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July 22, 2011

Tom Watson


Q. Yesterday you left the course a little frustrated, shooting a 75. Today a blemish-free 68. Give us your thoughts on that one.
TOM WATSON: Well, I was putting for 18 birdies today. I missed one green, just the first green. The rest of the greens I was putting for birdies. Even though I didn't get it real close to the hole today with my iron play, I was very happy about hitting the 17 out of the 18 greens.
I finished with a good putt on the last hole. Made it from about 20 feet on the last hole. That's a good way to end the day and get in the red. This golf course is, it's a really tough driving golf course. You drive it well, you ought to be able to play well. And that's what I did today.

Q. You told us in the past you set yourself up a target for the day. Having shot the round you did yesterday, did you set one for today?
TOM WATSON: Well, I wanted to be -- 70 was kind of the target round for me today. But if I could shoot 70, that would be good. I 3-putted the second hole for par. Easy par 5 second hole. Got off to a bad start there.
But I made it. I hit it really close at No. 4, hit it a couple of feet from the 4, 9-iron for birdie. Just played steady golf, until I birdied the two tough holes at 13 and 14.
It was 13 with a 3-iron, about 12 feet made it. And 14, 6 feet with a hybrid and made that. So that punctuated my round beautifully today, those two 3s there. So at least I can smell the leaders now.

Q. How will you approach the weekend then from this position?
TOM WATSON: Gotta shoot low, sheriff. Unless we get a lot of wind, this golf course is -- it's soft enough where you can make some -- you can make some birdies out there. But, again, the key to this golf course is driving the ball in the fairway, out of the heather, out of the bunkers.

Q. ...from yesterday.
TOM WATSON: I was playing for 18 birdies today. That sums it up. I didn't make any mistakes really off the tee. I kept the ball in play off the tee beautifully today. And I just, I went around the golf course and made four birdies and no bogeys, and it was a fun round to play.

Q. The putter seemed to be a bit warmer?
TOM WATSON: Yeah, a little bit. I made a good putt the last hole. It was a 20-footer. Yesterday I wanted that putt to go in yesterday and just wiggled a little bit left.
And today it wiggled a little bit right and it went in the hole and finished under par for the tournament, and that's where you want to be.

Q. Must be nice, 1981 Ryder Cup matches, to be back at Walton Heath?
TOM WATSON: It is. There were some great memories of that team. I had a great partner back then Jack Nicklaus, three times. And it makes it a little bit easier on your nerves when you have Jack Nicklaus as your partner. Our team was very strong, and everybody was playing well on that team.
As a result, we won pretty handily. But it's the last time the U.S. time has won handily.

Q. Now, one more round, a couple more rounds to go, do you feel at all fatigued after last week?
TOM WATSON: No. I'm in good shape for a 61-year-old body. I can't complain too much. And I'm looking forward to the last two years. If I keep on driving the ball well, I'll have some opportunities just as the next guy.

Q. How enjoyable was that?
TOM WATSON: It was very enjoyable, when you don't make a bogey, and it was a round where I putted for 18 birdies. And that's what makes it most enjoyable, is that even though my caddie, Oxman, on the last hole said, "That's the first time I've ever seen you hit 18 greens." I said, "Oxman, you're wrong. I missed the first green." I putted for birdie anyway, but it was a good ball-striking round.
I kept the ball and played off the tee beautifully. I wasn't in any of the heather and none of the bunkers. So that's your first chore here at Walton Heath. This Heathland golf course is very exacting off the tee; if you make a few mistakes there, you'll make some bogeys or worse.

Q. Bearing in mind what happened yesterday and last week, it's nice to play golf with that yellow disk in the sky, isn't it?
TOM WATSON: This is the first sunny day I've seen since I believe it was Monday of the practice round at Royal St. George's.

Q. It does make a difference because playing, however good you are in wind and rain, it's wearing after a while, isn't it?
TOM WATSON: It's a challenge, let's put it that way. Yesterday it was rainy, and the wind was a little bit difficult yesterday. Not as difficult as it was down on the links course at St. George's, but it was still slogging around in your rain suit and in the rain, the umbrellas and things getting wet. I'm glad for a sunny day.

Q. And for the weekend now, do you have to be quite aggressive if you're going to be challenging for the title, are you going to have to try and get that putter nice --
TOM WATSON: The putter is going to have to work this weekend for me to have a chance to win. I'm 1-under par for the tournament, and it looks like -- I'm going to have to make up some ground, and the only way to do it is really with your putter.

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