Tom Watson - June 20, 2012


World Golf Hall of Fame Member Tom Watson won the Open Championship five times between 1975 and 1983 and also won the 1982 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach along with the 1977 & 1981 Masters. Watson finished runner-up to Scott Simpson in the 1987 U.S. Open at The Olympic Club.

He is getting ready to play five events in a row after dealing with a neck injury he suffered while doing some work on his farm at home in Kansas. He will play in the Senior Players Championship, The Greenbrier Classic, U.S. Senior Open, The Open Championship, and the Senior Open Championship during that span.

He e-mailed Webb Simpson after he won the U.S. Open and told him to simply enjoy the moment and not let the pundits get in the way of letting you cherish the feeling of winning your first Major. Some people in Simpson’s position get so busy with various commitments and opportunities that they forget to enjoy their win and that is truly unfortunate because you only get to experience that feeling once.

On the question of whether or not the USGA has changed over the years in regards to the U.S. Open setup, Watson felt that nothing had changed this year as The Olympic Club played the way a U.S. Open course should play: hard and difficult. On many occasions, the weather played a big role in decreasing the level of difficulty of the U.S. Open course but that is due to Mother Nature and the USGA cannot be blamed for that. The graduated rough is the biggest change to the U.S. Open since he was competing in that Major on a regular basis. Years ago, the rough was so difficult that words such as monster and massacre would be used to describe U.S. Open courses and that is not the case anymore.

The U.S. Open was the one tournament that he wanted to win the most because as an American, he wanted to win his National Open Championship. Growing up, his father told him on numerous occasions that the U.S. Open was the most important golf tournament in the world. He feels that it is a good thing to have one tournament every year like the U.S. Open that is very difficult and tests every part of your game. The key to the U.S. Open is driving the ball straight because you cannot win if you are playing from the rough the entire time.

At first, he hated links golf because he felt that there was too much luck and not enough skill involved. He did not like the luck of the bounce or the luck of the draw and for many years fought against those realities before he eventually learned to appreciate and embrace those aspects of links golf. On a shot for shot basis, there are more elements involving in determining a good or bad shot in links golf than on any other type of golf course.

A couple of years ago, Watson said that he wanted to put down all of his thoughts and opinions on the golf swing on DVD in part because he wanted his son to have an idea of what he thought about the golf swing. The Lessons of a Lifetime DVD gave him a chance to tell people the reasons why he was successful for so many years and he enjoyed having to opportunity to discuss everything from his grip to the way he played chip shots.

When he was alive, Bruce Edwards’ cup was always half-full and he often told him to simply “carry on.” Many pros get down on themselves when they are in the heat of competition and Bruce simply advised him to carry on and find a way to succeed. There were many moments when he would make what he called “Watson pars” where he would drive the ball into the trees, chip out, and then scramble to make par.

There are 206 bunkers at Royal Lytham & St. Annes and he made a visit to the course recently to see the updates for the 2012 Open Championship. A bunker is without question a hazard at Royal Lytham and just like a water hazard, it is essentially a stroke penalty if you hit in a bunker on that course. The Open Championship is always a true test of golf and it will certainly be that this year.