Tom Watson, 59, is trying to become the oldest winner in the history of the PGA TOUR.
The Live Report: Round 3
Tom Watson and Steve Marino make up an unlikely final group on Saturday at Turnberry, where two dozen players start the day within four shots of the lead.
MORE TIDBITS FROM TOM (2:55 p.m.): You get the feeling that Tom Watson is just soaking this all in. When he won his first Open Championship in 1975 in a playoff at Carnoustie over Jack Newton, Watson said there were about 15 or so press people in the media center afterward. One round away from becoming golf's oldest major champion by 11 years, there are obviously a lot more.
Watson also seemed very gee-whiz about all the well-wishing texts he's been receiving this week. Who can blame him? No one saw this coming, but not much has changed with Watson in his long and storied career -- not his swing and not his play in the open Championship, which he's won five times, including once at Turnberry. In 2003, Watson also won the Senior British Open at Turnberry.
As for whether or not he felt like the George Foreman of golf, Watson said no, he didn't name all his kids George. Hilarious. That's the kind of response you get, though, that's comfortable in his skin and in this position. -- Brian Wacker
ROUND THREE COMPLETE (2:25 p.m.): It was a wild day at Turnberry, but it was one that ended much the way it began, with Tom Watson in the lead, only this time he's alone after a 1-over 71 that was a much better score than it sounds like given how windy it was.
Steve Marino, who began the day in a tie with Watson, fell all the way back to 1 over thanks to a round of 76 in which he played Nos. 15 and 16 in a combined 5 over. His only saving grace was making birdie on his last two holes to stay within earshot of the lead.
Joining the 59-year-old Watson in Sunday's final pairing will be Matthew Goggin, who had one of the few under-par rounds Saturday with a 69. Right in front of them will be the all-English duo of Ross Fisher and Lee Westwood, each of whom shot 70 to sit at 3 and 2 under, respectively.
In all, there are 25 guys within six shots of Watson's lead. Six shots might sound like a lot, but not at this tournament. There are enough good players in that crop that almost any one of them could win, especially with the wind expected to blow between 15 and 20 mph. That's an Open Championship, all right. -- Brian Wacker
TOM BACK ON TOP (2:05 p.m.): You don't win five Open Championships without knowing how to make your way around places like Turnberry. Watson birdied No. 16 with another long bomb birdie putt and just reached the par-5 17th in two. He didn't make the 20-foot eagle putt, but he tapped in his short birdie putt to get to 4 under and alone atop the leaderboard with one round and one hole left in the Open Championship.
One of the best ballstrikers in the history of the game, the key to Watson's success has been his surprisingly straight driving and spectacular putting. One more day like this and it's hard to imagine he won't win a sixth career Open Championship. -- Brian Wacker
MORE WINDS OF CHANGE (1:40 p.m.): Steve Marino had things turning around -- until he made a triple-bogey 6 on the 15th hole. Marino's tee shot on the long par-3 went into the deep rough, forcing him to take an unplayable and drop his ball some 50 yards back to leave a difficult pitch to the green. He nearly ran in through the green while hitting downwind and then three-putted, For Marino, that's the third time he's made double bogey or worse this week and as a result it drops him to even par for the week.
Tom Watson, meanwhile, found a greenside bunker on the same hole and despite being a terrific sand player, wasn't able to save par. He dropped a stroke and has now fallen out of the lead and sits one back of Matthew Goggin, who is in the house at 3 under after a 69 today. Lee Westwood has also moved into contention, sitting at 2 under after an even-par round of 70. That means four players are just one back of the lead and that 26 players are within five shots of the top spot. -- Brian Wacker
WIDE OPEN (1:15 p.m.): Tom Watson and Matthew Goggin are tied for the lead at 3 under as the third round of the Open Championship winds down, but they are anything but alone. The leaderboard can change quicker than weather at Turnberry and that's going to make for an interesting Sunday, especially considering there are 39 players within six shots of the lead and 10 of them are within as little as three. -- Brian Wacker
FISHER STICKING AROUND, IN MORE WAY THAN ONE (1 p.m.): Seen in the crowd: A man wearing a hat that says, "Hold on Mrs. Fisher."
Ross Fisher's wife Joanne is due to deliver their first child any day now -- which is obviously his first priority. But he's tied for third at the 138th Open Championship, two strokes behind Tom Watson.
