|Browse by Sport
|Find us on
May 28, 2011
KELLY ELBIN: 2001 Senior PGA Champion Tom Watson in with 68 in the third round of the 72nd Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid. Tom is currently at 8-under par, three strokes out of the lead. Tom, you hit every fairway today, 14 of 14. 24 putts. Congratulations on what appears to be a very special round of golf.
TOM WATSON: Well how many greens did I miss?
KELLY ELBIN: You missed eight, unfortunately.
TOM WATSON: Yeah.
KELLY ELBIN: That's what the perfectionist sees.
TOM WATSON: That's the difference between putting the ball in your hand and having mud on the ball on every tee ball. That really is the difference.
And that's -- every ball had mud on it and especially the last hole, I didn't have a shot on the last hole going into 18, because there was so much mud on the ball it just, the ball just turned over, it's like I almost hit a top shot. But that's the difference. That's the difference when you have the ball in your hand.
KELLY ELBIN: Talk about, please, the ball striking and the putting, which is pretty tough to beat, Tom.
TOM WATSON: Well, I drove the ball well, better than I did the first two days. It's nice to be into every fairway. And I missed, but I missed eight greens. And I missed a couple of them with wedges in my hands, which is not a very good shot.
But I did scramble well. I was kind of like the Watson of old. I scrambled and made a few good par putts and made a few birdies along the way.
I started off and I hit, I missed the first green and mud just flipped the ball to the left with an 8-iron. And I putted it up and from off the green up there and made about a 3 or 4-footer to save par.
2, I hit a 3-wood just to the right of the green and chipped it up for a gimmie birdie.
3, I parred.
4, I hit over the green. Chipped it back and made par.
5, I hit a 9-iron and made a good putt there for a birdie. I made it from about 15 feet.
6, I hit it, I hit a good drive, but I hit a 3-iron and didn't hit it very soiled and hit it fat. And that was short of the green. But I hit it into good place and I chipped it up there and made, hit it a little bit long and made about a 10-footer to save par there.
7, I missed it from about six feet for birdie.
8, that was a routine par.
9, I hit a 6-iron in about, oh, 15 feet behind the hole and made that putt coming down the hill for birdie.
10, I hit it over the green, I hit my second shot in the rough, laying up. It wasn't a very good shot. And I hit it just over the green and chipped it up about three or four feet and made the putt for par.
Routine par at 11.
12, I hit a 6-iron, hit a schlook for my second shot. That ball hooked and then it sliced like this (Indicating) and Neil Oxman said to me, "I wish the Phillies had pitching like that." That ball just went "whew, whew" through the air, it had so much mud on it. But fortunately it evened out and it was about a 15 foot putt and I made the putt for birdie.
Next hole, I hit a wedge like you, I skulled it right over the green.
KELLY ELBIN: Thank you.
TOM WATSON: And fortunately it didn't go in the water. And I hit, had an awkward lie, but I hit a real good pitch shot about four feet from the hole and made that putt for par.
13, I got a lucky break. I hit a 3-iron and it went right through the tree. I mean right square through the tree on the right. And the tree on the right is just, the pin's on the right of the green and you just have to skim over the left edge of the tree to hit a perfect shot and I pushed it about 30 feet to the right and it went right through the middle of the tree. And it could have hit that tree and bounced back and I had no shot. But fortunately I was on the up slope and I could loft the ball and I hit it up there for a gimmie par.
Next hole is a routine par.
Then 16, I hit a 4-iron and I pulled it. I hooked it left and I was in a bad place and I ended up making bogey. I hit a pretty good pitch from the left of the green from the down slope, but I had it about left it about 15 or 20 feet away and missed the putt. Made bogey.
17, a routine par.
18, I hit a drive out there and as I said, I had just so much mud on the ball I just, I was just trying to hit it in the front bunker because there was enough room in the front bunker to get the ball, have a pretty decent bunker shot out.
And the ball just tumbled into the bunker and I ended up getting a good bunker shot out about four feet and made the putt for birdie.
KELLY ELBIN: Thank you.
TOM WATSON: It wasn't a very pretty round, but I certainly will take it.
KELLY ELBIN: Thank you very much, Tom. Open it up for questions.
Q. Were you surprised they were playing it down?
TOM WATSON: I was very surprised.
Q. And was that the wrong decision?
TOM WATSON: That's their decision, but I think that they could have used a little bit better sense on that. The golf course is extremely wet, every ball had mud on it. And I don't want to sound like a whiner, but I am whining. But everybody had difficulty with shots out there today having the ball squirt and really tumble.
I know it cost Mr. Lu a water shot at No. 2. He hit a 3-wood and the ball just duck hooked left with the mud on the ball. And it was just one of those things, you just played the shot the way you thought it was going to play and just hope for the best with the mud on the ball.
