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October 30, 2009
DAVE SENKO: Tom, nice 64. 8-under. You're 11 under going into the weekend. Maybe just give us a rundown on your day. Looks like you hit all 18 greens in regulation.
TOM WATSON: Yeah, I haven't done that for ages. That's fun. The weather was obviously the reason, and I drove the ball pretty well, kept it in play.
I think I missed three fairways, and one was a par-4, but I hit a good shot and made birdie at ten out of the rough. So that was a bonus, even though I hit the ball in the rough.
Drove the ball very well, for the most part, and hit a lot of quality short irons today. That was the one thing I said prior to the tournament, my short iron game wasn't really right on. Today the wedge game was right on. Hit it really close to the hole three, four times today. Makes it easy when you have those kick-ins.
DAVE SENKO: Birdies start at No. 2. You had the string of three straight, 2, 3, 4.
TOM WATSON: Yeah, 2, I pitched it up to about 20 feet. Didn't hit a particularly good pitch from just short of the green, but I made my putt right dead center.
Next hole, I hit pitching wedge a foot after a good drive.
No.4, I hit a 5-iron and knocked it in from about 20 feet there. Good, tough pin position there. Not a lot of birdies at 4, I'm sure.
DAVE SENKO: And it looks like three in a row, 9 through 11.
TOM WATSON: Yeah. 9, I hit it three inches with a sand wedge.
10, hit it about four feet out of the rough with an 8-iron. I'm sorry, with a 7-iron. I was thinking 8, but I thought, I better hit 7. Right play.
Then 11, I hit it about three feet at 11 with a sand wedge. I'm sorry, with a pitching wedge.
DAVE SENKO: And 13?
TOM WATSON: And 13 I hit bad drive. Hit it off to the right. Got it back out in the fairway with 7-iron, and then I hit a pitching wedge to about five feet and made that putt for birdie.
18, I hit 3-wood off the tee, and I hit a baby 7-iron about, oh, 12, 15 feet behind the hole. Made it dead center. I love finishing with a putt like that. It was the geometric dead center.
DAVE SENKO: Questions.
Q. You talked about your short iron game not being what you wanted it to be coming into the tournament. Was there anything technique-wise?
TOM WATSON: No, I just worked through it. Just concentrated on the practice tee the last couple days at staying down on the ball a little bit better, squaring up my shoulders just a little bit better, and that helped. That helped.
Q. First question you know will be about the British Open. What do you think the shelf life is for this?
TOM WATSON: Who knows. I'm not one to even think about that. You can ask the question, but there's no answer to that. I hope it continues for a long time.
Q. Do you get asked about it or discussed it every day since then?
TOM WATSON: Well, when I'm at a golf tournament, yes, always. Yes.
Q. Obviously it were a great moment this year in sports. Obviously got a lot of attention because you were 59 and you took on guys 20, 30 years younger. What does that say about the game of golf?
TOM WATSON: One of the things I think it says about the game of golf is what the Champions Tour does for us: keeps us competitive. We play competition. You know, we play against good competition. Not necessarily the longest golf courses, but some difficult golf courses, and we're playing for keeps. So that keeps us sharp.
A lot of guys that play the Champions Tour go back and forth and play against the kids. I just play against the kids a couple times a year. I don't know why I play at Augusta, because I can't play that golf course. It's too long for me. I guess I'm hard headed, as I've said.
But there are other course that I can compete against the kids, you know, and Turnberry was one of them.
Q. Do you think it's a ridiculous question to even say somebody in their 50s who is competing against somebody in their 30s could only happen in golf? It couldn't happen in the NBA, baseball, et cetera. Do you think that question, this is the point of what golf is?
TOM WATSON: Golf is not the contact sport that you have, that the other sports -- you know, hockey, that wears out your body, you know, more so than golf. Of course, there are certain golfers that the golf swing wears out, and the back and shoulders and hands and things.
They don't attack you in golf, but it's still an athletic move and still has hand-eye coordination. It takes -- the slowness of the sport, if you will, is the thing that is the -- when it puts you in the the pressure cooker and the pressure is pushing at you, the game goes slowly.
It's unlike other games. You can go out and hit somebody and get rid of your adrenaline. You can run and get rid of your adrenaline. The adrenaline remains in your body in golf. Physically you can't get rid of it. You have to deal with the rush and the pressure.