Hopefully, he won't have to make any life-altering decisions over the next 36 hours or so. -- Helen Ross
WINDS OF CHANGE (12:43 p.m.): When the winds blows at the Open Championship things can change quickly and that's exactly what has happened. Tom Watson has fallen to 3 under and into a tie with Australian Matthew Goggin. Steve Marino, who at one point this morning looked like he could be headed for a round in the high 70s, had a chance to also grab a share of the lead, but he missed a short putt and remains one back.
Of the top nine names on the leaderboard, only Goggin is under par today. Only 11 players are under par for the tournament and nine of them are within two shots of the lead. -- Brian Wacker
ON THE REBOUND (12:30 p.m.): After playing his first five holes in 5 over to fall out of a share of the lead, Steve Marino has apparently right the ship. That's not something you often see mid-round, but it's eerily similar to what playing partner Tom Watson did yesterday when he made four birdies over his last 10 holes after five bogeys in his first seven holes.
Since a double bogey at the par-4 fifth, Marino has added an eagle (on No. 7) and a birdie (on No. 11) to get back to 2 over for the day. With one more par-5 there's at least one birdie opportunity left, but not much beyond that. Still, Marino certainly has a chance to get things back to even par. -- Brian Wacker
MR. AND MRS. CALC (11:50 a.m.): Mark Calcavecchia and his wife Brenda make a good team.
He’s played seven holes today, and he’s tied for second at 3 under with her on the bag. “She knows what he's doing out there,” Calcavecchia said.
The 49-year-old veteran says he enjoys having his wife caddy for him. And on the rare times when there is any tension, Calcavecchia is quick to take the blame.
“It’s my fault, it has nothing to do with her,” he said. “When I get all (ticked) off and bitchy, like at Hoylake, I ruin the whole week. When I went berserk on the back nine on Sunday, I just ruined the whole week. I still feel bad about it. I wish she wasn't even there at that time. But we were in good shape there.
“… It's always my fault when something doesn't work out between us when she's caddying. She's nothing but positive for me out there.”
Brenda caddied for Calcavecchia when he won the 2004 Maekyung Open in Korea and a Challenge Season team event. But a second Open Championship – now that would really be a week to remember. -- Helen Ross
EXTENDING THE LEAD (11:35 a.m.): Tom Watson just made his first birdie of the day, rolling one in on the par-5 seventh. That's one way to bounce back from a bogey on the par-3 sixth.
With just two holes to play on his front nine, Watson, who leads by two at the moment, is even par on the day -- a much better start than he had yesterday when he played his first seven holes in 4 over before recovering with four birdies over his final 10 holes.
And how about this: Watson has yet to make a bogey on the back nine this week, playing the final nine holes at Turnberry in a combined 6 under. -- Brian Wacker
TIDBITS FROM TOM (11:20 a.m.): It was only a year ago that 53-year-old Greg Norman turned back the clock at the Open Championship, taking the lead into the final round before running out of steam. That begs the question if 59-year-old Tom Watson will do the same. So far, he isn't showing any signs of letting up. And as Watson said yesterday, he has a different outlook than Norman did last year.
"Greg was thinking just one -- you stay in the present," Watson said. "You stay in one shot at a time, the old cliché. I don't think that way. I never have thought that way."
No he hasn't and that's just one of the many reasons why Watson continues to play well at the tournament he's won more than any other in his career.
As for his thoughts on the other T.W., the one who shockingly missed the cut with the worst six-hole stretch of his professional career when Woods played Nos. 8 through 13 in 7 over.
"That is surprising," Watson said. "It seems like he's been playing awfully well this year. Links golf is -- I've played it when I'm not playing very well, and it's a struggle. You add a little wind to it like we had and it's more of a struggle. How do you get the ball in play? And when you're not very confident about where you're hitting it and you start hitting it sideways a few times, then it -- it gets to you. I don't care how good you are, it gets to you." -- Brian Wacker
TOUGH DAY FOR SCORING (11 a.m.): Steve Marino, who is 3 over through his first four holes, is hardly the only player struggling right now. There are only six players under par on their round today. Unfortunately for Marino, though, he may be on the slipperiest of slopes with his round quickly getting away from him.
Tom Watson isn't under par either, but he's managed to stay at level par thanks to his continued superb driving and ballstriking. We've heard -- and seen over the years -- a lot about how Watson is one of the best bad weather players in the history of golf. Today we're seeing that as the wind sweeps across Turnberry.
