing?
TOM WATSON: It was. It was like a horse race. We just got out and said, all right, we're going to lead this race. And that's what you have to do in the team championship unless you get bat weather. We didn't get bad weather. There's enough wind to do it.
But that's kind of what happens in this team championship in the history of it. If you -- you can't start from too far back in this thing. You really can't.

Q. Andy, I hope I should not know the answer to this. Is the Badger gear your victory outfit?
ANDY NORTH: I had a really cool shirt to wear, I was going to wear today, but it was made of some of this new material. I got the iron too hot and put a big hole in it. I was digging around hoping I had another one. I had a really bright red one.

Q. Not going to wear it every day on the finals then? Not like Tigers' red shirt?
ANDY NORTH: I like the guys up there. A bunch of friends that are coaches and stuff. I got involved in the program in a lot of different ways.
TOM WATSON: That's an understatement.
ANDY NORTH: Yes. I've got no other contracts going and stuff. I figure I may as well support my boys.

Q. Andy, will you play at least sparingly now since you got a one-year exemption?
ANDY NORTH: Probably not. My schedule, I'm solid -- the events I would really like to play I'm working. Senior Open and Senior British Open. I work -- basically next week I'm like 18 of the next 20 weeks. So during the next four months I probably won't play a round of golf. If I've got a corporate day or something I might go do that. But I probably won't go out and play a round of golf and probably won't hit 100 balls the next four months.
So then you get into the time of the year you could play a little bit and it's football season and other things are going. Heck with it.
I understand I'm in Hualaliai. I believe I'll be in Hualaliai. Can I commit now? That was the first thing out of Susan's mouth: We're going to Hualaliai. Beautiful. Absolutely beautiful.
So I'll get at least one in before this next year. But my body's not very good. I can't do this on any kind of full-time. I can't make a commitment to play and then your body doesn't work. So I'm very happy doing what I'm doing on TV.

Q. How many operations have you had?
ANDY NORTH: I've had 11. So there's a lot of parts that aren't working very well.

Q. Only 11. Double figures.
ANDY NORTH: So I'm so excited to be able to come here and play. We joked about it. But, heck, if we can stay healthy and play in this we'll play together until -- we'll be out there two old geezers.
TOM WATSON: We'll be like Bill and Trevino.

Q. Andy, you haven't played in a tournament since last year?
ANDY NORTH: Actually played last week. Actually, played Outback last week. Scraped it around and figured out a few things on Sunday and had a nice round on Sunday and was really excited about that coming here. And I've been really fortunate that over my playing career, as Tom has been, that growing up in the Midwest, we didn't play four or five months at a time.
And we've had a pretty good idea how to sort of get yourself back to where you can at least be helpful. And it takes me 10 days or so and I hit a few good shots this week. Hit a few scrungy ones.
TOM WATSON: That shot at 3 was pretty --
ANDY NORTH: That today was pretty cool. 228-yard 3-iron. That's like the kids. That's one of those you make a swing, swing feels pretty decent, the ball's is where it's supposed to be.
TOM WATSON: That felt good. You said get down, get down.
ANDY NORTH: Just waxed it.
TOM WATSON: Went up there and the crowd went oohh and lipped out. 228.
ANDY NORTH: It's fun to hit some good shots. Fun to play with a good buddy and friend. That's what makes this week really special. If we had shot 14-under this week we would have had fun. It's even more special when you shoot a bunch under.

Q. You've spoken in the past about how playing together you keep each other comfortable, that's been your key to success. When it got tight today, did that continue to be the case and how significant was that in the outcome?
TOM WATSON: When it got down, got tight, we were still just -- we're grinding. We're grinding. We know that we hadn't lost the lead. We got tied. And the key was to stay right there. And if worse comes to worse, you're in the playoff. That was the key.
ANDY NORTH: We also had more holes to play than they did, which is important.
TOM WATSON: That's what I'm saying, the more holes you have to play, the more birdies you're going to make.
ANDY NORTH: And one time I looked up there and Lyle and Wossnam tied us, but they had played four more holes. We had 12, 13, 14 to play. So that's important that we kept having more holes. If we were the guys in front and they were making birdies, and that's a whole other story when they've got the extra hole or two.

Q. Never really got tight? Never felt that you were getting tight?
TOM WATSON: Oh, sure. I felt tight.
ANDY NORTH: My tee shot at 16 you might have thought so. I was taking a shortcut there.
TOM WATSON: That was perfect there. The pressure was there. And it's always there when you have a chance to win.
ANDY NORTH: That's why you do it. That's what makes it fun.
TOM WATSON: One of the things -- to hit the quality shots, when the pressure is on, is what makes me -- that's what makes my hickey tingle.
ANDY NORTH: Hit great 5-iron at 17 and wonderful 7-iron at 18.
TOM WATSON: Good drive at 18. Good 7-iron at 18 and a good 5-iron and good 9-iron out of the rough at 16. Hit it eight feet, 10 feet. Hit some good shots there.

Q. Your reputts -- you have a caddie when you play to help you reputt. Is it different when you have another player, another peer, does that make you more confident? What's the big difference?
TOM WATSON: He's won two U.S. Opens. I trust his reading over my caddie. My caddie hasn't won two U.S. Opens. He's pretty good --
ANDY NORTH: Can't even remember when those were. It's like 14 generations ago.

Q. Ever approach him about caddying for you in a Senior Open?
ANDY NORTH: If I can get a cart I'll do it. Couldn't carry one around for 18 holes.
TOM WATSON: Neither could I.
ANDY NORTH: Maybe one of those tiny ones with like four clubs in it. I'll do it. Par 3 contest. That was our warm-up this year for this event. We played a par 3 together.
TOM WATSON: That's right. We played in a par 3. With Brandt Snedeker.

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