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Wednesday, June 16, 2010Tom Watson
Tom Watson

Player Bio

BETH MURRISON: Good afternoon from the 2010 U.S. Open Championship at Pebble Beach Golf Links. We're honored to have Tom Watson. Tom received a special exemption to play in the U.S. Open this year. It will mark his 31st appearance in the championship, the first since 2003. This is his 5th U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, making him the only player to play in all five Opens at Pebble Beach. Obviously his first was 1972, his first U.S. Open; and 1982 a very, very memorable victory. Many of the players we've had in this week have talked about it at length. And we're very happy to have him to talk about it and playing again this week. Can you talk a little bit about what it means to be back at Pebble Beach this week.

TOM WATSON: Well, a lot of questions have been ‑‑ a lot of the same questions have been asked this week. This place brings back such wonderful memories to me. The first and foremost is probably the lucky chip at 17. But it goes farther back than that. The times I played in the Crosby with good friend Sandy Tatum and Bob Wells from Kansas City. And prior to that playing hereby myself when I was going to Stanford, probably played here about a dozen times. Back then the greens fees were about 15 bucks (laughter). Had a good relationship with Ray Parga who was a starter here, he let me on for free, after I paid the first couple of greens fees, he said, "Aw, go on and play."

But I had a great relationship with Art Bell, who was the Director of Golf here at Pebble Beach, back in the late '60s and early '70s. Art gave me some lessons, a wonderful swinger of the golf club.

So I've got a wonderful appreciation of this area. Not the least of which I was involved in helping design, with Bob Jones and Sandy Tatum, The Links At Spanish Bay. That was a project of some consternation with different things that went on, but we did a good job at the golf course, and now it's a wonderful golf course to play.

My brother, Ridge, he's a resident out here in Monterey County. He's in the wine business. He sells Julian wine and produces it. He's the chief cook and bottle washer. And he's lived out here since the early '80s. So I've got a great connection with this area out here.

The golf course, probably want to know about the golf course. The golf course is a lot different than when we played it before, in the sense that it's more dangerous. It's more dangerous with the fairways being cut right into the hazards. That was the intent. Let's make the hazards come into play.

And in particular No. 6, No. 8, No. 9 for the longer hitters and you can get the ball ‑‑ you could get the ball in the hazards there ‑‑ No. 4, I'm sorry, forgot No. 4. That ball can roll right into the hazards you get it going sideways a little bit. It puts another question in your mind about playing Pebble Beach, toughens it up, I think.

The rough is very unpredictable. You can get a decent lie, and then you can get a lie that you don't know what to do with it. Maybe that's just old age talking, but I've had difficulty chipping around these greens, and I've chipped a lot around these greens, similar to what I've done always ‑‑ you're always going to miss these greens. These greens are the smallest set of greens we play in a U.S. Open Championship. You're going to miss a lot of greens. Your chipper better be on. You better have good technique to play shots from this unpredictable rough around these greens.

My game is in pretty good shape. I'm playing pretty well. Just came off a victory. I won the rain‑shortened 36‑hole Tom Watson Challenge in Kansas City (laughter).

You laugh, but I did. That's my second victory of the year. But I won by one over Clay Devers, and we had a terrible rain storm on Sunday night. We were going to play on Monday and then I was going to come out here late Monday, but they canceled the round, so I got out here a little bit earlier.

But I played well there. I played a real good stretch of golf there. It was good preparation for here. This golf course is just a little different than the wet Kansas City Country Club. This is the fastest I've ever seen Pebble run, with the exception of maybe 1977 when we had the drought here. 1977 we had cracks in the fairways, and it was really, really dry.

This golf course is ‑‑ yesterday was running faster and today they put more water on the golf course. Obviously both the greens and fairways, it seemed like today, I'm almost positive they did, because it played softer, softer walking. But yesterday, it was getting really runny. It was getting fast yesterday. I suspect it will get that way during the tournament.

Q. What's the most important club that people will need this week and what is, in your opinion, going to be the most important shot on the course, specific shot, that people will have to play?

TOM WATSON: Well, I can answer it in both the same ‑‑ with the same club and the same hole, 17. 17 is the critical shot on this golf course.

The green is the smallest green we've ever played to that length of shot. It's just a tiny, tiny green, a bowl shaped green. Today I hit four 3‑irons and didn't even sniff getting on the green. The one 3‑iron I hit, hit on the downslope just over the bunker and just scooted over the back of the green in some of that unpredictable rough.

