Watch Your Wallet When Playing Watson

By George WhiteJuly 29, 2003, 4:00 pm
This fella Watson just wont go home. He shows up at your party, hangs around and hangs around until everyone else has said goodbye, then just pulls off his brogans and makes himself comfortable with a snooze on your sofa.
He did it again this weekend. He stayed around, constantly wearing that wisp of a grin on his mug, until the last guy was just about exhausted. Ol Tom took Carl Mason to a playoff when he had no business doing such things. Then he gently lifted the trophy off the mans shoulders and ' voila! ' there you have your Senior British Open champion.
Watson has been doing this sort of thing all year. Usually it gets into the last day and someone has enough left in the tank to dust him off. Hes finished second four times this year, and at age 53 has made the cut in two of the regular-tour majors. Now hes qualified for the PGA Championship ' the real one ' by winning at the Senior British. Heaven help us should he get the idea that he can do the same thing at the PGA.
Tom is such a master at being polite to the vanquished. Sunday it was Brit Mason. Watson gently hung around until Mason double-bogeyed the 72nd hole. Then Watson parred the second playoff hole while the meticulous Mason was making another wee mistake. Oops ' there goes the championship!
Watson spoke about how he didnt deserve it. Gosh, Mason played so well the whole tournament, he said. Just happened to be in the right place at the right time. Nothing but dumb luck, you know.
Well, this luck thing is beginning to wear pretty thin on a lot of players. Because Watson has been doing this same act for decades now.
Watson drives it about 280 yards per whack. But the real difference has been his putting. His putting woes have been legendary for about 15 years now. But this year he stands sixth in putting, and that has been good enough to boost him into contention week after week after week.
As I said out there on the 18th hole, it was -- I got lucky to win, he said in that aw-shucks manner.
I've said this all week - my putter has been magical all week this week. I must have made 10 putts over 20 feet this week. I holed a sand wedge at 10 for eagle.

The leader of the tournament made a double bogey on the last hole to let me have a chance, and it's almost destiny that that happened, I don't know. I know I was trying my darnedest down there to hit every shot, but it certainly wasn't as pretty as Carl was playing. He played very, very well the first two rounds. I'm sure he played well today again and made very few mistakes except for the last hole.
As a result, I got in the playoff, with kind of the 'Watson of old' where I made just a lot of long putts, kind of scrambled around, kind of stayed in the tournament and relied on my short game and my putting to see me through - which it did.
Well, darn, another opponent got flim-flammed. Tom graciously said his platitudes at the victory ceremony and the other guy kept wondering where his wallet was. Turns out Tom had it ' along with the trophy.
Watson, of course, wouldnt have said it was destiny, even though it was on the exact same grounds where he beat Jack Nicklaus in perhaps the greatest match ever played in 1977.
Well, this week, no, he said. I didn't feel like I was striking the ball well enough to win, but I felt like I was putting the ball well enough to win. If I could keep from making too many mistakes with my long game, I was going to hang in there.
I just kept on believing I was going to make every putt I looked at, and that's exactly what happened. I hope this feeling lasts for a long time, but I know it won't.
Of course, he said he was expecting yet another second-place finish.
I certainly was, yes, he said. After bogeying the last hole, I expected second place. In fact, I said it to American TV, I said, This is getting tiresome finishing second. I didn't expect Carl to make the mistake he did or the couple mistakes he did on the last hole.
Now comes another one of the young fellows majors. He startled the gents by shooting 65 in the opening round at the U.S. Open, all the time wearing that little half-smile. He made some noise in the British Open where he finished well up in the final standings ' 18th, as a matter of fact, with a 69 on the final day.
I played well I played well enough in one round this year, a couple rounds this year at the British Open and another round at the U.S. Open. That was three rounds out of eight, and I had five other rounds that weren't so good.
So in one round, yes. Two rounds, yes. Three or four rounds, probably not. But I still can hope, can't I? I still can dream it.
So goes ol Tom, just dreaming while he collects fat paycheck after fat paycheck. This man is plenty good enough to win on either tour. If youre his opponent, just be advised to keep your eyes on him at all times. That Watson magic may not be magic at all ' it may just be everyone else leaving the party at a more sensible time while Watson hangs around to collect the spoils..
Related Links:
  • Bio - Tom Watson
  • Full Coverage - Senior British Open
  • Senior British Open Leaderboard
  • Getty Images

    What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

    Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

    Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

    Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

    Getty Images

    Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

    Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

    While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

    The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

    So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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    Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

    By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

    The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

    As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

    Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

    And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

    And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

    McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

    The Ryder Cup topped his list.

    Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

    When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

    “Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

    McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

    Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

    “The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

    European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

    And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

    The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

    Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

    And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

    Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

    The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

    The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

    More bulletin board material, too.

    Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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    Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

    Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

    The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

    It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

    The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

    “I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

    Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.