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July 19, 2009

Tom Watson


TOM WATSON: This ain't a funeral, you know. (Laughter.)
MARTIN PARK: Tom, you thrilled us the whole week. Sadly, at the end, it wasn't to be. You were saying in your interview on the radio that you are very disappointed with the way it ended.
TOM WATSON: It would have been a hell of a story, wouldn't it? It would have been a hell of a story. It wasn't to be. And yes, it's a great disappointment. It tears at your gut, as it always has torn at my gut. It's not easy to take.
I put myself in position to win, didn't do it in the last hole. In retrospect I probably would have hit a 9-iron rather than an 8-iron. I hit the 8-iron just the way I meant to. I was thinking 9, but I said, I'll hit an 8, and I caught it just the way I wanted to, and sure enough, it went too far.
I chose to putt it from the short rough there. I just felt like I had better chance to get it close, and I looked at that upslope, looked like there was some grain in there, so I decided I was going to make sure I wasn't going to leave it short and sure, I gunned it on by and made a lousy putt.
The playoff was just one bad shot after another, and Stewart did what he had to do to win. And I didn't give him much competition in the playoff.
But you're going to ask me, what do I take from this week? Well, I take from this week just a lot of warmth, a lot of spirituality in the sense that, you know, there was something out there. I still believe that. It helped me along. It's Turnberry. Great memories here. This would have been a great memory.
Now it's going to be like Jack, I'll never remember what the hell club I hit anytime during the whole tournament. (Laughter.)
But I congratulate Stewart. It was a tough day to play. It's a difficult golf course, crosswinds, getting the right weight, which I prided myself, I just didn't do it in the last hole. I hit the shot I meant to, and when it was in the air I said, "I like it." And then all of a sudden it goes over the green, and I just didn't get the job done after that.
But the crowds were just wonderful to me all week. You were wonderful to me all week. It reminds me of what it used to be like when you played the big Tour, played the kids' Tour and were in contention all the time and the responsibilities that you had, that you have, to take care of business.
My hat goes off to Tiger for what he has to go through on a weekly basis with all the things pulling at him, as much as he wins and as much as he's in the limelight.
With that I'll open it up to questions. Anybody like to know anything?

Q. I guess one of the major questions is did you just run out of gas? Was it too much when you got to that playoff at a guy your age?
TOM WATSON: It looked like it, didn't it? (Laughter.) It didn't feel like it, but it just looked like it. I hit a chubby 5-iron for my second shot on the first playoff hole. The hybrid I hit on the second, I got stuck in that. My legs didn't work at the drive at 17, and that was about it, yeah. By that time Stewart had it pretty well in hand.

Q. Coming into this week could you have dreamt it would play out this way?
TOM WATSON: Well, coming into this week I could have dreamt it, yes, the way I was playing. I really felt I was playing well, and I knew how to play this golf course. And it was almost. Almost. The dream almost came true.

Q. With it all said and done, would you have rather gone through this experience at this stage in your career or have the memories be about things you did decades ago?
TOM WATSON: You mean having a chance to win it again?

Q. Yeah.
TOM WATSON: Well, hell, yes. Yeah, darn right. Winning it again was -- as I said, I don't like to go to Augusta anymore because I feel like I'm a ceremonial golfer there; I can't play that golf course anymore unless I'm absolutely perfect. But out here I have a chance. And I knew I had a chance starting out. So, yeah, I'm glad this happened.

Q. Do you think you'll also have a chance at St. Andrews, which is where next year you'll be, of course?
TOM WATSON: Well, it depends on the wind. If the wind comes from the west there, I have a hard time with that golf course. Hole No. 4 gets me. I can't hit it far enough to get it over the junk. You have the rough there, and it depends on how deep the rough is. I'm driving into the rough all the time. It's like the 10th hole at Bethpage Black there at the first U.S. Open; when they moved the tee back, nobody could get to the fairway.
But I feel like I can play St. Andrews. I still have some of the shots to be able to play that golf course. We'll just have to see. We'll have to see.

Q. You've won five Open Championships, but where will this second-place finish stand in your entire history of playing The Open Championship?
TOM WATSON: Well, right up there with '94 when I played so well here and then came up with nothing when Nick Price won. It's a disappointment. I'll take some good things from it, but it's still a disappointment to do what I did and lose the golf tournament.

Q. What was it like after all this time to be out there throwing blows and mixing it up and in the mix?
TOM WATSON: It was fun. It was just like my son said, "Have fun, Dad." It was fun out there. It was fun to be in the mix of it again and having the kids who were my kids' age out there just look up at you, What are you doing out here doing this, and saying, All right, nice going. You can still play.
That's what I've always said is when all is said and done, one of the things I hope that will come out of my life is that my peers will say, you know, that Watson, he was a hell of a golfer.

Q. For many of us watching you, there was a sense of enormity about what was happening. You mentioned spirituality, your sense of that. I think a lot of people felt that had you been able to win, it would have perhaps been the greatest story that anyone had ever seen in sports with all the factors in it. Were you at any stage -- I know you were in a great group, but were you at any stage touched by any thoughts like that, or did you just keep your head down?
TOM WATSON: No, actually I didn't. I was trying to play the way I've always played. I got myself into that framework, and my game plan today, it worked pretty good, you know. I didn't make the number of birdies that I wanted to make today. I made one bogey that I shouldn't have made. But if you go back throughout four rounds of a tournament, you've made some putts, you've made some shots and you got away with some good bounces on links golf that you shouldn't have gotten away with if you're in this position, I promise you. The guys that are down 50th, they got a lot of bad bounces, they didn't make the putts. So I'm pretty realistic about that.
But no, I had my plan. I wasn't going to think about it until it happened. Unfortunately it didn't happen.

Q. You've been great to us. Thanks for that. Could you help us with a good headline after today's round?
TOM WATSON: A good headline? "The old fogey almost did it." (Laughter.)

Q. Why do you think it went so wrong for you in the playoff? Was it physical or mental?
TOM WATSON: Well, you know, I don't know. The swing just wasn't, you know, it just wasn't quite there. I was trying to do the same things as I did before.

Q. Taking the whole occasion as a whole, is there one abiding memory you'll take away from this week?
TOM WATSON: The one memory? Well, I think coming up the 18th hole again. Those memories are hard to forget. Coming up in the amphitheater of the crowd and having the crowd cheering you on like they do here for me.
As I said, the feeling is mutual. And that warmth makes you feel human. It makes you feel so good.

Q. If you had a redo, would you do something differently on the chip at 18?
TOM WATSON: I wouldn't have hit the putt as hard.
MARTIN PARK: Ladies and gentlemen, thank you. Tom Watson, thank you very much.

End of FastScripts

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