To hit the proper shot there you've got to go up in the air and you better be strong enough to get it up in the air and have it come down softly. I used to be able to do that. I'm not quite capable of doing that right now, but I'm still going to give it a try. But that's the critical shot.

14 is ‑‑ the approach into 14 would be my next ‑‑ that's my next one. You better play that well for four rounds. That can cost you big time there. And obviously it cost some people some big numbers at the AT&T earlier this year, same with the U.S. Open.

It's going to be interesting, though, the drive at 6, I played with some players today, longer than I was, and they were hitting an iron off the tee at 6. We had it downwind right‑to‑left, but hit an iron off the tee. And you don't want to force the issue, it pitches down there, if you push it a little right, you're down there with the otters (laughter).

It plays differently. It definitely does. So it's going to be an interesting golf course. I like it better, I really do. I think it needed to have these changes.

13 is a wonderful change. 10 is a good change. 9 is a good change if they don't get ‑‑ 9 and 10 are good changes if they don't get the winds coming from the other direction. We couldn't reach the greens when we had the storm winds, when they came from the south, from the old tees. They added 50 yards or 40 yards with the new tees. Oh, maybe you can still do it.

Q. You played with a man named Derek Lamely today. I want you to comment on his game and any advice you have for him or any other players entering their first major.

TOM WATSON: Well, Derek has a good golf swing. I liked his action. Good putter. I remember my first U.S. Open, it was right here at Pebble Beach. And just ‑‑ you go around and you know what you have to do, but the pressure sometimes gets to you and you can't get it done.

What you have to do is you keep the ball in the fairway, number one. You have to keep the ball under the hole. Hit the ball to the front edges of the greens, because you're going to get some bounces on these greens, it's going to be bouncy. These greens play very small and my advice is to play kind of like the way I did at Winged Foot in 1974. I almost got it done, although my game fell apart in the last round because of all the pressure, but I tried to keep it on the long ‑‑ the wide side of the hole, of the green. If the flag's on the left, I aimed middle, to the right of the green, just to get it on the green, right there. It worked. Until I couldn't do it anymore.

And that's kind of U.S. Open conditions, hard greens, heavy rough, give yourself a chance to make par every hole, and stay away from double bogeys.

Q. You've said earlier that No. 9 was the one hole that really worried you.

TOM WATSON: It did. We played it downwind.

Q. I was curious if you could expand that in that whole stretch of 8, 9, 10 and that stretch of par‑4s both in difficulty and obviously in scenery, but how telling a stretch that might be, those three hard par‑4s.

TOM WATSON: My dad told me back before I played Pebble Beach, the best three par‑4s in a row in the world were 8, 9, and 10 at Pebble Beach and I concur with him. They have changed. The length at 9 and 10. The fairway at No. 8. They don't give you much room at the fairway at No. 8. You've got to put it in play there. Now what do you do?

You've got a big chasm to go over, and now where do you put it? It's a lot more difficult hole than it has been in the past. I don't believe the fairway was this narrow in any of the championships I've played.

Some of the great shots that you have to play are the approach to 8. Nowadays you have to put the ball in the fairway. You didn't think about putting the ball in the fairway at 8, you had a lot of room. Now you have to think about putting the ball in the fairway at 8. And you've got to think about putting the ball in the fairway at 11. Before they had the fairway up the left side of 11 where it should be, now it's over to the right over here. That's where you would kind of normally hit it, now you're aiming too far to the right and you're still fanning it off to the right, now you're in worst position.

The U.S. Open brings about some negative thoughts, as you can tell from my conversation, here (laughter). Just a few negative thoughts. I'd like to say that I go with my buddy Bob Murphy's negative/positive. You think about all the negatives and your last thought is positive. But there are a lot of negatives here.

And try to keep it as simple as possible, is probably the best advice, again, people like Derek or anybody, that's the best thing to do in a U.S. Open, don't get it too complicated.

Q. One of the great stories about you and this place, Pebble Beach, came about shortly after the shot heard around the world in 1982. You and some friends were having a good time at the lodge.

TOM WATSON: Had some champagne.

Q. You told me this story about four or five years ago. I wondered if you could give the Readers Digest story about that.

TOM WATSON: Sure. Bob Jones, Sandy Tatum, and I were the co‑designers of Spanish Bay. We were here on a ‑‑ after a meeting about the golf course, we were in the beginning of the process, because we had just been given approval by the county commission to do it. So we were celebrating the beginning of the project.

