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July 14, 2011

Tom Watson


TOM WATSON: Tom Lewis, how about that? He could be my grandson. We had a few conversations today. I said, "Do you still go to school?" He said, no, but one of his teachers, professors was jogging along the 14th hole today and said hello to him. I guess he left school when he was 16 years old, and he's been working on his golf game ever since.
He's quite a refined player at age 20. We certainly have a new young breed out here, don't we? We've got the McIlroys and the Ishikawas and the Lewises. We have a lot of young players playing very good golf.
I just had to smile inside to watch him play. I didn't play particularly well myself, but I certainly was impressed by the way he played.

Q. Compare Manassero in 2009 to Louis.
TOM WATSON: They didn't miss too many shots. Both Matteo and Tom hit the ball where they were looking almost all the time, and their putting strokes were beautiful and aggressive. I remember those aggressive putting strokes when I was 20.

Q. (Inaudible.)
TOM WATSON: I heard that -- no, he didn't mention it, but I was told that yesterday by three different sources. It must be true. It must be true.

Q. Is that flattering to you?
TOM WATSON: Well, I guess, yeah. I guess they have another one named Jack, right? So that's a good story.

Q. You said he left school to concentrate on golf. Kids are putting so much time in now compared to what your generation did that they just get better quicker?
TOM WATSON: Well, sure, if you have the time to spend and -- if you have the time to spend, there's a lot of good teachers out there that can teach you how to play the game. And if you've got a little bit of talent and you can putt, you can get there.

Q. (Inaudible.)
TOM WATSON: Well, he's not a professional yet. Again, he's not a professional yet.

Q. (Inaudible.)
TOM WATSON: Well, amateur golf is -- they turn pro early. When you're 20 years old, you're a pretty seasoned player when you have the ability to play the type of competition that these kids have a chance to play in. One of the things they do, they play in a lot more competition than I ever did or ever wanted to. The collegiate golf, for instance, in the States, you play a lot of tournaments. My competition really was comprised of four or five tournaments a year. That was about it for me. These kids are playing a lot of competition.
It boils down to the quote that I say all the time about Arnold Palmer. When my dad asked him about what would make me a better player when I played an exhibition with him. He said, "play in as much competition as you can." When you put yourself under pressure, you learn how to play and you learn how to play under pressure, and by the time you're -- if you've played in 100 tournaments, you know what pressure is.
So youth, age is but a number.

Q. When you saw him out there today, I don't know if you were able to focus that much on his play, but what impressed you the most?
TOM WATSON: Well, he hit the ball straight. He hit the ball where he was looking. He didn't hit but a couple shots off line today. He hit some fine shots.

Q. Are you amazed (indiscernible.)
TOM WATSON: No, there are four rounds in the tournament, and I heard his caddie saying, "We've got 54 more holes to play." You know, it's certainly nice to get off to a start like that, leading the pack.

Q. (Inaudible.)
TOM WATSON: Well, that's a good goal to have, sure. If you win, what, six -- how many has Nick won, six? Yeah, that's setting your sights high, sure is. That's good to set your sights high. There's no -- you know, anybody who plays the game understands that the game goes in cycles and you're going to have some spells that you're not going to play well. But it doesn't negate your dreams. Your dreams are there as a young man. That's what I had. I had dreams when I was a young man to do the same thing.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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