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Watson's not ready to throw in towel

Saturday, April 10, 2010

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Every 60-year-old golfer on Earth would be in ecstasy if he saw his name with a minus three next to it after two rounds of play at the Masters Tournament.

Tom Watson smiles as he walks off the 18th green. He shot six bogeys Friday after only one in the first round. (Andrew Davis Tucker/Special)

Unless his name is Tom Watson.

The day after he stunned the golf world by opening with 5-under 67 at Augusta National Golf Club, Watson gave two strokes back to par Friday, shooting 74.

That means the man who is playing his 37th Masters, the man who missed the cut 11 of his past 12 appearances at Augusta National, still sits tied for ninth at 3-under.

"I'm disappointed," Watson said. "I'm disappointed I didn't do as well as I could have today. I'm happy I'm still there.

"But 3-under rather than 5-under ... well, 5-under is a better position to be going into the weekend than 3-under. I've got to do some 100 percent playing in the last two rounds to have a chance. And that's what I'm here to do."

Watson knows the perception out there after Friday's round: Nice try, but the old guy is fading fast.

"I don't have any thoughts of that at all," said Watson, the Masters champion in 1977 and 1981. "I have thoughts of playing my butt off and not making the same mistakes I made (Friday). That's the same attitude I had ... when I first played here."

Watson left a shot in the bunker on No. 18 for his sixth bogey of the day to go with four birdies and eight pars.

On Thursday, he was steady throughout during a nearly bogey-free round.

"(On Thursday) I chipped the ball beautifully and got the ball right up to the hole," Watson said. "(On Friday) the touch wasn't there, and that's what killed me."

Watson said the hip he had replaced in October 2008 is a bit sore because "these hills are a little bit up and down."

In order to stay in contention, Watson said, it's not just his putting that will determine his fate.

"It's going to be everything," he said.

Though Watson's mind will be all about golf over the weekend, he does have his 27-year-old son, Michael, carrying his bag.

This is Michael's first time caddying for his dad in a major tournament.

"I wanted (Michael) to see what it was like to be in a major championship inside the ropes," Watson said. "It's pretty cool to have him on the bag. Inside the ropes is something special."

Watson was disappointed in his day between the ropes, but he was all smiles over the encouragement and the loud applause that he received throughout the round.

"Yeah, it was special walking through crowds at Augusta (on Friday)," he said. "That was very special to me because I related to a lot of people I saw in the crowd. They're all my age."

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