We were down there on Club 19. And after a little wine and a little champagne, Hank Ketcham, the author of Dennis the Menace was there, and a few other assorted and sundry people. And we had kind of ‑‑ when the dessert came around I said ‑‑ I stood up at the table and I said, how about us going out and trying the shot, like this, just got up out of the blue. We were talking about it. We were talking about it a lot. It was a lucky shot. And everybody said, yeah, let's go.

So I went into my room and got my wedge and several golf balls and joined them up about five minutes later and here we go. I thought maybe there would be a little bit of light out there. You know the light that floods the 18th green at Pebble at night? You see it and it floods ‑‑ I thought maybe there was be an aura of this light at 17. I didn't know my science very well. 530 yards away, that light has no bearing on the darkness at 17 green. It was total pitch dark.

So I went in and hit the shot first, put it down in ‑‑ the flag wasn't in the right position, I think the flag was here, here's where the ball was, I sculled it clear over the green. We all tried it a bunch of times. And we laughed about it, came back in. And we proceeded over the next couple of years to build a pretty nice golf course at Spanish Bay.

Q. You have the company of Rory McIlroy for a couple of rounds, at least. As somebody yourself who got to be the best player in the world, do you see that he has an X factor, can you see something with many him as a future that maybe follows you?

TOM WATSON: Well, Rory is ‑‑ he has a great combination of strength and touch. His golf swing I think is a very solid, on‑plane type of swing. And the young man gets it. He gets what this game is all about. He gets how to do things out here. He's got a great future ahead of him.

Q. Given how well you've been playing of late, like the Tom Watson Challenge ‑‑

TOM WATSON: The Watson Challenge.

Q. The Watson Challenge. But the past year or so, how do you balance kind of the nostalgia that has to hit you when you're out there at Pebble Beach with the desire to be competitive, which you've shown you can be anywhere?

TOM WATSON: Well, I still feel like as if I can play the golf course. I'm out there and I'm still trying to figure it out, figuring out all these lies, these unpredictable lies around the green and the rough. And trying to figure out the new lines and where you have to hit the ball off the tee.

And I'm preparing just ‑‑ as Nicklaus said, "I won golf tournaments by out preparing other people. I prepared better. I knew the yardages, I knew the distances, I played the golf courses a bunch of times and I just ‑‑ I had the advantage."

And the nostalgia, I guess it comes ‑‑ when we get to the 17th tee or 17th green and the 18th tee, and everybody wants to take a picture. It kind of reminds me of what happened, what occurred here before. It's pretty sweet. It's pretty nice.

Q. Given the fact that you were just talking about you're still kind of searching, learning how to play the course as it is right now and coupled with the fact that you've had pretty good success the last years in the Majors on courses that you know well, do you come in hoping that you play well, thinking that you play well, wondering if you'll play well?

TOM WATSON: Actually I am playing well. The key for me is to drive the ball in the fairway. And I've been doing that well all year. That makes life a lot easier, makes it a whole lot easier.

This rough is U.S. Open rough. It doesn't look very long, does it? It's got the short cut here, and ‑‑ I tell you, that ball, for old folks like me, it's tough. It's tough to ‑‑ you get rough that long and it's limp and it's gnarly, the ball goes right into it like this, and what's it going to do? And keeping it out of the rough, that's the number one thing. And I'm doing that well. I'm driving the ball well, so that's the key.

Number two, I'm putting the ball pretty well. So I feel pretty good about that. But the X factor here is the conditions and 17.

17 is going to be a hard hole for me. When I won here in '82 I birdied it three out of four days. Back in those days I could hit the ball straight up in the air, hit it soft with a long iron. I can't do that as well anymore.

I remember in '72, I played my practice round and said, how do you play this hole? And, boy, I played it great. I hit ‑‑ I made two birdies. I hit the green three out of the four days. The day I didn't hit it, I holed it.

Q. You wrote a great article back in 1983 called, "Read my mind, every shot I played to win The Open." You said in the article that the last day you had a game plan and you stuck to it every single shot except the approach on 18 where you clubbed down. Where are the contenders going to be able to attack this golf course, and where are the contenders going to have to know enough to club down? And one other thing is, where's the wedge that holed that shot?

TOM WATSON: Well, the wedge that holed that shot is in the Lexus tent right over here, if you want to see it. It's right over there.

I always felt that Pebble Beach you could get on a roll here. The first seven holes ‑‑ 2 playing as a par‑5, now it's a par‑4, you throw 2 out of the picture there, make par ‑‑ if you make par at 2 both days, you've done something good.

