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July 24, 2011

Tom Watson


Q. 3, 3, 3, on the last four is pretty special, isn't it?
TOM WATSON: It was pretty fortunate I made a three out of the rough on 16 and 18. I drew some lies there that I could at least manage to get the ball up somewhere by the green, and lucky there. I made a good birdie at 15 and very happy, really happy about the way I finished the round.

Q. 9-under par is clubhouse total, you're not going anywhere yet?
TOM WATSON: There's some heather out there but the way these guys are playing, it shouldn't be difficult getting it in or below 9-under par.

Q. How daunting are the last four holes, you've won this championship three times, you know what it's like to try and bring a senior major home, it's no formality when you have not done it before, is it?
TOM WATSON: There's not. And it takes some strategy, and if I were playing the last four holes of the lead it would be -- I might have played it a little bit differently than I did today with a driver in my hand.

Q. How have you enjoyed your return to Walton Heath?
TOM WATSON: It's been fun. My first round I played on Monday, I couldn't remember very much about the golf course. It took me until about today to remember some of the intricacies of the golf course and the greens, and just remember the one thing that concerned me the most playing in a Ryder Cup were the greens, how difficult they were with all of the little breaks.
I remember just the strategy that I had back then, I should have remembered it earlier in the week but I didn't, and that strategy was just to play the line that you see, and don't worry about all of the little breaks. Just pick a line, hit it there and it goes in, it goes in. You try to get too complicated with it, and your stroke gets kind of funny.

Q. Can you talk us through the eagle on 2?
TOM WATSON: I hit 3-iron for my second shot, and from about 225, 228 to 20 feet. You never know where it's going to end up, because walking up to the green, there's a downslope area, it could have hit that, it could have hit on the upslope and stopped. There's all sorts of different things that could have happened but fortunately it happened right and I got the roll and made a good putt there.

Q. And then nice finish there, as well?
TOM WATSON: Yeah, good finish. But I hit the ball in the rough both 16 and 18, so it wasn't pretty. But it was most effective. I hit a really good shot out of the rough at 16. I pushed my drive off to the right. I was trying to cut it into the hillside and cut it too much, and I drew a flying lie. I had 208 yards to the hole, and took a 7-iron, just ran it up past the hole about 15 or 20 feet and made it coming back.

Q. At the start of the week, if someone would have said 9-under, where would you have thought that would have got you on the leaderboard?
TOM WATSON: I would have thought that would be pretty darned good, 9-under par. Today is a day to score, and it was -- finally had a good day over here; one in two weeks (chuckling). It's nice to have -- without the jumper on and it's nice to be out here in the sun. But now I go back to the steam, in the 100-degree temperatures. That's where I'm going.

Q. How much does this -- three tough weeks to go through, but what's the feel?
TOM WATSON: Well, so far, so good. I'm a little tentative with the driver in my hand right now. For some reason I'm not driving the ball as well as I have earlier in the year. And I've got to work on that and make sure that I get the ball in the fairway, because that's been my strength for the last, really the last few years is driving the ball in the fairway. I've been really driving the ball well.
And my putting, I made some putts. I made some putts I shouldn't have made. I pulled a putt at -- that putt at 16 today, I pulled that putt and it went in. And I hit some putts where I'm looking and they didn't go in, so the breaks all come out about even.
These greens seemed like they had different speeds to them and they are tough to judge. Not familiar with these greens. Getting back to the point, playing Walton Heath in The Ryder Cup, these greens were -- they had varying speeds and you couldn't get too complicated with them. You had to pick your line, and just, all right, I'm hitting that line. That's what you normally do, but here, it's hard to do, that because you've got all of these little tiny bumps and humps. It starts off, breaks to the right and then it goes straight and then it breaks left and then immediately breaks a little right and then and breaks back left again. And when you try to figure out all of the pluses and minuses for the lines -- just, well, I'm going to hit it three inches to the right and just stick with that and not worry about all of this stuff.
Essentially, that's what you have to do.

Q. It's a tough three weeks for you guys?
TOM WATSON: It is. The travel is -- the travel, it gets you a little bit tired. I was a little bit tired on Friday. I kind of wore myself out on Friday a little bit. But that's the only day in the two weeks I've been tired. I'm in good shape.

Q. Do you fly back when?
TOM WATSON: We're going to fly back tomorrow, and I'll be up bright and early Tuesday morning to play a practise round at the Greenbrier, and see that golf course the way that's changed and the following week I play Minneapolis.

Q. If Russ goes onto win, do you know much about him?
TOM WATSON: Yeah, I do. Russ, he can really get it going, make a lot of birdies, and get the putter rolling. He had a great end of the year last year on our tour. He won a couple of times. He was in contention all summer it seemed like last year in just about every tournament. And so he's a real fine player.

Q. Because he's been I think a bit of a journeyman on the regular tour?
TOM WATSON: That's the beauty of the Senior Tour and Champions Tour. You have these guys come out, and they shine. Some of them have never, ever played professional golf. Look at Allen Doyle, he came out here and just won a bunch. He won two U.S. Senior Opens, won a whole bunch out here. And heard of Allen Doyle? People in Georgia when he won eight straight Georgia Amateur Championships. He can play. And those are the stories that every year -- you've got that story, you've got the stories of the guys you don't know about, or the journeyman pro, and then you have the stories about the name pros coming out every year, they turn 50 and they start playing the Champions Tour and it's always a question of, will they dominate; will they get it going. Well, they are the young guys now; will they dominate.

Q. They used to call it the flat bellies.
TOM WATSON: Flat bellies are 50. Round bellies are 60.

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