Yeah, there is pressure in other sports, but golf, from a physical standpoint, the adrenaline makes it a tougher sport to play because you can't get rid of it.
Q. Are you better at 59 at handling that adrenaline?
TOM WATSON: No. No. I still get the nervouses. In the Open Championship this summer, the first round I didn't feel too much pressure. The second round, a little more. Third rd round, very little pressure. Fourth round, the most pressure.
Still, it was within the limits that I've always been able to deal with. I wasn't ever outside those limits. Not even close to the limit as far as the pressure was.
Even the last putt that I had to make, I mean, I'm looking at that last putt and saying, Here it is. This is what you worked all week for right here, this putt.
Made a couple good practice strokes. My follow-through wasn't very good. Whether that's the adrenaline under pressure, whatever, it could've been very easily, but it was a terrible putt.
Q. Sam's record for being the oldest winner of a PGA event stood for a long time.
TOM WATSON: 58, was it?
Q. 52. I was wondering two things. I know you know him pretty well. Do you ever talk to him about that victory? And do you think it's inevitable that someone will sometime soon break that and be older than he was?
TOM WATSON: Well, it just depends on if the 50-year-old players play against the kids a lot. We don't play -- as I said, we don't play against them. We play against them occasionally.
You know, Ray Floyd won one at 52 as well, didn't he?
TOM WATSON: But, again, you have to play, and I don't play against them. I remember when Sam was playing against them. His yips or his putting, that was his problem. He could still hit the ball great and get the ball on the greens and do all sorts of things with the golf ball, but his putting was very weak. That's the reason he didn't -- you have to putt well to win.
That's his Achilles Heel at his age. He still could have won if he was just a little bit better than average putter. He still could have won well into his 50s, maybe into his 60s. He hit the ball that well.
Q. What was the difference for you between yesterday and today? Was it the irons?
TOM WATSON: Yeah, it was the irons. Yesterday I made some mistakes with the irons early on and didn't get the ball close enough to the hole with the shorter clubs. Got lucky and I holed it from 60 yards out of the hay at 16 for eagle. You know, that turned my -- that made my round yesterday.
Today was much better ball striking and better putting. I putted well today.
Q. These greens seem about as pure...
TOM WATSON: They are as good as they get. They're like a billiard table. There's good a poana greens as you'll ever find. These are smooth.
Q. What is it about the golf course, Tom? You've had quite a bit of success over the years.
TOM WATSON: I'm not gonna give away my secrets. It's putting the ball in play off the tee. There are a few holes here that are are tough driving holes. You gotta put the ball in play.
If you're just a little bit off and you put the ball in the rough, you'll struggle. Again, this rough is not easy. It's not easy. Again, out of the fairway, with perfect lies into the fairway to perfect greens, it's a horse race.
As I came in here and said, this is a sprint right now with no wind. That's a sprint. Absolute sprint.
So it -- I know, people tire out a little bit just at the end occasionally, but it's still gonna be just make as many birdies as you can.
They're not like they were last year. I wasn't here last year, but they were just a little tougher last year.
Q. You probably would've had some success last year.
TOM WATSON: I've had some success with that type of weather. I don't like to play in that weather though anymore.
Q. (No microphone.)
TOM WATSON: Yeah, that's right. But actually I do like playing in this, because there's a challenge there that you don't get on a day like today. A day like today, without wind, is a day ne'er for golf, as the Scots say. Ne'er for golf.
Q. What was the nicest thing or most impressive thing someone has either written you or said to you face to face?
TOM WATSON: I really can't say word for word, but a woman from Kansas City sent me the most beautiful thought, couple thoughts about what it meant. I have it written down. I can't remember it, honestly, but it was beautiful.
I've written it down, but my Swiss cheese memory can't remember it. I am 60 years old, you know.
Q. Did you have a big celebration when you turned 60?
TOM WATSON: I had a surprise party, a big surprise party. Hillary, there were people there that, as I said -- when I came down to our arena and saw all these people and they were all dressed up, I thought it was gonna be a western-type event, so I was in my jeans and a cowboy shirt.
I see all these people and I said, Man, these are all the people, my loved ones, that mean something to me from all around country. They all came in for a surprise 60the, and it was pretty neat. Even Jack showed up.
End of FastScripts