Watson tweaks swing to restore pride
Legend ... Tom Watson. Photo: Getty Images
A LEGEND'S pride went on the line at the Australian Open on Friday.
Tom Watson had never missed the cut of an Australasian PGA event, but coming into the day having shot six over in the first round, the tournament drawcard looked set to sink to a level he'd never reached on the tour.
He admitted his pride took a battering on an embarrassing afternoon on Thursday for the eight-time major winner. But it also acted as the motivation that spurred the American towards an equal best four-under round on the second day at the Lakes in Sydney.
''I don't think I've ever missed a cut overseas, except at the British Open,'' the 63-year-old said after signing autographs and posing for photos with his contingent of admirers. ''Put it this way, I've never missed a cut over in the Australasian area.
''It was [about pride]. I hate missing cuts. I really do. It means you failed. I think it had a bit to do with the way I played today, the way I felt yesterday. I played sloppy golf and made unforced errors. When you do that you shoot the score I did.''
Watson finished the day on two over, eight shots behind leader Marcus Fraser, but he's looking at the early start to his third round as an advantage and an opportunity to make his move up the leaderboard.
On the opening two days, the conditions worsened as the day went on. Winds picked up and made it difficult for the players in the afternoon session, and if that continues on the final two days, Watson believes he can reap the benefits.
''The one thing you can do, if the winds stay like they are, if you tee off first you're going to have the chance to shoot a good score,'' he said. ''If you tee off last you're going to struggle on this golf course. These greens, as I said yesterday, they're hard to play … You can get some really awkward putts.''
After sleeping for just three hours before Friday's round, Watson had plenty of time to stew over his day-one disaster, and work on a solution.
''I made a slight adjustment to my golf swing that helped me to hit the ball more solidly on the club face,'' he said. ''And I made some putts. I made a long putt on the 18th and made a good putt at 13th to start me off.''
While Watson, the oldest player in the field, managed to turn it around on day two, so too did the youngest, 14-year-old Chinese sensation Tianlang Guan. He made up for his 10 over in the first round with an impressive two under, including four birdies.