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July 31, 2009

Tom Watson


THE MODERATOR: Sum up the day for us.
TOM WATSON: It was -- I don't know what course these guys are playing, I'm playing a lot harder golf course than these guys are playing. (Chuckles.)

Q. Why? Why does it seem hard?
TOM WATSON: It's just -- maybe it's just me, but I feel this golf course doesn't -- is a tougher golf course than the scores that are being shot.

Q. When you hear the name "Pete Dye" what do you think of?
TOM WATSON: Well, kind of a -- famous golf course designer who did one of my favorite golf courses in the world, there at Harbour Town Golf Links, and I've always enjoyed his company and Alice, especially.

Q. (No microphone.)
TOM WATSON: Came from a different direction today, came from the north so the golf course played differently, and, you know, for people who haven't played it like me, there was quite a bit of guesswork in there today, what club to hit.
I think I pulled the right club most of the time and I was happy about that. I didn't drive the ball very well today, didn't put the ball in play as much as I should have. Got away with a bad drive at No. 14; I hooked it there. Then I ended up making a bogey, but I was lucky there to make a bogey, made a birdie at 18, shot even par on the back 9 to start out and then I missed three really good putts right in a row in 1 and 2 and knocked it close at 3, and I three-putted that and sealed my day today.

Q. How well respected is Pete among the peers here?
TOM WATSON: I don't know, ask them. Ask the peers.

Q. Obviously he's a legend in the sport. True or not? What's your take on Pete?
TOM WATSON: I've already said, I've already told you about Pete.

Q. How do you feel about where the putter is at right now?
TOM WATSON: Well, I don't like being this far behind but, again, I'm going to have to drive the ball better, put myself in a better position. I had some good drives today but there were a couple I didn't put in play and caused me some problems.
But overall I didn't play too badly, I'm not too disappointed except for that run of poor putting on 1, 2 and 3.

Q. Yesterday you talked about how the course -- (No microphone.)
TOM WATSON: Well, a little bit, a little bit. Kind of relearning the golf course after '91. I forgot a lot about the golf course back then; I guess I must have played it poorly back then.
Again, it's a tough golf course. You've got land mines here and land mines there, a lot of blind shots, he always blinds you, you never can get a good look at kind of where you're going. So you're always kind of guessing and that's -- that makes it tough for me.

Q. You've always gotten great reception overseas. What's it like to come back this week and after the euphoria of the Open, get treated so nice this week?
TOM WATSON: It's been wonderful. I've been treated very warmly here and it's -- playing the game as many years as I have, anytime you get a round of applause it means maybe you've still got a little bit of it, haven't lost it all.

Q. Are you getting tired of hearing about people raving about the Open yet? Is that wearing thin after a couple weeks?
TOM WATSON: No, I'm not tired of it. It's -- the warmth the people have shown me is just -- it feels very good. It feels very good. I'm grateful for it.

Q. It was cool yesterday. You couldn't get anyone here the first tee here to watch you because I think everybody that was here was here to watch you tee off.
TOM WATSON: They've got a lot of people here. This has been a great week for golf here for us. It's just wonderful, always, to play in front of crowds but big crowds like here in I understand did I has been terrific.
They've done -- the USGA has picked some wonderful locations, and Indy is one of those locations.

Q. You had the one birdie stop on the very edge of the cup and the next one you were an inch away. What do holes like that do to you mentally?
TOM WATSON: Well, it wasn't like those putts had a great chance of going in, foot from the hole I knew it was in and then it burned me. I was kinda like, well, was it going to get there, what was it going to be? That's the difference between those two putts.

Q. I saw you bring your putter to the tee box.
TOM WATSON: I do that when I'm struggling with the putter. You're allowed to work on it a little bit on the golf course on the tee boxes. I like to be on the green there. They used to let you at some of the U.S. Opens and Masters, you could practice putt the greens as long as you weren't holding up play, and that's not the way we played on the Tour, but that's the way they played on the USGA events and the Masters, they've stopped that now. Get some people saying hey, you can't do that, I'm practicing putting at the British Open, or the Masters, what's he doing?

Q. You turned around one of your rounds doing that, I forget where it was, but you were struggling, and you worked at some putts and you started --
TOM WATSON: Yeah, sometimes the light switch goes on.

Q. Talk about putting, what's the biggest challenge for you for the rest of the way?
TOM WATSON: The biggest challenge is to make a lot more birdies than I have. I haven't made a lot of birdies. These guys are making a bunch more birdies out there and they're not making any bogeys.

Q. How do you assess your chances going into the weekend?
TOM WATSON: I better step it up a couple of notches. I'm not there right now to be able to contend. You know, if things turn around just a little bit, I still can drive the ball in the fairway and hit enough good-iron shots, get a couple of runs on the greens going and 4 or 5 birdies, and I'm there.

Q. Anything you need to turn around?
TOM WATSON: Maybe my health.

Q. Do you think the scores are going to come down Saturday or Sunday?
TOM WATSON: I think the scores are going to be higher on the weekend. They usually are.

Q. Is health still an issue for you?
TOM WATSON: I think it's going to be okay. I think I may be out of the woodwork on one side and the other is -- I'm a little bit weak right now.

Q. Don't order the squid for lunch.
TOM WATSON: Okay, thanks.

End of FastScripts

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