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SENIOR PGA CHAMPIONSHIP PRESENTED BY KITCHENAID


May 21, 2014


Tom Watson


BENTON HARBOR, MICHIGAN

KELLY ELBIN:テつ Two‑time Senior PGA champion and 2014 UnitedStates Ryder Cup team captain Tom Watson joining us at the 75th Senior PGA Championship Presented By KitchenAid.テつ This will be Tom's 14th Senior PGA Championship, but the first time you've played here at Harbor Shores.テつ We missed you a couple of years ago with an arm injury.
TOM WATSON:テつ I was injured a couple years ago.テつ I was up here four years ago for the grand opening with‑‑ I don't know if anybody here was there, but it was a great, it was a grand day, it really was, with Arnie and Jack and Johnny Miller, we opened the course up here.テつ It was really a great grand opening for the, for this facility.
KELLY ELBIN:テつ Jack's improbable putt on number 10.
TOM WATSON:テつ That made it ‑‑ it went viral.テつ It definitely went viral.
KELLY ELBIN:テつ Very quickly.テつ Tom, what are your thoughts on the golf course and your game coming in?
TOM WATSON:テつ First of all, as everybody said, the golf course is in marvelous shame.テつ It's just terrific.テつ You just don't get a bad lie anywhere; unless you get in the rough, and you're not supposed to be in the rough.
I guess the best definition of the golf course is the greens are complicated.テつ They're very difficult greens.テつ There's all kind of different slopes, knobs, all kinds of different things and they play very, which makes them play very small.
The key to success this week, as Roger Chapman did, I watched him play the golf course, I was interested to see how he did on the golf course.テつ He played just some tremendous shots and great shots in there.
You had to be a great iron player that week.テつ Obviously Roger's iron play was superb.テつ So that's what it's going to take and some imaginative putting.テつ Because you'll be on the wrong side of those humps and knobs and you're going to have to have some great feel and you better be able to read greens, because you can have some very weird putts out there.
KELLY ELBIN:テつ Open it up for questions for Tom Watson, please.

Q.テつ How would you assess your game at the moment?テつ You came in sixth last week.
TOM WATSON:テつ I played well last week.テつ I played pretty well in the pro‑am yesterday.テつ Today I hit some, didn't hit as many good shots today as I did yesterday in the pro‑am.テつ But I was just trying to get a feel for the back nine a little bit more, just trying to hit, do some locations there that look like there will be some flag positions there.
But I'm playing pretty well.テつ I'm playing pretty well and I'm driving the ball well, hitting some good iron shots.テつ It makes me smile every now and then.テつ Better than earlier in the year when I wasn't playing very well.

Q.テつ You haven't really played that much this year, have you?
TOM WATSON:テつ No, that's intentional too, because I'm playing, this is, this will be the second week out of eight weeks out of 13 weeks that I'll be playing from now through the PGA Championship.

Q.テつ Responsibilities with the Ryder Cup have a lot to do with that?
TOM WATSON:テつ Not really.テつ I'm playing ‑‑ I'm playing against the kids in five events this year.テつ I played against them twice so far at the Masters and the RBC Heritage.テつ I'll be playing the Greenbrier Classic, the British Open, and the PGA against the kids.
That's intentional.テつ Harbour Town was an additional tournament.テつ I love playing there, I love the golf course, I just haven't played for many years.テつ But it was kind of double duty that week to get a chance to meet some of the kids.

Q.テつ I remember two years ago you were disappointed not being able to play in this championship on this course, could you talk about being excited to be here and having the opportunity this time around.
TOM WATSON:テつ This tournament is played at a facility that is not just a golf facility, it's a facility that has, it's a renovation.テつ It has a lot deeper meaning, this facility, than just a golf course.
What it's done for the community and what it's intended to do for the community, is to create lives, new lives for people.テつ I hope that that really comes to fruition here, that it does create that type of community here.
What it took to build the golf course was on the land and the reclaimed land and the super fund monies that went into this and the private funding that went just to get the land in the shape to build the golf course, it was a huge commitment.テつ To say that we're going to help this community out.
I hope it bears its fruit for long, long years to come.

