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THE SENIOR OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP PRESENTED BY ROLEX


July 28, 2013


Tom Watson


SOUTHPORT, ENGLAND

TOM WATSON:テつ If I look at it specifically, I didn't play 9 very well, I didn't play 10 very well, and just seems like every ball that I hit out there was going toward a bunker.テつ It was either going to go in a bunker or it was going to miss it.
Every time you hit a shot, you're holding your breath, and that's what this course is all about.テつ I didn't manage it very well.テつ I didn't play 17 very well, either.テつ Made a bogey and three pars there, I guess.テつ It's a good test, a great test.テつ I hit some quality shots.テつ I drove the ball pretty well.テつ Hit some good iron shots here and there, but put the ball out of play a few too many times to do very well here.

Q.テつ Any flashbacks to 30 years ago?
TOM WATSON:テつ I can't remember that far back.テつ Don't ask me those tough questions.

Q.テつ Bernhard has managed the course beautifully and he said yesterday he's hitting the ball as well as he ever did when he won the Masters.テつ Do you think a guy like Bernhard who has come close to winning a major, winning the Senior Open a couple of years ago, do you think it's a matter of time before a senior does go and win one?
TOM WATSON:テつ There's an outside possibility, but like I said, we are quarter horses and those kids are thoroughbreds.テつ We are run quickly and fast for a short period of time, but when the long race happens, the thoroughbreds will beat us out.
We can do it.テつ We can do it occasionally in the short hauls.テつ I had the same feeling that Bernhard has a few years ago when he was playing so well from tee‑to‑green and got the putting stroke to work that one week, and that was‑‑ that's what I was out there to do.
There's no reason why you can't do it.テつ You keep yourself in shape and there's no reason why you can't do it for the short term.テつ It's awfully hard to put all four rounds together, that's the thing.テつ It's awfully hard to do it that.

Q.テつ Is it a stamina thing?
TOM WATSON:テつ No.テつ It's just a matter of the consistency.テつ I think over four rounds, it's hard at our age to be as consistent as the kids could be or recover as well as the kids.

Q.テつ When you look at what you did and what Greg Norman did, the last few winners have been 42, 43; do you think it's likely to happen at the British?テつ If you were to put a pound on it, do you think there's something about the links golf?
TOM WATSON:テつ Well, it takes the driver out of your hand over here, so the courses can come back to the short hitters.テつ And short hitters are playing well.テつ You know, they can put the ball in play and manage these courses.テつ They don't have to beat it.テつ They don't have to bomb it and slash it out of the rough.テつ They can manage these courses well.
That's the way you have to play these courses.テつ Look at Tiger, the way he played Hoylake.テつ Look at the way Phil played last week, just the 3‑wood.テつ Of course, the 3‑wood is a bomber.テつ He hits it a long way, but he hit it on 17 in two, and he did it with two so‑called 3‑woods but 3‑woods are like drivers.

Q.テつ The crop of players coming through, a lot of them have been in the gym for 15, 20 years, do you think that's made a change that's more likely to happen for a guy coming through like Phil Mickelson or one or two of that age group?
TOM WATSON:テつ The intangibles of winning a major championship are beyond just the gym, they really are.テつ It takes something to win a major championship, and that's something that, in my case, it happened early in my career, and then I got on a roll where I won a bunch.テつ Whatever that intangible was, it was a confidence level, and I could do it and I could play against the best.
You know, there's only been basically a handful of times in my career where I went into a golf tournament thinking I was going to win the tournament, thinking I was going to win.テつ There are a lot of times I went in there thinking I had a good chance to win the tournament, but there were only about a handful where I really thought I was going to win the tournament.テつ I won four out of those five.テつ
But most of the times, you go into a tournament, and it's like a horse race.テつ You're just trying to stay there and get yourself a little run and get yourself a little burst of speed and pull out in front of the pack, and then if things work out, you win.テつ That's how you do it.テつ You manage yourself well, and you know what, you're going to win golf tournaments.