But you play 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 ‑‑ 5 is probably the next toughest ‑‑ and you've got five pretty good birdie chances right there. You could get the ball close to the hole. You're hitting short irons into the greens. Then the golf course starts. But that's where one takes advantage.

It's like Jack did in the final round, birdied five holes in a row. And you can do that on this golf course. But you still have to play 8, 9, 10, 12, 14, 17, and 18. You've got your work really cut out for you.

The only time I've ever played this golf course without a bogey was my very first round as a professional golfer. The bing Crosby in 1972. 17 pars and birdied the 18th hole. That was the first time I ever broke 75 playing this golf course. I played all those years, as I said, about a dozen times.

Q. How did you go from someone who had trouble closing the tournament in a Major on the last day, maybe succumbing to those negative thoughts and pressure to being the ultimate closer? What was that process?

TOM WATSON: Well, I think a lot of it had to do with the experience and believing in my golf swing. When you go out to play under pressure you don't want to be too complicated. As I said, try to keep it simple. You don't want a lot of extraneous, negative thoughts to go through your mind. You trust your golf swing. I had a hard time trusting my golf swing back in the early days, because I didn't get it. I had ‑‑ I played off certain keys that worked for a little while. In '77 I had a key that really worked for about a year and a half. And then I had to change keys in the middle of '78 and that worked for two or three years. And then I didn't have a good, solid key after that.

Then I finally ‑‑ I basically found how to swing the golf club in 1994. And it's been pretty easy ever since, if golf can ever be said ‑‑ if you can ever say that. Don't strike me down, please (laughter).

Q. If you win this week you can come back in 2019 for the U.S. Open they just announced.

TOM WATSON: Did they really?

Q. Yeah, they did.

TOM WATSON: 2019 at Pebble? That's cool.

Q. I'm curious as your thoughts of Pebble Beach as a U.S. Open venue, and the USGA thinks highly of it, your thoughts on Pebble as the U.S. Open venue?

TOM WATSON: I think it's provided some wonderful championships. I'm not trying to brag on '82. '82 was obviously very special to me, because I won the tournament I wanted to win most I won right here.

But Tiger probably played the best tournament in the history of golf here. Won by 15 shots. 12‑under versus 3‑over. Wow.

And then you had Nicklaus hit the 1‑iron, on an impossible day.

And you had Kite shooting 71 on an impossible day last round. Was it '71 or '72?

Q. '72.

TOM WATSON: 72, shot even par the last round? It's impossible on this golf course. So you had some just wonderful things happen here at Pebble Beach.

We had Gil Morgan, what did he have a six shot, seven shot lead after 36 holes, going into the back nine of the third day? Yeah, this golf course can take it from you. It's got a lot of stories. It has a lot of stories about it. A lot of stories.

Phil Harris, Jack Lemmon, and Bing Crosby and all those guys, too. So it has a rich fabric of golf here at Pebble Beach, and the U.S. Open should come back here. It's a wonderful venue.

Q. How long do you think you'll be competitive at the world class level? It sounds like you just heard that Pebble Beach got the U.S. Open for 2019. You're a pretty competitive guy, I don't know, maybe nine years ‑‑

TOM WATSON: It's anybody's guess. I don't know. I still feel ‑‑ my body is still in pretty good shape and I'm hitting the ball pretty well, putting the ball pretty well. I'm happy to be able to say that, I'm putting the ball pretty well.

I don't know, it could be a year, could be three years, could be six years. I hope it's a long time because that's what I am. I'm a golfer, plain and simple, a golfer. That's what I do. That's what I am. And when I can't do it anymore on a competitive level it's going to be a sad day.

Q. Given your play in recent Major championships as well as on the Champions Tour, probably not something you dwell on, is it possible we're looking at the greatest stretch of play in the history of golf for a player of your age?

TOM WATSON: No.

Q. How have you maintained this?

TOM WATSON: Sneed was so far superior to me. Sam played such better golf. No, I was always in awe of Sam. He could play until he was 78 years old. He could play. And I don't think that's in the cards for me.

Q. From a competitive standpoint, you have played in every other U.S. Open prior to this one. There is talk about the firmness of the greens, Phil Mickelson made a comment on 14 potential of No. 7 at Shinnecock, how hard they are. I've wondered if you've seen them harder than they are now, more firm?

TOM WATSON: I have.

