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THE SENIOR OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP PRESENTED BY ROLEX


July 25, 2012


Tom Watson


TURNBERRY, SCOTLAND


STEVE TODD:テつ So many special memories of Turnberry, if you would just like to share some of those with us.
TOM WATSON:テつ Well, I've had so many memories here that I like this year.テつ Obviously the '77 Duel in the Sun was probably the premiere of the memories.
2009 was almost as good but became in a sense of from the other side of the coin, a tragic memory in the sense of, what could have been.テつ We look back to what Adam Scott did this last week, and it was in that way‑‑ you have the tournament in hand, and you by your own actions let it slip away.テつ It's not the first time that's ever happened to a golfer and won't be the last time.テつ But for us golfers, we try to have more memories and not let it slip away like that.
Memories; when Nick Price won, and Jack calls me up in the room and says, come on down for dinner.テつ I was really depressed because of the way I was hitting the ball.テつ My putter left me and I just could not make a putt on these greens.
At first I refused Jack for dinner and said no, got on my pity pot and said no.テつ Then I called him back five minutes later and said, okay, we'll go to dinner.
And then what transpired after that, and after dinner and then going and playing the par3 course in the dark and having Jack go and talk to the security guard who was going to run us off; that's another good memory.テつ That's a good memory.
Memories of my son, Michael playing here, played 33 rounds on the par3 course and made three holes in one.
There's so many wonderful things that have happened here.テつ You know, sometimes you feel you don't deserve them, you really don't.
STEVE TODD:テつ I think we all think that you do deserve them and it's nice to be remembered with the plaque out there, it was a nice moment, wasn't it.テつ
TOM WATSON:テつ It is.テつ A special moment and a special day to be remembered as hitting a shot that meant a lot to yourself; me, but to other people who were betting on me (chuckling) and that, again, probably the most important thing was that I won over the greatest player in the world, the greatest player that played the game.
And that particular tournament, as I said in the past, confirmed to me that I could play.テつ I could play competitively against the best in the world.
And up until that time, it was a process of trying to get to that point where I had a belief in myself where I could play against the best and beat the best, and that's what we do out here.テつ We're pretty narrow‑sighted.テつ We can't keep the blinders on.テつ We work hard to attain that goal of being the best or at least being able to beat the best, and that week in July in 1977, it gave me that belief.
STEVE TODD:テつ First round alongside Greg and Roger Chapman, as well, double‑Major Champion.
TOM WATSON:テつ Well, in 2003, I was very lucky to have won the tournament.テつ Carl Mason had a problem on the last hole in regulation, and he had it in hand, like I mentioned earlier, and let it slip away.
Tomorrow, I play with Greg Norman and Roger Chapman.テつ Roger, winning our two major championships, probably the two most important major championships in senior golf in America, the U.S. Senior Open and the Senior PGA, both on very difficult golf courses.
I played with him in the Pro‑Am yesterday, for the first time played with Roger, and he duly impressed me.テつ He hit the ball very solidly and hit the ball very long, and he knows what he's doing with the golf ball.
And, oh, by the way, he can putt, too.テつ So he's going to be at the top I think at the end of this week.テつ He's going to be right there.

Q.テつ Would it be fair to say that the shot you hit on the 72nd hole three years ago apart from where it finished up, was every bit as good a golf shot in terms of execution?
TOM WATSON:テつ Without sounding too conceited, I think it was.テつ Honestly when the ball was coming down, I said, '77.テつ I just looked at it and said, this is just like '77.テつ That's the thought I had.
But, with the strong wind behind, I said, okay, just stop, just stop.テつ And it didn't.

Q.テつ We were trying to work out where that shot was from; was it from the other side of the fairway from the plaque?
TOM WATSON:テつ In 2009?テつ It was 189 yards, so I had a longer shot but I played one shorter iron.テつ Some say, he should have hit a 9‑iron.

Q.テつ How deep is the ache three years on?テつ Is it still quite deep?
TOM WATSON:テつ No, it's nonexistent.テつ It was bad the night of and night after.テつ I got two hours' sleep.テつ It was bad then but woke up the next day and got right back on the horse again.テつ Went out and played a practise round at old Sunningdale to get ready for the Senior British Open.テつ And that night, I had a great sleep.テつ It was back in the 70s again when I lost a championship, it hurt; then come back and you do something special afterwards.
That's what you look for in a player I think.テつ After you have a difficult one like that, how quickly do you recover and when you do recover, do you win; do you actually beat the rest of the field.テつ That's what Rory McIlroy did at the Masters last year.テつ You know, that's what I hope Adam Scott does.

Q.テつ You have answered the question I was going to ask about Adam Scott; that's what he's got to do, isn't he, he's got to try and come back as quickly as possible?
TOM WATSON:テつ Yeah, get back on the horse.テつ He's playing great.テつ There's no reason why he can't go out and win the next time he tees it up.