Q.テつ The one you didn't win, the PGA, is coming up.テつ Have you ever thought that there is a reason why the PGA didn't fall into your hands?
TOM WATSON:テつ Well, the PGA is a lot like the U.S. Open.テつ You really had to hit the ball straight off the tee.テつ They had really heavy rough.テつ They set it up that way.テつ I had a hard time winning the U.S. Open, I fortunately won it once.
But I had my opportunity at the PGA in '78.テつ I had a five‑shot lead going into the 10th hole and drove it in a divot on the last round and ended up making double‑bogey.テつ John Mahaffey made birdie and all of a sudden, I lose a pretty good cush.
Again, that's golf.テつ That's what happens sometimes.テつ I had my opportunities, a couple opportunities at the PGA.テつ Not too many.

Q.テつ The highest‑calibre field‑‑ does that kind of take luck out of the equation a little bit?
TOM WATSON:テつ I don't think you can judge or you can compare the quality of fields.テつ This field here, The Open Championship, it's a quality field.テつ At the PGA, you have a bunch of club professionals playing, and that's like qualifiers here at The Open, qualifiers at the U.S. Open, same thing.
The Masters has a limited field and you have to say, in total, probably the Masters has the best quality field there is, but it's a limited field, the numbers.テつ It's hard to compare both.

Q.テつ I'm looking at Oak Hill, how do you judge‑‑
TOM WATSON:テつ I make about two birdies a round there, that's about all I could handle.テつ That's a hard course for me.テつ I've never played it very well.テつ Maybe I can get something rolling.テつ I'm starting to change my putting style here just a little bit.テつ I made some putts today.テつ Actually, I looked down the line and I thought I was going to make some putts today.テつ That was fun.テつ All of a sudden, hmmm, maybe I don't have to hit the ball on every green to score well.

Q.テつ So do you not particularly like Oak Hill?テつ A lot call it one of the classic old American courses.
TOM WATSON:テつ I like Oak Hill fine.テつ It's a hard course for me.テつ The par 5s are unreachable.テつ And you have to play a lot of tough shots on that golf course.テつ It helps to hit the ball a long way on that it golf course.テつ In the old days, I hit the ball a long way, compared to the rest of the field.テつ I'm going to get my 3‑hybrid out, work with that this week and see if I can get that thing up in the air.

Q.テつ Can I ask you about the Senior Open itself?テつ You've played ten or 11 of them now.テつ How have they developed over the years?
TOM WATSON:テつ They have developed beautifully because we play such great golf courses.テつ We play these classic, wonderful golf courses every year.テつ That brings people over here to play and from across the pond.テつ These are great tests of golf.テつ That's fitting for the Senior Open.
If you played it‑‑ name a whole bunch of other courses, it wouldn't have the same flavour.テつ I've always been very impressed by the rotation of courses we play here.テつ They are going to keep doing it.

Q.テつ You clearly enjoy it, and you're clearly committed to coming back?
TOM WATSON:テつ Well, I don't know how many more years I'm going to play as far as my career is concerned.テつ I'm starting to see the end of my career.テつ It's coming some time.

