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July 24, 2008

Tom Watson


TOM WATSON: No shanks today. I saw that article. (Laughter) You know how to put pressure on a guy. I'm thinking I'm going to drive it up on 15 about 70 yards on the green, and I say, all right I better hit this a little under the toe here and not shank it!!

Q. An actor wouldn't say, Macbeth -- and a golfer wouldn't say, shank --
TOM WATSON: I didn't shank it today but I may shank it tomorrow, who knows. But I played a good round of golf today.
SCOTT CROCKETT: Many congratulations. Let's not mention that word today, but let's mention your consistency; every fairway green, every green hit.
TOM WATSON: I didn't hit every fairway, but I hit every green. How about that! Never done that before. Never done that before, 18 greens, and I've putted for 18 birdies but I don't think I've ever hit 18 greens on the Tour ever in my life.
SCOTT CROCKETT: Suffice to say, you must be delighted with the start to your defence.
TOM WATSON: Yeah, I'm very happy obviously. I shot a good round under unusual conditions. The wind changed directions. We don't usually play Troon with this type of wind, although the locals, the members say, you have the south wind here.
But we had a southeast wind that made it play completely differently than it did Monday and Tuesday. And so you have to now try to think it, where are these bunkers in play? Are they in play now or what are the short bunkers doing and what are the long bunkers doing? That's the good thing about a yardage book, you can kind of figure that out. The only place I was really questioning was on 13 off the tee, my line on the tee there, where to hit it. I picked the right line and ball ended up in the fairway.
But wish the putting was a little bit better. Still not very good. I made maybe about one good, long stroke today and I didn't miss any short putts though, which was good. So I really had it in about 20 to 30 feet most of the day. That was kind of my range. I hit -- the best shot I hit today was on No. 9. I hit a 4-iron in to about 12 feet there and missed that for birdie.
Played 10 and 11 -- yeah, 9, 10 and 11, that corner right there, 8, 9, 10 and 11 you have to play those holes well to win this tournament and I played them well today. I kept in play, on the green, in play, and that was what I go out to do. That's where I really focus on those. I try to focus on all the holes and those four holes in particular.

Q. Does this bring back memories of your wonderful achievement here all those years ago?
TOM WATSON: It did to a degree, because I remembered some of the shots that I played back then. Even my memory, I can remember some of the shots I played, particularly through the ninth. The ninth is one of the holes that always stands out in my mind here for some odd reason. It's just you're back in the corner, changing directions, and it was usually the last hole you played downwind before you came back into the wind.
Today was kind of the last hole into the wind before you went downwind. So again it's an awkward tee shot and it's a blind second shot, and I like that hole. Semi-blind second shot, and I played it well.
Every time you play a round of golf, there are little battles to win, and once I got through 11, I had won my little battle I think on this round of golf.

Q. Do you think today your knowledge of links golfer and your ability to play links golf is an element in the score today?
TOM WATSON: Yes, it was, the element of experience, is what you're saying, and the wind was not the major factor that it was last week when it was blowing 35 and gusting 40. When it blows like that, there's skills still involved, but the course takes from you a lot more than it gives you under those conditions.
It typical links golf, though. This course, it takes; if you hit it in the wrong places, it really takes. You have to avoid those wrong places.

Q. What kind of score do you think you could have had today if your putter had been hot?
TOM WATSON: Oh, probably a couple more under. I wasn't that close to the hole. I missed -- but I still had some good runs at putts, in the 20-foot range. I had a good putt on 17 I missed; a good putt at 9 I missed. And I had four or five putts in the 20-foot range that I missed and the rest were 30 to 40 feet.

Q. Was there some sort of incident at the 11th?
TOM WATSON: Yeah, the spectator collapsed. I don't know exactly what was wrong. The doctor that was following our group -- immediately went over and called for a doctor; "I'm a Doctor," he said, and he was following our group. The gentleman was a typical Scot. He said, "Quiet, they are trying to hit." He is on the ground like this; "Quiet, they are trying to hit." And we are over there looking at him and saying, what can we do, get a doctor, and the next tee, he said the gentleman was okay.

Q. Was the doctor one of the spectators?
TOM WATSON: No, actually he was following our group, one of the marshals in our group.

Q. Did it feel a bit like an Open out there today with good crowds and a good feeling out there?
TOM WATSON: Yeah, it had a little feel of that. The golf course is getting a little fiery. You can see the change in colour already. The knobs are starting to really turn with the heat. That's what links is about; it starts turning brown like that, and you've got to play it along the ground.
SCOTT CROCKETT: Tom, many congratulations today. Good luck tomorrow.

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