Q.テつ Taking you back to that memory again on the par3 course with Jack, at what point or after how many glasses of wine did you say it was a good idea to do that?
TOM WATSON:テつ A couple of bottles of wine back in my old drinking days, yeah.テつ Jack could drink a little bit of wine back.
I made the comment, let's go play the par3 course.
Jack said, "Sure, let's go."テつ So we took our respective wives, Barbara and Linda at that time, and I went up to my room and got a couple of wedges out and some golf clothes and went out and played.テつ When we finished it was pitch dark.テつ And as we finished on the last hole, I think I had about a five‑foot putt and Jack said, you'll miss that, like you'll miss everything this week, Watson.
He knows how to give the needle the right way.テつ But coming down the main road there was a guy that looked very serious, and he was in a security uniform.テつ I said, "Jack, take care of this guy, will ya."テつテつ
He goes, "Okay."テつ So he walks up to this guy and this guy keeps on walking very sternly, walking, walking, walking and gets closer to Jack and Jack doesn't say anything.テつ The guy recognises he's Jack and he goes (in gruff voice), "What are you doing here‑‑ oh, you're okay.テつ You're okay."
Q.Three of the last four Majors have been won by long putters or belly putters; what's your view on the putter?
TOM WATSON:テつ My view has been consistent.テつ I don't believe this is a stroke of golf where you can put a broom handle.テつ I don't think this is a stroke.テつ And as far as anchoring the putter to the body, I don't think that's a stroke, either.
But on the other side of the coin, my son, who couldn't put a lick with a conventional putter makes everything with a belly putter which he anchors right under his belly.テつ Makes everything.テつ So he enjoys the game.
A decision is probably going to be made pretty soon and probably have some changes to the way the putter‑‑ to the way you're allowed to putt.テつ And it's not different from when they outlawed the croquet putter that Sam Snead was using, or on the back putter (inaudible) where you got down on your knees and actually went like this with it.
In retrospect, retrospectively, the USGA and R&A have done this, so you have to understand that they are there to kind of protect the game the way it's played and not make it too easy to play.テつ Yet, there are a lot of people who are very much against banning the belly putter or the long putters where you anchoring against it or something.
They have increased a number of‑‑ the players that use it on the Tour, Senior Tour and the kids' tours, have increased dramatically in the last two years.テつ Kids, players are teaching with the long putter like this, or the belly putter like this.テつ They are teaching it.
I think I would tend to agree with the decision if they outlawed anchoring on the body.テつ I know this is not a stroke of golf.テつ I know that.テつ That is not golf.テつ Just isn't golf.
It's a grey area when you're in here and a little grey area here.テつ But we'll just have to see when and if they make a decision on it.

Q.テつ Have you attempted to try a long putter?
TOM WATSON:テつ I tried a long putter.テつ I hit three balls with it.テつ The first ball came up 20 feet short and the next one went 20 feet long and the third one I hit about the right distance.テつ I said, 20 feet short, 20 feet long, not so sure.
Ernie Els says it's like cheating.テつ He says he feels like he's cheating.

Q.テつ After all of these years, all of the success and all of the experiences, you look like you still enjoy the whole golf scene and being here and being involved; is that correct?
TOM WATSON:テつ I enjoy the competition first and foremost, I really do.テつ I still want to show the fans that I can play the shot that's necessary to win a golf tournament, play the shot when the chips are down that needs to be played; play a good, solid shot.テつ That's why I'm out here.テつ I love competition and I don't like the way I've played the last four weeks.
This is the fifth week out of five weeks straight I've played, and I haven't yet played what I consider a good round of golf in five weeks.テつ Maybe I can turn it around in the next four rounds here and play some solid rounds of golf and maybe have a chance to win, because I haven't had a chance to win and that's not why I'm out here.テつ I'm out here to play good enough to win.

Q.テつ Last week, again, the crowds as always were acting very, very positively towards you and giving you a great reception.テつ Does that help you at all to raise your game?
TOM WATSON:テつ Well, I feel that if I don't play well, I'm disappointing them.テつ I want to hit good golf shots for them.テつ When I hit bad golf shots, even though I get a wonderful reception, I feel it's hollow because I have not performed my part of the bargain.テつ That's what I get back to, that's what I'm trying to do out here.テつ I'm trying to perform my part of the bargain to earn that type of respect from the galleries.

Q.テつ Of all the memories you've got, what is the first thing that comes to your mind?
TOM WATSON:テつ Ailsa Craig,テつ the rock!テつ When you come into Turnberry and you come down the first thing you see when you see the ocean, from whatever direction you come when you're coming to Turnberry, you see the rock.テつ Unless of course it's pissing rain, then you can't see it.テつ But if it's pissing rain, you're still going to play.
STEVE TODD:テつ Many thanks for joining us.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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