Q.テつ You're back next year, yeah?
TOM WATSON:テつ Yeah, I'll be back next year, sure.テつ Be back at The Open in Hoylake, and play here at Royal Porthcawl, which is a course down in Wales, a damn good golf course.テつ But I don't know how many more years after that, I don't know.テつ I'm 65 and I'm starting to feel it.テつ I'm starting to feel the length going.テつ I still have the ability I think that I can still play against and compete against the players I'm playing against.テつ Still have that ability.
Kind of takes‑‑ I have to be playing on a course like the Open where they bring it back.テつ Augusta is a different story.テつ I can't play that course with these kids.テつ I can't hit it far enough off the tee to have the shots going in there that allows me to compete successfully there.テつ So my years are numbered there.
But again, I love to play over here.テつ I love to play these golf courses.テつ They frustrate the heck out of you, they really do.テつ Every ball just seems like it's going into that bunker; stay out, you always think, stay out of that bunker.テつ I can't care if you hit it right down the middle of the fairway; is it going to bounce hard left or hard right?テつ You never know.テつ That's the beauty of links golf is just that; it's the anticipation and the uncertainty of links golf.テつ And that takes a lot here.テつ It takes a lot here.テつ Because I hated it at first.テつ I didn't like the uncertainty.テつ That's what I hated about it.テつ I didn't like where the ball ended up a lot of times when I thought I hit a good shot, and you have to deal with that and you have to accept it.
Even though I competed successfully early with the attitude, I didn't like it.テつ But I changed.テつ I have a great respect for this type of game, I really do.テつ This type of game, it takes your wits.テつ It takes a skill level.テつ It takes a touch and a feel that you put all that together.テつ That's the consummate links golf.テつ That's what it takes.

Q.テつ As someone that's produced a few great moments and watched a lot of great moments, as well, Inbee Park this week‑‑
TOM WATSON:テつ Yeah, she's going for four.

Q.テつ Where would you put that in the annals?
TOM WATSON:テつ That's sensational.テつ That's sensational.テつ I kind of hope she does it.テつ It's a great story.テつ Wow.テつ Woods had the four trophies in his hour.テつ People say, well, that's not a Grand Slam because he didn't do it in one year.テつ But most people, that's pretty‑‑ you have all four of them in your house, the real ones, not the fake ones, but the real ones.テつ Now that's saying something.テつ Nobody's ever had that before.テつ Nobody's ever done that before.テつ And Inbee has a chance to do that in one year.テつ That's sensational.

Q.テつ Will you have any chats, conversations with Tiger, six months before The Ryder Cup?
TOM WATSON:テつ Oh, I'm sure we'll get together.テつ We see each other at the Masters every year.テつ I'm sure I'll see him at the PGA.テつ It's really not ramping up quite yet, it really isn't.
Although if you look at the points for the three major championships, we have pretty much the same team that we had last year at Medinah.テつ With the exception of two or three players, everybody is on the team.テつ But you never know what's going to happen.テつ It's going to get skewed at the end of the year because most of the players, top players, are not going be to be playing the last six tournaments at the end of the year; you're going to have those players get their Ryder Cup points.

Q.テつ Leading up to it, Harrington always talks about having sort of a captain on the course.テつ Would you see Tiger in that sort of role for you?
TOM WATSON:テつ What do you mean?

Q.テつ Harrington was just saying, somebody in the team to take the lead, he thought, that was his feeling.
TOM WATSON:テつ Captain on the course?

Q.テつ Like a senior‑‑
TOM WATSON:テつ I'm going to go try to beat him at the PGA.テつ That's what I'm going to try to do.テつ Beat these kids at the PGA.テつ That's my next goal.
At both The Open here at Muirfield, the Greenbrier Classic a couple weeks before that, and I got the chance to meet up with a bunch of kids that I had not met before, and their wives, and start the conversations, kid with them a little bit, needle them a little bit; you going to make the team.
I remember trying to make the team as a Ryder Cup player.テつ When I tried to make it, it was just, we had 12 spots, and if you are 12th, you're on the team, no picks.テつ That's the way it worked.テつ That's just the way it worked.テつ No picks.テつ You knew all year what it was going to take to get on the team.テつ That was the goal.テつ I always wanted to play on the team.
One of my cherished moments, honestly, in the game, was the flag‑raising ceremony at Lytham.テつ I played on my first Ryder Cup Team in '77.テつ That was really special.