Watson has given himself long birdie looks on almost every hole so far and even when he has found trouble -- say, a pot bunker -- he's done exactly what Tiger Woods couldn't do and manage the missteps perfectly. There's a reason why Watson has won this tournament five times in his career and we're seeing it this week. -- Brian Wacker
SCENES FROM SCOTLAND (10:45 a.m.): The scenic drive from Ayr to Turnberry takes about 30 minutes -- much of it spent on a narrow two-lane road that wanders across the hills by the coast. The Ailsa Craig stands sentry in the Irish Sea and this morning's views revealed a submarine emerging from the water. -- Helen Ross
LEADERS ON THE COURSE (10:30 a.m.): The final group of the day, Tom Watson and Steve Marino, is on the golf course and it didn't take long for there to be some movement on the leaderboard.
Marino bogeyed the par-4 second hole, while Watson has played his first two holes in even par. Meanwhile, Retief Goosen and Ross Fisher have moved to within a shot of Watson, joining Marino at 4 under, thanks to birdies for each of them in the early going.
Don't expect to see too many birdies, though. The wind is continuing to blow and right now only a dozen players are under par for the week. Today certainly will be moving day in more ways than one. -- Brian Wacker
IN CINK (10:05 a.m.): Stewart Cink has just parred his first three holes and remains three behind the leaders. About two hours before he teed off, Cink was tweeting.
About the course: "Ninth tee at Turnberry is the coolest setting for a tee anywhere. Sea, rocky coastline, castle ruins, lighthouse. And wind."
And joking about his health: "Pretty sure I have swine flu. I thought if you like BBQ as much as I do, that your antibodies would be built up against it!" -- Helen Ross
MOLDER MAKES A MOVE (9:45 a.m.): Bryce Molder, competing in his first Open Championship, posted the first sub-par round of the day when he polished off his 67. It was his 23rd round of par or better in his last 25 on the PGA TOUR.
Molder began the third round tied for 53rd position and is now tied for 18th with the five leading groups yet to tee off.
“I was fighting my swing a lot in the practice rounds, and I slowly got it going in the right direction,” said Molder, who tied for second in Memphis and finished solo fourth at AT&T National.
“I made three long putts for birdie. I made two at the right time when I was not playing well so things have to happen at the right time.
Molder qualified for the Open Championship via a mini-money list in a six-tournament series that began at THE PLAYERS and ended at AT&T National. The top two money-winners, not previously exempt, earned a start.
Molder netted $856,100 during that period and Paul Goydos (72-72-77), with $772,427 earned the other exemption. -- Helen Ross
HE MISSED THE CUT, WE'LL MISS HIS HUMOR (9:20 a.m.): After he missed the cut on Friday, Ian Poulter drove seven hours to his home in Buckinghamshire, England. It wasn’t long before he was “tweeting” again.
He said he played “horribly” for two days. “I couldn’t hit a cow’s arse with a banjo,” Poulter reported.
Then he asked his followers to guess how many miles he drove. By the time Poulter got up this morning, he’d had 19 right answers – and once the contest ends at 10 a.m. ET he planned to draw one of those to receive a new Cobra driver.
“I promise you will hit it straighter than I did this week, its not arrow its the Indian,” Poulter said. -- Helen Ross
AND NOW, A LOOK AT THE WEATHER (8:05 a.m.): A light rain fell early Saturday at Turnberry, but the sun may creep out from behind the clouds as the day develops. The west-northwesterly winds will still be brisk, though, with gusts up to 25 mph by afternoon.
Sunday will again be cloudy with outbreaks of light rain developing by mid-afternoon. The winds will be from the northwest, as has been the case since Friday, with similar gusts off the Irish Sea as the leaders make their way home. -- Helen Ross
THIS WAS ALL HE PACKED (7:50 a.m.): Tiger may have missed the cut, but the animal is still in evidence at Turnberry. One of the fans is dressed head-to-toe in a furry costume that makes him look like “Tony the Tiger.” -- Helen Ross
JUST IN TIME FOR LUNCH (7:45 a.m.): Johan Edfors was the first man off in the third round, teeing off at 8:40 a.m. local time. He played by himself and birdied the last two holes to shoot 72 -- finishing in just three hours and 10 minutes. -- Helen Ross