Q.テつ Have you started looking at your potential Ryder Cup team or is it too early in the process for that?
TOM WATSON:テつ I haven't looked at all.
(Laughter.)テつ Whose on the team?テつ I don't know whose on the team.
I'm just kidding.テつ Yes, I've been actively involved of looking at the players.テつ I've had a chance to play with Jimmy walker at the Masters in a practice round, Patrick Reed in a practice round at the Heritage, I've had a chance to sit down with Bubba.テつ There are three players right now who are high up on the list.
I've talked with Andy North.テつ He's met with some of the players already.テつ We have created dialogs and the dialogs will continue.
We'll have a really good chance at the Memorial tournament coming up next week, I'll be going up there and spending a couple days up there, Tuesday and Wednesday, we're doing the worst thing you can, that you have to do for being on the Ryder Cup captain, the worst thing you have to do is try to get everybody fitted with their clothes.テつ That's the biggest headache that there is.
So we have invited 25 of the players, potential players who are going to be on the Ryder Cup, the Top‑25 on the list to come in and get fitted for their Ryder Cup clothes.テつ You got all shapes and bodies and different things and it never fails, when you get over there, the Ryder Cup, you're going to get guys that say, "This doesn't fit," and, "This doesn't feel right."テつ You're going to have that.テつ So that's the biggest headache.
But part and parcel of that also you have a chance to meet with some of the young players again, some of the players who are high up on the list.テつ I haven't really sat down with Matt Kuchar or Dustin Johnson yet.テつ I'll probably look them up this next week, see what we can have an ice tea or something.
It's just the process of trying to get to know some of these players before the event happens.テつ So they get to know me.テつ They get to know, kind of a little bit of what I am and what I bring to the table to them.テつ That's just common sense what you do.

Q.テつ Tiger said on Monday that he didn't know when he was going to return to action or not, which makes it a little unlikely that he would qualify for the team on points.テつ What would you need to see from him, when and if he does comeback, in order to make him a captain's pick?
TOM WATSON:テつ Well, I would have to see great play and that he's in good shape.テつ I just wish him well to get back into shape where he starts playing good golf again.

Q.テつ Can you just talk about Miguel Angel Jimenez, a week after the Masters, he wins on the Champions Tour, and then last week on the European Tour.テつ He's made it clear that his goal is to make that European Ryder Cup team.テつ What can you say about his game?
TOM WATSON:テつ Miguel Angel is a fine guy.テつ He's just a delightful person.テつ He's he has a wonderful sense of humor, a great way of going about his life.
I just love the guy.テつ He's infectious.テつ To be around him, we spent some time with him in Dubai a few years ago, my wife and I, and just had a delightful dinner with him.テつ We got to know him a little bit then.
Again, he's playing very good golf.テつ He does it with kind of an unusual golf swing, but he really gets the job done.テつ He knows his capabilities and he's a tough competitor.

Q.テつ Along those lines, with the U.S. team with Spieth and English and Reed, a lot of young guys on the team, on the opposite end, the European team looks like they're going to have some age.テつ Bjorn is playing well.テつ MAJ looks like he might be a factor in making the team.テつ How do you see that age thing factors into the Ryder Cup this year?
TOM WATSON:テつ Well, there's always going to be new blood on both teams.テつ It's not going to just be the same teams.テつ You look at Dubuisson, the Scotsman, Jamie Donaldson.テつ There's a good chance that both of those players will be on the team.
Our team, we got Harris English, Jimmy Walker, of course Jordan Spieth, you got young players that can make the team on our side as well.
But we got the usual suspects on both teams.テつ More than usual suspects for the European team at this point.
Let me just make it clear, there are a lot of points left out there and this team can, the face of this team can change dramatically between now and the PGA Championship.テつ There are just a lot of points in the last couple tournaments, the PGA's 1.8 million, that's 3,600 points for the winner of the PGA.テつ Obviously if a U.S. player wins it, that's probably going to get that person on the team.
But there's just a lot of points left out there.テつ So the face of this team can change pretty dramatically, but right now it's trending and Bubba has definitely made the team, Jimmy's probably pretty close to making the team, so there's, but that's at this point.テつ It's hard to ‑‑ I really haven't spent too much time speculating, because it is what it's going to be.
The main thing is to look at the list and get to know some of these players who I don't know.テつ And get a chance to meet them at the Memorial and the various tournaments that I'm going to and playing against them and get to know the kids, maybe play a little golf with them, and also watching them.
The other secret behind the scenes there is talk to their caddies.テつ Caddies have a lot of information.テつ A lot of information that can help us make decisions on whose got what.
KELLY ELBIN:テつ Are you getting a sense from the younger players of what the Ryder Cup means and the passion and the theater that it represents?
TOM WATSON:テつ Sure.テつ Yeah, just sitting there with Bubba he said, "God, I can't wait to do this again.テつ Can't wait."