Q.テつ From some of the chats you've had with some of the younger players, do you feel they look at it the same way?
TOM WATSON:テつ Oh, yeah.テつ I talked to Davis Love at length about The Ryder Cup last year, and he said that team was so committed and they were so much in solidarity, they really were.テつ That's all I needed to hear.テつ I didn't want to it hear something like, you know, some of the guys didn't get along or something.
He said, no, they are all just‑‑ man, they had one purpose in mind, and that was to win The Ryder Cup.テつ That's all I ask for.テつ That's all I ask for.テつ I don't ask for anything else.テつ I'm just asking them to go out there and win one more match or won one more match than your team does‑‑ and I say your team.テつ You're not homers, are you?テつ No.テつ (Laughter).テつ But these are the conversations you have and you're trying to get a sense of what the players are like.テつ But actually it's pretty simple.
I have three picks and that's my first chore.テつ The rest of it is putting the team together.テつ You know, what teams I think I think are going to play best together.テつ The last time I was captain, it didn't work out.テつ I put Azinger and Stewart together, and they got waxed 6&5.テつ So split them up.テつ That was going to be my go‑to team and they were going to play every match, and there was a consensus on the team, these guys, just play, walk on through; 6&5.テつ Now what do you do.テつ (Laughter).
Well, then you make adjustments.テつ It's just like anything else.テつ There's no game plan that always stays the same.テつ It just doesn't work that way.テつ It won't work that way.テつ So that's where the captain comes in to make informed decisions and put the best teams together and give them a lift when they need a lift and kick them in the butt if they need to be kicked in the butt.
You know, these young men, maybe some of the old men, too‑‑ it's great to see the young people, the young players at the Greenbrier, there were a lot of young players, to see their excitement about golf.テつ I remember me back then; I had the same excitement about golf.テつ Being an old, grizzly veteran, I still have the excitement, but it's not the same.テつ These guys can't wait to get up in the morning and just go do it.テつ That was me.テつ That was me.
Some of these kids are going to be on The Ryder Cup.テつ Some of them are, and they are going to be new.テつ They are going to be‑‑ people say, well, Watson is too old to be captain.テつ Well, why am I too old?テつ I've been a Ryder Cup Captain and I've played on The Ryder Cup Team four times, what's the deal.テつ If they can't trust me to make decisions based on what I have done as a captain and also as a player, they have to respect that.テつ So it's no big deal.テつ Point is moot.

Q.テつ The fact that you are still competitive, like what you did at Turnberry, has that renewed your reputation to a younger generation, if you like?テつ Some of the younger guys weren't even born‑‑
TOM WATSON:テつ You're right.

Q.テつ But a guy who was leading the Open three, four years ago, maybe get a little bit more respect back from them because of that.
TOM WATSON:テつ Yeah, I don't know, but as I said, I scared those kids four years ago.テつ I scared them a little bit.テつ They said, who is this guy.テつ Oh, I remember him.テつ He won these things a long time ago.

Q.テつ Some of us remember the first time you won, I was at the very first Open at Carnoustie.
TOM WATSON:テつ Remember those first three days, not a breath of air the first three days.テつ Trevino said:テつ This is perfect for Watson.テつ Go put a hundred pounds on him.テつ Won some money.

Q.テつ Your own schedule over the next year, do you expect to be at Gleneagles to look things over?
TOM WATSON:テつ I'm going to be there for the year to go event, which is the end of September.テつ We're going to be there the Monday, kind of a Monday‑‑ a bunch of stuff to do Monday.テつ I can't remember the date but I think it's like the 23rd, 24th.テつ We have a couple days, Paul and I.テつ Paul and I had dinner last week.テつ We had dinner on Monday night and talked about a few odd issues, a few things about where we want to go with The Ryder Cup.
I'm very happy.テつ I met with Richard Hills and Andy McFee, we had a good conversation about how the matches are conducted and all that sort of stuff.テつ I was very happy.テつ Just these matches, I know how important they are, especially on this side of the pond, but they are really important on our side of the pond.
Don't you misunderstand the American players; they think about The Ryder Cup.テつ They are tired of getting their butts beat.テつ I'm tired of watching them get beat, too.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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