AMERICAN golfing legend Tom Watson fronted the media at the 2012 Emirates Australian Open today declaring: “It’s great to be back.”
Watson flew to Australia directly from a tournament appearance in South Africa last week where he said he was hitting the ball well.
“The only problem is the 63 year old body has got a bit of a cold and a bit of jet lag,” an obviously gravel voiced Watson said. “I don’t know how Gary Player did it all these years.”
Watson, who will hit off with defending champion Greg Chalmers and the just-turned-pro Jake Higginbottom at 12.10pm on Thursday, had a wide ranging media conference canvassing a number of issues.
He’s not in favour of belly or broomstick putters, doesn’t think golf should be in the Olympics and criticised the new qualifying system for the US PGA Tour.
What he did like was a system that has allowed recent 14 year old Asian Amateur winner Guan Tianlang a place in next year’s US Masters. Watson said he would have “jumped at the chance” if he had been in the young Chinese golfer’s shoes.
“I wanted to be a professional golfer at 14. I dreamed about it,” Watson said.
Asked about the 2012 British Open meltdown by one of the tournament favourites this week, Australia’s Adam Scott, the eight-time Major winner had a simple reply.
“I learned to win by hating to lose,” he said.
Watson surprisingly also had lots of advice about the golf swing and how to play the game. (Which we will probably post later.)
Watson was confused about one aspect of Australian culture though.
He jumped up after his media conference officially concluded and asked for help.
Watson said he had watched a game of Aussie Rules the previous evening and wasn’t trying to work out the rules, particularly why the referees blow their whistles and everything stops when a player catches the ball.
“I just don’t get it,” Watson said.