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April 8, 2011

Tom Watson


Q. Better day today?
TOM WATSON: Yeah, it was better today. I played better iron shots today. I didn't start off as badly as I did yesterday. My start wasn't a real good start yesterday.
But today was, I played pretty decent. I didn't hit get the ball very close to the hole with the irons, I hit some better iron shots though, but my distance judgment was a little bit off. So it seems like this course is getting longer for me. I keep coming up shorter and shorter and shorter.

Q. What is it about the past champions and the amateurs that seems to get the most reaction out here?
TOM WATSON: Well, these people have been coming here for years. These people that come to watch this tournament, they kind of recognize us old folks and they, I'm very grateful for their respect.

Q. Could someone of a vintage of a Fred Couples win this tournament, do you think?
TOM WATSON: Well, you know, it's not out of the realm of possibilities. It can work. It's just, Freddie knows the golf course very well, and it's just, you know, again, Jack said it right, he said this is a young man's golf course. As far as nerves on putting and putting on the greens. Length has its advantage though. And it makes some of the par-5s into par-4s, but Freddie's got that advantage. Just like Quiros and those long hitters out here.

Q. Tom, you helped Rory out a little bit earlier this week and you also played with Gary Woodland here this week.
TOM WATSON: I didn't do a damn thing for them. Come on. No. No. It's fun to watch them. As I said, it's fun to watch them, the newness of the golf course and the passion that they have for this tournament as their first or second event.
I remember when it was my first and second event, there's an aura about the place and there's a nervousness that you had when you played it. But I always felt honestly, from a personal standpoint, I always felt like I could play the golf course. I had a good game plan for this golf course.

Q. Who gave you guidance?
TOM WATSON: Ken Venturi gave me guidance, I watched a couple players, but Kenny took me out on 18 holes and said, this is the way you, this is the way I played the golf course and this is the way you should. He had years of experience both playing here and announcing. So he knew, he knew what he was talking about.

Q. Woodland said that on 18 I guess in the practice round you, he had hit a driver or something and you said, no, no, no, let's try a 3-wood. So you did give him some advice?
TOM WATSON: I just gave him a tip or two.

Q. When it's dry and fast and there's not a lot of rain this weekend does that favor the longer hitters or the guys who maybe aren't so long?
TOM WATSON: The iron players. Whose playing, who is playing -- obviously it helps to put the ball in the fairway on certain holes, but you have a lot of room here. You should be able to drive it pretty much in play. But it's the iron game. How good is your iron game this week.

Q. Because it's got to be crisp and spin and all that stuff?
TOM WATSON: Well the greens are huge greens that can play very small. And you play, you play -- you play a dozen rounds here and you understand what you have to do. You might hit it on the green, but it's, you got a 50 foot and you're just hoping for a 2-putt. And that doesn't get it.
You win here by getting six or seven really good looks at birdies per round. That's how you win here. Six or seven good looks at birdie.

Q. As far as experience, how much is not just knowing the course, but knowing how the twists and turns and the emotions are going to get to you on the back nine on a Sunday, what that feels like.
TOM WATSON: Well give credit to the Masters Committee here, they have taken the back nine and they have made it so that you can still, you can score on it. That's what people want to see.
For instance, in the front of number 15, you hit there from the back, good chance it's going to stick there and not roll back in the water. So it makes it, it makes the option of going for that green more of an option for the player. And that's what you want to see.
And that's, I give credit to the Masters Committee, it's just they do those little things right like that, that we'll put it in the mind that when you reach the back nine, you shoot 32, or 31, you're capable of doing that, maybe even a 30, and you can get right back in the tournament. Jack said that many times. That's what he did in '86.

Q. Speaking of good iron players, do you think that -- Luke Donald's playing behind you, did you by any chance see him or anything?
TOM WATSON: I didn't, no.

Q. On experience, what are the things that you can't really teach or convey in experience to a young person?
TOM WATSON: Well, I think the putts. They have to have the feel for these greens. You can't convey that. There's no way you can teach that. Either you have it or you don't.
And that, you have the yardages, you have the shots, you know where to hit it, you know where not to hit it, your game plan's pretty well set for that, that when you get on the greens, and you're, it is your touch and your feel. You can't teach that, you can't, you can't give advice on that. You're just, you got to learn it.
And that's why experience on this particular course is so important because you have certain putts here that you make a mistake and you always remember that.
Like me on 14. I blew it on 14 one year when I had a six foot downhill putt and 3-putted. I finished second in the Masters.

Q. Which year was that? Do you remember?
TOM WATSON: Don't ask me tough questions.

Q. (Inaudible.)
TOM WATSON: Trying to get the ball on the 17th fairway. How do you get it in the 17th fairway? That's my main memories.

Q. As one of the better wedge players throughout the history of golf, how has the equipment changed and how have you adjusted to that? In terms of just the wedges?
TOM WATSON: I play with a gap wedge and a sand wedge. I haven't really had to adjust. There's just the gap wedge has, is a wedge where I hit a full shot 110 yards. That's why I have a full swing. It used to be just one wedge, I just had, I would knock down a pitching wedge.

Q. Overall the years that you played here is there one particular shot that always gave you some kind of trouble where you just you approached that shot with a little bit of dread or trepidation?
TOM WATSON: Well, there are shots like 5, that's always been a real tough shot. Jack played it so beautiful. Over the years he made two twos on that hole when the pin was right, the pin was right on the very knob, in the very beginning of the knob there, the toughest pin, and he makes two twos. That's just unreal.
Byron always said, we never flew that ball on the green at 5. We always ran it up. We always tried to run it up there. I tried to run a shot up at 14 yesterday, I was just in the rough, but the rough is, it may be this tall, but it's, the ball buries in it and you get it in the rough, it's thick. It's thick.
And so I just, I took a 7-iron and just beat down on it and beat it into the hill there and ran it up on the green. I'm very proud of that shot.
Byron hitting that shot he said, this is the way we used to do it, boys. We were playing with Andy north and myself and he took an, I think he took a 3-wood and he ran that thing from, ran it about 20 yards, 30 yards short of the green and ran it up like this. Put it right there. I just tipped my hat.

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