By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W. Va. -- How does it feel for Tom Watson to make the cut at The Greenbrier Classic?
“Well, I’m one out of two,” he said.
That’s more than Phil Mickelson could say, who missed the cut here for the second straight year. Tiger Woods was sent packing, too.
The 62-year-old Watson? He looked young again a year after missing the cut here.
Watson birdied three of his first five holes Friday on his way to a 68. He enters the weekend 2 under and seven shots off the lead.
The last time Watson made the cut in a regular PGA TOUR event was at the 2007 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, where he tied for 19th. He also made the cut at last year’s British Open, where he tied for 22nd two years after nearly becoming golf’s oldest major champion.
Now he’s hoping to become the TOUR’s oldest winner at the former home of the man he’s trying to surpass, the late Sam Snead.
Watson isn’t looking to be just a ceremonial figure, either.
“I'm not here to enjoy the weekend,” Watson said. “I'm here to compete and play my best and see if I can do better than 68 the last two rounds.”
Watson won five British Opens in his Hall-of-Fame career and just as familiarity with links golf helped him across the pond, his knowledge of The Old White TPC seems to be paying off, too.
”The golf course is a little long for me in places, but today I played most of those holes pretty well,” said Watson, who has been the pro emeritus here since 2005. “All in all I was very happy with the round.”
And why shouldn’t he be?
This is Watson’s 603rd career start on TOUR. He’s made the cut 496 times with his latest coming where Snead once called home.
Snead was the oldest player ever to win on TOUR, capturing the 1965 Greater Greensboro Open at 52 years, 10 months and 8 days.
Watson is 10 years older than that, so he didn’t mind waiting out a 90-minute weather delay in the middle of his round Friday.
“It actually helped me, gave me a chance to get my legs back a little bit, relax a little bit,” Watson said. “Plus I had a chance to eat good Greenbrier food out here. They spoil you here.”
Now Watson hopes he can return the favor.