Q.テつ How would you appraise what Kenny Perry's done with his little Major streak and what he might pull off this week if he were to win.
TOM WATSON:テつ Well, he's got the ‑‑ his Major streak is what now?

Q.テつ Three that he played in.テつ He skipped the Senior British.
TOM WATSON:テつ Okay.

Q.テつ Do you think that diminishes it at all the fact that he didn't play in that one?
TOM WATSON:テつ It never does, no.テつ He's just got a great streak going.テつ He's playing some really good golf.テつ Kenny's the type of guy that when he gets it going, he just, he makes a lot of birdies.テつ He rolls the egg beautifully.テつ He gets that ball in play, he can get the ball high and come down soft in these tight pin positions on this golf course, so this golf course sets up very well for Kenny Perry.
I would like to have a little bit of his length and his height is what I would like.

Q.テつ You previously stated that if you had it your way there wouldn't be any captain's picks?
TOM WATSON:テつ That's right.

Q.テつ You still feel that way?
TOM WATSON:テつ I really do.テつ I kind of feel that way.テつ The captain's picks came into play with the Europeans had asked for them.テつ Could we have a couple of picks.テつ Because basically back then they had the same thing we did, there was no picks, there was a list to get on the Ryder Cup team, you saw the list every week and we had our deadline of the PGA and they had their deadline, I can't remember where it was.テつ Do you remember?テつ I don't remember the deadline.
Then they asked if they could have a couple picks and we said, sure, let's make this thing fair.テつ And then when they started beating us we said, can we have some picks too.テつ And then it got to be four picks, and that's too many picks.
Actually, this year I was thinking about going back to two picks as I had in 1993, but compromised with my mind there and went with three.
But getting back to the point, having two picks, having no picks or make the team you're on the team.テつ You qualify for the team on a yearly basis.テつ There's no, there's no gift, you do it yourself.
I played that way my first part of my career to get on the team and I had the opportunity to make the team the last hole at Cherry Hills at the PGA and I knew I had to make par to make the team.
I hit the most perfect drive up there, I hit a big cut shot up against this side slope here like this and the ball runs down the side slope down in the shortcut in a divot.テつ And I couldn't get down to the ball and I had to go uphill and I had to make par.テつ I hit it thin, knocked it over the green.テつ Didn't want to get it fat and leave it short.テつ But ended up over the green, made bogey, I missed it by a shot.テつ Missed the Ryder Cup by a shot.テつ That was a great disappointment.テつ But I knew what I had to do.テつ And that's part of the deal.
KELLY ELBIN:テつ Your definitely in the marquee group the first two rounds you and Monty and Langer.
TOM WATSON:テつ Yeah, I'll be the short knocker in that group.テつ Yeah, I'm looking forward to that.テつ Monty's starting to play well out here, he's the type of game to do well here, he hits the ball high with a cut shot.テつ Jack likes to build his greens where cut shots are the iron shots of choice going into these greens.テつ So that will be an advantage for him.
Of course, Bernhard, you don't have to say much about Bernhard, just look at his record.テつ He's been playing just super golf.テつ He's got the Hale Irwin mantra on him right now.
KELLY ELBIN:テつ Tom Watson, thank you very, very much.
TOM WATSON:テつ Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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