Typical of Watson was that as well as those with golf’s great and good he recalled a relationship built with someone he regularly encountered when regularly passing through Prestwick Airport.
Bubba Watson has admitted that he will have to adapt his game if he is to make a challenge at the top of the Open leaderboard.
“Those memories have already been dismissed”, he said of the two double bogeys he shot in his opening two rounds, to eventually miss the cut by one shot.
“The tool box is kind of half empty with the tools I used to use to play good golf”.
“I really don’t know how I’m going to feel, although I can start with some of the emotions”.
“I was leaving the house, and it’s raining, it’s cold and here comes a little Scottish girl, comes up to the front door and said, ‘Mr”. This time it’s different. If Watson can crack the top 15 at this year’s championship he would receive an automatic exemption to play in the ’16 event. The ball bounces around a lot, rolls a lot and the way I like to move it is pretty hard when it’s windy. Even though I will be eligible to play, I won’t play.
Speaking in his press conference later, he talked of the difficulties associated with his game and links-style weather conditions.
– “On paper it’s not the best tournament for me”.
“Watching Jordan Spieth, watching (Rory) McIlroy, challenging and trying to win another major, watching these great players win”. He postponed his decision, in part, in deference to Ben Crenshaw, who held the stage for his swan song in April.
After 11 years in the post, Renton Laidlaw has just stepped down as president of the Association of Golf Writers.
But he fears tinkering with a game that is so instinctive, though, the product of practice and in-built talent rather than coaching manuals. Run in conjunction with The Golf Foundation and ClubGolfScotland, it is hoped it will give thousands of youngsters an introduction to the sport.
But also the same fierce determination.
No modern era golfer, save for the possible likes of Jack Nicklaus, has been more capable in playing links golf than Tom Watson.
“For me it has always been about learning how to score. I want to be up there and have a chance on Sunday”, said the 36-year-old, who also finished runner-up at the 2010 PGA Championship.
Watson’s approach is more unique than most.
“I still want to compete”, said Watson Wednesday. I think it’s really in a good place. “Rumour is there could be some winds, so it’s going to be a challenge out there”.
He may have an ally in his putter this time, though.
The ever-popular 65-year-old five-times champion, making his farewell appearance, received vocal support on the Old Course as he battled to a four-over 76, including several fans wearing Watson face masks. “Over the last few years I worked on it but I’ve worked on it hard over the past couple of months and it is improving”.
“Well, I noticed there was a Domino’s Pizza right across the street here. Everything is working at the moment but, again, there hasn’t been any wind so we will see how it works out”.