Q. Have you?

TOM WATSON: Yeah. Typical firmness, in '72, when we teed it up on Thursday the greens were dead. They were black and blue. They were black and blue. And I'll never forget the shot that Nicklaus hit in the final round on No. 12, into the wind, strong wind. He hits the shot, it was one of those things, straight up in the air like that, it lands on the first third of the green and two hops over the green, hard over the green, down the slope. Not just kind of up like that, but over the slope about ten yards down. Now he's got a downwind shot, this is not Jack's specialty. And he hits a ‑‑ he hits it short. He leaves it short of the green. Now, he's got it on the downslope like this, and to a downslope, downwind, like this, and knocks it up three or four feet and makes it for bogey. I think that was the hole of the tournament for him. But that green was so hard, into the wind, that ball just ‑‑ it was like it knocked, like that.

When Kite won in '92, that last round, it would be interesting to see how many greens in regulation were hit by the field on an average. But I'm sure it was less than nine greens or eight greens for the entire field of playing on that golf course that day.

This course has small greens and when they get hard, it's all you want. Now how hard can you get them? How hard should you get them? That's the question you're asked, right? I think in '92 I think they expected foggy, cool, damp weather.

Well, it started blowing 25 and the sun came out. And they prepared it for cool, damp weather. Not a lot of moisture was put on the greens previous to play. They admitted that. Oops. The weather got us.

That's the fine line that ‑‑ when you set up a golf course to its maximum difficulty, that's the fine line. Can you take it to the difficulty you want it and not get it beyond that, you know, 20 percent beyond that, because of a change in the weather, change in the wind.

It takes a lot of skill to do that. And they fail sometimes. But it's, again, you've got to play the golf course.

Q. In the last five U.S. Opens we've had four winners and a playoff loser where guys who weren't on anybody's favorite list. Yet we have here where the five Majors have been won by the Hall of Famers. Is it less likely that somebody not on the chalk board is going to win here?

TOM WATSON: I don't know, Jeff, it's just ‑‑ pick a name up there. Who's going to do it this week, that's what you're asking. Who's going to do it? Is Woods going to do it? Is Mickelson going to do it? Is Watson going to have a chance to do it? Who knows. Who knows. That's why you're here today and you'll be writing about it tomorrow, the next day, and Sunday you'll be writing about a champion, who knows who that champion is going to be.

I hope that I have a chance to win. I hope that I can put myself in position to win. It would be pretty cool. If I probably don't win, it's probably my last U.S. Open.

Q. You mentioned the X factor was conditions. If you could draw up the conditions perfectly for you, what would those conditions be? What would best set up for your game?

TOM WATSON: Well, it would be ‑‑ I think the winds coming from where they are right now, the west. I think that would be the perfect wind for me. I understand this golf course with that wind. It's difficult for me, but I understand it.

If you throw a south wind or a southwest wind in here, then we've got some issues.

Q. Another question on the fine line on course setup, that 6th fairway to otters, the red hazard line is actually in the fairway cut. A player could conceivably hit the ball in the fairway yet not be able to ground his club. From the spirit of the game and the rules of golf and pardon the pun, do you think that's crossing the line?

TOM WATSON: No, not at all. No, there are lots of ‑‑ if you play golf over in the links courses, fairway goes right into the burns, right into the burns, like this, typical fairway grass right into the burns. You just don't hit it there. You just don't hit it there. I mean, they show it to you. It's not blind. They say don't hit it there. That's why the kids were hitting 3‑woods and irons off the tee downwind. They can say, well, I can get this on in two and I don't have to force the issue. I had a driver, 4‑iron in the middle of the green today. But my drive was where the fairway really started to narrow. Now I'm going to go to the tee tomorrow and, say, do you think I should hit driver tomorrow? Probably, if the same wind, yeah, probably will.

Q. You demonstrated some limbering exercises a few minutes ago. I was wondering what changes have you made in your ritual before you come to the golf course and after you leave the golf course that would be different now as opposed when you were 50 and 42 and 32, when you were here before?

TOM WATSON: Do you really want to know? No, you don't (laughter).

My ritual? Well, I really don't have a ritual. I try to get to the course a couple of hours in advance. I try to get something to eat then, a couple hours in advance. Then I go and I stretch out, sometimes go to the trailers and have the trainers there stretch me out. Then I go do my practice session and head on out.

The only difference in my practice session that I do now that I didn't do before. I used to start with a wedge. Now I start with a 3‑iron in my practice. And when I hit my first shot on the practice tee it's with a 3‑iron rather than a wedge. It's kind of unusual, but it kind of works for me.

