Insider: Ageless Watson set for Senior Open in Wales
July 23, 2014
By Vartan Kupelian, PGATOUR.COM
- Tom Watson is coming off a final-round 68 at The Open Championship in Royal Liverpool. (Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)
RELATED CONTENT: Watson Q&A on staying in shape, his swing
Tom Watson’s game is ageless, as ageless as it can be.
Has there ever been a golfer whose swing looked the same 40 years later?
“Look at Sam Snead,” Watson said at The Open Championship. “I marveled at Sam's swing. He was a phenom. He could hit the ball a long way until he was 75 years old … a long way. He lost it just after he turned 75.”
Tom Watson, 64, is today’s Sam Snead. In the hearts and minds of a generation of golfers, Watson is that man whose golf has not only withstood the test of time but transcended it. He credits it to good genes.
“Mom and dad gave me good genes. I keep on saying that, but that's true,” he said.
The nature of golf had something to do with it, too. Some time ago I asked Watson about his longevity and his timeless swing, and wondered what his workout routine might have looked like many years ago. He said his regimen was hitting hundreds of balls every day and walking five miles a day around a golf course. If that sounded like a generalization, it wasn’t meant to be. Watson repeated those sentiments at Royal Liverpool.
“When you walk six miles a day, I mean you're in good nick,” he said. “And people forget that. I've walked 36 miles this week. That's a lot of walking. That keeps you in pretty darn good shape walking 36 miles a week.”
Watson will continue his good walk unspoiled this week at the Senior Open Championship at Royal Porthcawl Golf Club in Wales. He has won the Senior British three times – 2003, 2005 and 2007 – to go along with the five Claret Jugs he captured at The Open Championship.
Watson predicted he is not the last of a breed. He expects more sixtysomethings to flourish and play the game at a high level well into their Champions Tour years.
“Don't worry about it, there will be,” he said. “People are keeping themselves in good shape. If you don't get injured and you don't have that injury that really prevents you from making a good golf swing, then you can play a long time.”
At Hoylake, Watson experienced what he called the “best warmup session I’ve had all year.” He also made an exception to his rule by hitting some balls after a round. It helped produce an outstanding final-round 68.
Watson makes no concession to his age.
“There's no age when I'm out there,” he said. “I'm doing the same thing as I did when I was 22 years old, although I can't hit the ball very hard anymore. My body is a little sore. I don't go to the practice range after and hit a bunch of balls.”
But when Watson did at Royal Liverpool, he said he “finally figured it out on the last 10 swings.
“The game goes that way,” said Watson, who is combining his golf with duties as the U.S. Ryder Cup captain for the match against Europe in September at Gleaneagles.
“It's just a little adjustment here and there, and all of a sudden then you hit a shot, ‘OK, yeah, that's the way I'm supposed to hit it.’ Then you confirm it. Then you confirm it again. Hit three confirmations. Boom. Yeah. Boom. Yeah. Boom. That's kind of all you did.”
Watson was captain of the 1993 U.S. Ryder Cup team which won the cherished trophy at the Belfry in England.
“There's a story about Ray Floyd at the Belfry after Saturday's round, Ray played 36 holes,” Watson said. “And I'm walking past the range, and there is Ray after playing 36 holes on the practice range. And I go up to him and said, ‘What are you doing? Come on.’ He said, ‘I'm just going to hit about 10 shots, just to confirm.’ And that's what he was doing. And that's what you do. That's what you have to do.”
Watson acknowledged that his fine play at Hoylake puts him in a good frame of mind for this week’s Senior Open at Royal Porthcawl.
“It does give me encouragement for the Senior Open,” he said. “It's fun to finish with a birdie and finish the way I did, and get ready to go to the next tournament.”
WATSON'S INSTRUCTION DVD PROGRAMS
Four years ago, Tom Watson combined his wisdom and knowledge of the golf swing to produce his first instructional DVD program, along with a book, entitled Lessons of a Lifetime. It is a treasure-trove of information that has become one of the best-selling golf instruction programs of all time. It has been produced in five languages and sold in 40 countries.
Now Watson has followed up with Lessons of a Lifetime II. It features three new sections with additional thoughts on Advanced Lessons, More on Chipping and Putting and Teaching Young and Old.
The original features 69 lessons on three DVDs.
The bottom line on the series: Watson offers exceptional insights and instruction in a manner that’s easy to understand and, more importantly, easy for golfers of all levels to incorporate into their games. There isn’t a golfer who can’t benefit from Watson’s experience and knowledge of the golf swing.
A portion of the proceeds from all sales will be contributed to the Bruce Edwards Foundation for ALS Research and other charities. The Lessons of a Lifetime DVDs are available at www.tomwatson.com, Amazon, select golf and sporting goods retailers or by calling 1-800-993-5589.