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July 26 2011

8:54 PM

Watson on Phil, amateurs, 59s and more

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Tom Watson is back in the U.S. after playing the British and Senior British Opens.

Hall of Famer Tom Watson touched on a variety of topics during his Tuesday news conference. The 61-year-old Watson, the pro emeritus at The Greenbrier Resort, is playing The Greenbrier Classic this week instead of the U.S. Senior Open:

ON HIS DECISION TO PLAY AT GREENBRIER INSTEAD OF THE U.S. SENIOR OPEN: "There wasn't any question whether I was going to play this year -- I felt bad about not playing here the first year (when he played the 2010 U.S. Senior Open). ... I felt like I let Jim (Justice, Greenbrier owner) down. And when he called to ask me if I would play, I said, 'You got it, Jim.' I said ‘I was intending on playing anyway, probably before I called you.’ "

ON WHETHER ANY PLAYER WILL MATCH STUART APPLEBY'S 59 FROM LAST YEAR: "There's not going to be any 59s shot. ... About a month ago, I went out and saw the greens, and the greens are a lot firmer. They are like this (knocking on wood table). The ball is not going to stop. It's going to take a lot of skill to get the ball close to the flag positions on these greens. It's like playing the links greens where they really are hard and they release. The ball really releases, with every club in your bag."

ON THE RECENT SUCCESS OF AMATEURS: "The amateurs of today are pros. They are not amateurs. They are pros. They play a lot of competition, and they have the trainers like the pros do. They have the coaches like the pros do. They have the video equipment like the pros do. What do you call them, AINOs, amateur in name only, I guess."

ON PLAYING WITH PHIL MICKELSON FOR THE FIRST TWO ROUNDS: "I've never played with Phil before in a regular tournament. He may remember; I don't remember. He's a magician, that guy, he's an absolute magician."

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