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THE OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP


July 20, 2012


Tom Watson


LYTHAM ST. ANNES, ENGLAND

TOM WATSON:¬† Yeah, the ridiculous to the sublime, I guess they say, whatever bard said that.¬† But it was‑‑ I'm thinking 2‑over is going to be the cut.
And then I missed the putt at 17, kind of got a little bit on the pity pot and just kind of rushed the second putt and missed it, and well, I'm out of it now.¬† But then Andy North said, hey, said 3‑over might make it.¬† So anyway, I hope I'm going to make it.

Q.¬† It's just gone to 3‑over.
TOM WATSON:  Good.  Well, that's good news.

Q.  What did you hit into 18?
TOM WATSON:¬† I hit an 8‑iron into 18, and I pushed the putt.¬† I was trying to play it, oh, about this far outside the hole, and it started about that far outside the hole and then stayed that way.¬† And I said, oh, it's going to miss it to the right.¬† And it just did a duck‑hook at the end there and went right in the hole.¬† I didn't see that much break at the end.¬† I knew it was going to break left at the end, but I didn't know that much break.¬† Good thing I did misread it.

Q.  Talk about the emotional roller coaster of one miss to that.  Does it help that you've been around a few years or can you just throw it out of your mind or what?
TOM WATSON:  Well, you're always disappointed when you screw up like I did.  But in this game you do a lot of that, you really do.  So you've got to get over it and say, all right, I've got to make the putt at 18.
And like I said, it was lucky it went in.  I didn't hit it where I was aiming and the putt went in the hole.

Q.  (Inaudible.)
TOM WATSON:¬† Well, I wouldn't say it was the best of me today.¬† I struggled all day today.¬† Actually I started off playing pretty well.¬† But then body kind of wore out a little bit, just a little bit. ¬†And had some issues with it.¬† So it was kind of a struggle and made some bad swings, put the ball in the bunkers.¬† But I did get the ball up‑and‑down very well today.¬† My putting was very good today with the exception of 17.¬† And the one at 12, I missed kind of a shortish putt at 12.
I made a lot of putts this week that I haven't been making for a long, long time, and that excites me.  You can't win without making putts, you really can't.  And if that continues, life is going to be a lot easier out here on the Tour.

Q.  What was your goal for this week?
TOM WATSON:  My goal?  Well, my first goal was to play as best as I could and keep it out of the bunkers.  Number one was just to try to keep it out of the bunkers.
The unfortunate thing about it is I have to drive the ball a lot more than the kids do here.¬† They're laying up with irons and 3‑woods, and I've got to hit the driver.¬† I was driving the ball very well when I came in.¬† I drove the ball beautifully yesterday with the exception of 18.
And then today I didn't.¬† I drove the ball poorly today and struggled, really struggled with keeping the ball in play off the tee.¬† And the most important thing on this golf course, and it's number one, keep it out of the bunkers, put it in the fairway.¬† And all else‑‑

Q.  What was hurting you today?
TOM WATSON:  What was hurting?  Well, my hip was hurting a little bit, and I didn't have a lot of rotation with it.  So that's kind of hard just to swing with your arms.

Q.  (Inaudible.)
TOM WATSON:  Well, perhaps.  I hope I'm in the last two rounds.  If not, I'm going to do a little ESPN a couple of days and kind of set up the day for the viewers.  And then I go to Turnberry, Turnberry on Sunday.

Q.  It might be an early start with 84 players.
TOM WATSON:  Oh, really?  84.  Well, I wake up early, it doesn't matter, it doesn't matter.

Q.  (Question regarding Brandt Snedeker.)
TOM WATSON:  I don't think I said too much about him.  I do remember a shot that he made when I played with him on the 6th hole at Augusta.  The flag was on the back left and he pushed it to the back right.  And he chipped the ball in the hole for 2.  And I just dropped my putter and I started to applaud that.
And then he just played a‑‑ he played very, very solid golf there, and then with the pressure of winning the Masters on the line, it does things to you that only being in that arena can you learn from being under that pressure.¬† And he failed and was disappointed.¬† But I told him, look, you were there, you had the opportunity and you'll be there again.¬† You can play this golf course.¬† That's what I told him.¬† And you'll learn from what you did.
I said the same thing to Rory McIlroy after the Masters.  I saw him at the U.S. Open after he won the U.S. Open after the Masters and I said, what did you learn at the Masters?  He said, I learned how to deal with the pressure better.  I learned that pressure makes you swing a little bit differently.  And you just don't know.  You just don't know how it affects your swing until you're in it, until you're swimming in it without the life preserver.  And that's the only way to learn.

Q.  So how impressed are you with what Snedeker has been doing the first two rounds?
TOM WATSON:¬† Well, he made a lot of putts today.¬† I watched him early.¬† That's the benefit to being over here watching the BBC when you have a late tee‑off time, you're watching all the putts, watching them break left, break right, watching the guys miss them on the same side.¬† Well, if I can remember, which I probably can't, which hole it was on (laughter).¬† But I watched him make a lot of putts.
And the key hole to his round, I thought, was 6, when he hooked it, hooked it over the bunker in the left rough there, and he had a heck of a shot out of the rough onto the green and made a 50‑footer for 3.¬† Now, he turns 5 into 3 and then it's off to the races because you've got 7 and 8 and 9 and 10 if youhit a good drive ‑‑ 10 is a short hole.¬† And 11 is a par‑5.¬† You have five holes there you can start making some birdies.
And he rolled his ball today, as we say, in the vernacular.