Q. You said the stretch that you've been playing may not be the best for someone of your age, but has it been one of the most enjoyable stretches of your career in the last year or so?

TOM WATSON: It's been great. It's been wonderful. I had a chance to win a tournament last year, but it got away from me. Had I given up on myself as far as ever winning a tournament like that again? No, I hadn't. I had a stretch of golf from about '83 ‑‑ '84 to '92, 93, that I felt like I might not ever win something like that again because I was playing so poorly.

And then when I made the adjustment in my golf swing everything smoothed out. And I said, you know, there's no reason why I can't win again.

I won a couple regular Tour events, The Memorial and Colonial in my 40s, late 40s. But I still felt as if I could compete on the links golf courses.

The Masters got a little bit out of hand for me as far as length was concerned. And I stopped playing the U.S. Open courses, they get a little bit out of hand with the length. Bethpage Black was a little long for me. I've never played it, but I heard stories.

Nick Price's story is classic. I love his story. The first year they played there, 10th hole. You have a USGA official walking with you and they put the tee all the way back and they caught the wind in their face. It was a wet, cool day. And 80 percent of the field couldn't get to the fairway. And they have one mower width right between ‑‑ it goes from the tees to the fairways, so you don't get your shoes all wet, right, in the long grass. And Nick hit this beautiful drive out there, right up the center of the fairway, about a foot left of this path. He's walking up there and he said, "You know, this has got to be the smallest fairway I've ever seen in my life," to the USGA official right there (laughter). It's six feet wide.

Q. Following up on the British Open, do you find yourself thinking back to last year and do you replay any shots or any moments? And also going back to No. 17, you mentioned the late night fun up there in the 1980s. I know the hole has changed now. But have you ever tried to replicate that shot again, obviously before the hole changed?

TOM WATSON: Well, yes, I have. Over the last year I've been putting together an instructional video. It's called, "Lessons of a Lifetime." And the second disk in that starts off with a re‑creation of the shot. I'll tell you I holed it again, but I won't tell you how many times it took me (laughter).

It can be done, but I'm sorry, your first question?

Q. About British Open last year.

TOM WATSON: Do I go back to the British Open? No. I get reminded of it a lot. People are very nice and they say something special. But I'm going to let the cat out of the bag, all right, to you and you only, there was a question whether I should have hit an 8‑iron or 9‑iron the last hole. 187 yards, had the wind at my back.

When I hit the shot I kind of faintly remember a pretty good gust of wind. My friend Andy North, who was at the left of the green, when I asked him, I couldn't see where the ball landed, I just wanted to know, where did the ball land? Did it land in the middle of the green? Did it land ten yards on the green? And Andy said, no, it landed about a foot on the surface. He said, Watson, when that ball hit, I was ‑‑ I was buffeted by a gust of wind, it was a lot stronger than the normal wind.

Well, a guy about three weeks ago, a photographer from Colorado said, I was there at the back of the green. He said, I was taking the shot, coming in like this. He said when the ball hit the green like this, he was on the ball, like this, and me like that, and all of a sudden his camera went like that, (indicating) with a gust of wind. So maybe that was it. Maybe I had the right club, but I had the wrong conditions. Maybe I should have hit a 9‑iron and guessed that maybe I was going to have a gust of wind, who knows.

But not using it as an excuse, I'm just going to tell you what happened. And what I've heard over the period of a year. Does it bother me? No.

It would have been nice ‑‑ like I said, it would have been a hell of a story. But Stewart Cink is ‑‑ he did what he had to do, he birdied the last hole and he didn't miss a shot in the playoff. You have to give him all the credit. I just finished second.

Q. What were your thoughts when you saw the pairings and that you were with the kids?

TOM WATSON: I started adding up the ages (laughter).

I said these guys ‑‑ these guys, I think their combined age is, what, 38? 39. The combined age is 39 and I'm 60. I've got them by 21 years, the combined age.

Actually I played with Ryo yesterday, I played nine holes with him. He's a fine player. This guy can hit it. He hits it high. And he can do well here.

And Rory is ‑‑ I played with him in Dubai in an exhibition just prior to the tournament. And he's got a really, really good golf swing. I love his plane of the golf swing. I love Ryo's plane, too.

Q. (Inaudible.)

TOM WATSON: Well, I'll be hitting first. I'll be hitting first most of the time. We'll see, though, old age and treachery can sometimes win out over youth and experience (laughter).

BETH MURRISON: Tom, thanks so much for visiting us today, it's been a real pleasure. Good luck this week.

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