Q. You said that it wasn't a very pretty round.
TOM WATSON: No.
Q. So did it feel like you were grinding out there? You hit 14 fairways, that's pretty.
TOM WATSON: Well that was the pretty part. But there's the other side of that face was it was pretty ugly missing eight greens.
Q. And then you finished it off pretty.
TOM WATSON: But, again it was -- let's put it this way, I didn't miss the greens in too many bad places, let's put it that way.
Q. The follow-up to that is, having a career like you've had, how do you keep motivating yourself to come out and grind like that, with conditions like this? You've got nothing to prove and at the same time you're out there and you're gutting it out.
TOM WATSON: I enjoy beating people. I enjoy the competition. I enjoy getting in the hunt and having a chance to win a golf tournament. And that's me. It defines me. And that's what I do for my career.
And I still am very fortunate to have the forum in which to conduct my career. And that is the Champions Tour. The PGA Senior Championship of the Champions Tour. To play competitive golf as much as we do. And that's -- I don't know how much longer I'll be playing, but I know that I still enjoy being in the hunt. And I still hate playing badly.
Q. I'm wondering how you plan to play some of those shots from the fairway when apparently there's some guess work involved as to how the ball's going to react.
TOM WATSON: Well, I've never figured it out. So you just go with what you're trying to do and hope that the mud on the ball doesn't take it way off line. Sometimes it does, sometimes it surprises you, it doesn't affect the flight. Other times just a little bit of mud just, wow, the ball just goes haywire.
So you just play the shot you're trying to play and just a normal shot. It does throw a little element of doubt in there. It does.
Q. You're 61, but Hale Irwin's almost 66 and he's right now leading by two.
TOM WATSON: What's that old grand dad doing? I mean, geez, what's that about? Come on.
Q. What about him and what he's doing?
TOM WATSON: Well I said it all through my career, especially out here, that Hale Irwin is the guy to beat out here.
And I always take the opportunity to watch Hale practice, because I love his golf swing. I like his motion. And he has a, he just has a great golf swing and of course his competitive spirit is second to very few people.
Q. What were your expectations for your game coming into the week. Were you playing well coming into this week?
TOM WATSON: No, I wasn't. I was not playing very well. My practice at home wasn't very good, but I hit on something basically on the, after the first, actually before I played my first practice round I hit on something of my swing that, it's the same thing that I was trying to do back in '94 when I made a change in my golf swing. And it was more extension away from the ball. And that sets my hands in a better position at the top. Wider. And it worked out. It worked out very well.
Q. The 12th hole, you birdied it. It's gotten some people today. Talk about the difficulty of 12 and how you rank that birdie and then how do you spell schlooked?
TOM WATSON: Well 12 is, it's a hole that can eat your lunch because if you miss it a little bit there, off the tee, you've got a shot to a green that's just, it's just perched up, deep bunkers, and you're struggling if you don't get it on the green. It's hard to get to know the green. Schlook, um, let's go with S C H L O O K. All right. Let's do that one.
Q. Given better weather expected tomorrow --
TOM WATSON: It's going to be hot.
Q. Yeah. Do you expect the conditions to be better as far as potential for mud on the ball? Conversely, do you expect the PGA to take your comments and perhaps any other player comments into consideration about cleaning tomorrow?
TOM WATSON: I don't know. I honestly don't want to clean the ball. If there's any kind of question or doubt to it.
But when the ball has mud on it every time, I think that it was the wrong decision. A lot of people -- people had trouble with it today. Again, I don't want to be like a whiner, and it's up to them to make the decision tomorrow.
Will it dry out? That's the superintendent's call. Whether they put a lot of water on the golf course today or tonight, when you -- you have to water bent grass. How much water will you put on?
It's soft. It's very soft. And the ball takes huge divots every time it hits the fairway. It's not skipping. It's just ploop, like that. And of course it picks up a lot of mud. Sorry to beat a dead horse on that.
Q. You made reference in your TV interview to a left ankle bothering you some. What's up with that?
TOM WATSON: A couple weeks ago when I played at the Tradition I had, three weeks ago, it hurt me a little bit and it just, I was practicing before the tournament at home and I just, I just strained some ligaments on the outside of it.
It's taken awhile for it to heal. I thought it would heal before this week, but it didn't. But today it felt really good. So maybe it has healed.
You got, you got excuses, you got, I got a left heel excuse, you got mud on the ball excuses.
KELLY ELBIN: Schlook.
TOM WATSON: You got schlook.
KELLY ELBIN: With all that, Tom Watson in with 68 in the hunt in the PGA Championship.
TOM WATSON: Okay. Thank you very much.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports