Tom Watson on anchoring, Olympics and a 14-year old at the US Masters

There are more words of wisdom from Tom Watson to share.

Tom+WatsonWe wrote earlier about Tom Watson’s press conference this morning at The Lakes ahead of this week’s Australian Open, but there was much more interesting stuff from Watson we just had to share.

So here’s more from the eight-time major winner. It’s long, but I hope you’ll agree it’s worth the read as he was fascinating to listen to.

On the anchoring ban:

“I agree. I say that with mixed emotions. This (demonstrates) is not a stroke of golf but it makes it easier to play. My son Michael with a conventional putting stroke could not make it from two feet half the time. He went to a belly putter and he makes everything. The game is fun to him. There lies the danger.”

“Do we go to two sets of rules, so people can use it in certain competitions and the PGA Tour can’t? I don’t know. There is a dilemma. I thought Ernie Els said it perfectly when he won last year’s Open Championship. He was asked why he went to the long putter and he said he was cheating like the rest of them…My son e-mailed me at the subject line was ‘Oh, no!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!’ So I have mixed emotions about it.”

On golf in the Olympics:

“I don’t want to pour cold water on it but I don’t think it should be in the Olympic Games. We have our most important championships. Maybe every four years is not that much more I still think of Olympics as track and field and not golf, to be honest with you…I probably had a pie in the sky way of looking at the Olympics as being clean and pure. This year the East German ladies record in in the medley relay was broken which stood since 1985. I wonder why?”

“Lance Armstrong. What a great disappointment. It makes you doubt. I don’t like to doubt. I like to trust people and trust they are doing things for the right reasons. When the professionals go to the Olympics, they go for the  wrong reasons…I’m probably talking like a dinosaur.”

On a 14-year-old playing the US Masters:

“I dreamt about playing Augusta at 14 years old. I think it is wonderful what Augusta has done with this Asian Amateur. I told Billy Payne they had done a really good thing for the world of golf. It opens up the game to every golfer in Asia. I can still remember wanting to be a professional golfer at 14.

“This young man has been cultured into golf. I’ve read some of his history. Golf is his life. We have seen a lot of golf prodigies, many of whom did not make it. Is there a danger of that? Yes, there is. But if I had that chance at 14, I’d jump at it. I’d be at Augusta quicker than you could spit.”

On the US PGA Tour’s new qualifying format:

“I think the new qualifying for the US Tour is wrong. It does not give the foreign  players a chance to go qualify for the American Tour. If they don’t qualify, they can go back to their tours and support their tours. Now they have to play a year on the Web.Com Tour.”

“I’d go back to the beginning. When I qualified for the Tour, I had two tournaments to qualify. There was a regional qualifier and then the national qualifier. There were five spots in the national and 25 spots in the regional. This year we had three qualifyings. It does not allow the player to achieve the dream of getting into the show right away…I still think they should have that opportunity…”

“What I’m saying is that to qualify for the American Tour next year, there is no qualifying tournament. You have to go and play on that Web.Com but you have to qualify for that first. You don’t have that one window of a couple of months where you can qualify.”

On the number of worldwide golf tournaments and the lack of big name golfers paying in them:

“We have six or seven tournaments at the end of the year. They were designated to be there and they are putting up $5 or $6 million but they are a secondary tournament. How does that make you feel? You don’t get the top players, or very few of them. Add the World Golf Championships to the mix, the four majors, the Ryder Cup, the Presidents Cup and all of a sudden you have 20 tournament that the top players have to play every year.”

“What I’m saying is they make too many tournaments important and other tournaments are not getting a representative field. You can’t play all the tournaments. The top players can’t play all the tournaments, unless you’re Trevino or Arnold Palmer.”

“Chi Chi Rodriguez said Jack (Nicklaus) was a legend in his spare time – he played just a few. He played about 18 events a year out of the 40 tournaments. That’s happening more and more because you have the World Golf Championships and the Ryder Cup and the four majors.
A guy who amazes me is Ernie Els. How many tournaments has that guy played? He plays the European Tour, American Tour, 30 tournaments a year for years and years. That would wear you out.”

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