Q.  Your thought if this is a wind fair on Sunday, it might be 30 miles an hour?
TOM WATSON:  That changes the game.  It does.  It changes the game.  And I assume the wind will probably be coming from the west or southwest or northwest, one of those three directions right there.  So we'll have it kind of similar to where we played the practice rounds.  So it won't be shooting in the dark, because we played the practice rounds with that wind.  And it was pretty strong on Tuesday when we played.

Q.  How much are you looking forward to getting back to Turnberry after two years ago and all the memories there?
TOM WATSON:¬† Well, there's a lot of comfort there and some disappointment.¬† But there's some comfort there.¬† I've had two nice wins and an almost‑win.¬† The beauty of the place is the first thing I think about.¬† I think about the Ailsa Craig and the lighthouse and that beautiful sunset that occurred on Wednesday, the night before The Open in 2009.¬† It was the most gorgeous thing, it was orange red for an hour and a half.¬† It was absolutely spectacular.
And the golf course, you know, there's kind of tricks to play it.  How do you drive the ball at 9 and get the ball in the fairway.  I still haven't figured that out.  I really haven't.  But there are others, there are other holes there that I know how to play and I just hope my game is good enough to play it.

Q.  How much do you take in just the experience of doing this again and again, more now than you did let's say 20 years ago?  Every time you come back?
TOM WATSON:  Well, the kids are all calling me Mr.Watson now.  That's number one.  And it's, Tom, please.  But the crowds are very appreciative.  And as I said on the interview in there, the feeling is very mutual.  I have a wonderful, wonderful feeling about the way the game of golf is perceived, played and understood over here.  It's really, really special for me.

Q.  What are your feelings on the mobile phone policy?
TOM WATSON:  You know, there's no problem, as long as they don't make any noise.  Sure, why not?

Q.  (Inaudible.)
TOM WATSON:  I saw that.  Yeah.  That doesn't surprise me.

Q.  (Inaudible.)
TOM WATSON:  Well, I was just happy to make that putt at 18.  So I may be around playing on the weekend.  I hate to miss the cut.  I mean, I still feel as if I can play certain courses, and this course is a little long for me, but I'm glad to have put myself in position to still be there for the last two rounds on the weekend.  I wish I would have driven the ball better today.  I drove it terrible today.  I did not drive it well.
But I found something in my swing; I was kind of picking the club up, getting it back in this position, and as a result I made some good swings, especially from the bunker at 17, when I dropped there and I had to lean over and play that shot.¬† The path of the club was good.¬† So it doesn't take too long sometimes to get back in working order.¬† And I hope‑‑ I just hope I have the chance to do that on the weekend.

Q.  You mentioned watching the TV before, and saying, well, I hope I remember this angle on that putt.  How many more wins would you have had if you were able to do that your whole career?
TOM WATSON:  Well, it is an advantage.  It is.  It is an advantage.  It's a smart thing to do.

Q.  Like scouting in advance?
TOM WATSON:  Yeah, you're darned right it is.

Q.¬† There's a lot of sentiment attached to you playing over here.¬† Didn't Jack give you some good advice on letting these crowds turn you into a ceremonial‑type golfer?
TOM WATSON:¬† Jack always said he didn't want to be a ceremonial‑type golfer.¬† That's the reason he retired in 2005.¬† He could still play, but the secret is that he misses it.¬† But he understands the capabilities.¬† His body won't let him play like that anymore.¬† And I'm the same way.¬† If my body doesn't allow me to play and play on a competitive level, I won't be there.

Q.  Does it worry you, though, that when you have those kind of hip issues, that I hope this isn't too chronic?
TOM WATSON:¬† No.¬† It is what it is.¬† As I said when I went in for my hip operation, if I never played another round of golf, it's fine, as long as I didn't have the pain I was dealing with.¬† I've played a lot of golf in my life.¬† And it's‑‑ as I said, I'm lucky to have been able to play a game for a living, truly.

Q.  Do you remember seeing this much standing water in the bunker in a tournament round?  Do you recall that anywhere?
TOM WATSON:¬† Well, they've got 206 bunkers here.¬† There's probably‑‑ they're not all drained.¬† They're not all‑‑ I don't see this piece of property being 40 feet of sand, like some of the other links courses and links land that we play on.¬† You see a lot of mud out‑‑ a lot of mud out in the compounds over there. ¬†So there's‑‑ it's not as sandy as other courses, therefore it doesn't drain very well in certain places.¬† It doesn't surprise me.¬† Some bunkers are fine.¬† They drained some of the bunkers, and some of the bunkers they didn't.

Q.  (Inaudible.)
TOM WATSON:  Yeah, yeah.  Again, they have 206 bunkers and they only have so many pumps.  How many pumps did they have?  Did anybody ask that number?  I'm a numbers guy.  Did they have five pumps, four pumps, three pumps?  Did they have 12 pumps, you know?

Q.  They brought some in from the other surrounding courses.
TOM WATSON:¬† Yeah, that's normally is what happens.¬† You have a championship like this, the superintendents and the golf clubs around, they all pitch in.¬† They all pitch in.¬† Look what happened at Bethpage Black when they had that just monsoon, and how they got that course in condition was just‑‑ it was a miracle, really.

Q.  After last night's rain they did a heck of a job with this course in the first place.
TOM WATSON:  Yeah.

Q.  (Inaudible.)
TOM WATSON:  How about at Wales in the Ryder Cup?

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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