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Tom Watson
Tom Watson is expecting to have to play by feel more than facts if the wind keeps blowing hard.

Notebook: Players brace for blustery weather

PARKER, Colo. (AP) -- Not only can Tom Watson play well in the wind, he can imitate the sound, too.

When asked about the course conditions following his practice round on a blustery Wednesday afternoon, Watson grabbed the microphone and began blowing into it.

As if there wasn't enough wind already.

The gales again gusted through the course at Colorado Golf Club, site of this year's Senior PGA Championship. At one point in the afternoon, the winds reached nearly 40 mph, making the day quite difficult for those on the course.

And this was a light day compared to Monday, when the winds reached the vicinity of 60 mph, forcing some of the golfers to pass on playing.

"It's howling out there," Watson said Wednesday. "It was really pretty calm in the morning for the first six holes. And then somebody turned the fans on."

The winds are expected to gust again Thursday when play begins.

Not exactly a recipe for low scores.

"It was blowing so hard out there (Wednesday), I wouldn't say it was much fun," said Fred Couples, who admitted his balky back is giving him trouble. "It's a hard course anyway, but when it's like this it's hard to hit a good shot."

Watson is hoping the officials consider that when determining the course. Keeping it at 7,490 yards would be almost cruel in this breezy climate.

"They're going to have to use some good judgment setting up the golf course, if they know the winds are going to be coming and blowing this way," Watson said. "It's a wonderful golf course. ... I would like to see it just not blow this hard."

That's surprising since Watson typically thrives in windier weather, winning five British Open titles on courses usually known for blustery breezes.

So, what's the secret?

"You throw the yardage somewhat out the window and you play by feel," Watson said.

About then, a burst of wind banged against the side of the interview area.

"I hope this tent survives," Watson said, smiling.

ON THE MARK: The last time Mark O'Meara's swing felt this crisp, this solid, he won two major championships, capturing the Masters and British Open in 1998.

That's how locked in he is right now, how comfortable he feels over the ball.

He's hoping it translates on the course this week.

"Do I think I'm there yet? I don't think in golf you ever arrive," O'Meara said. "But I think at times I'm a much better player now than I was, ball-striking wise, in 1998. That doesn't give you the right (to think) that you're going to all of a sudden play well. I'd like to play well here."

FAST LANE: Fuzzy Zoeller will stick to driving a golf ball and leave driving a race car to the pros.

Although Zoeller is sponsoring a car in this weekend's Indianapolis 500, he has absolutely no desire to test one out -- ever.

"I'm a speed-limit man -- right lane all the time," Zoeller said. "I'm a 45-to-50 (mph) man, not 245, not 250."

Zoeller leaves the driving on the track to Ed Carpenter, who will be behind the wheel of Fuzzy's Ultra Premium Vodka car on Sunday. Carpenter will start in the third row, sandwiched between Graham Rahal and Hideki Mutoh.

"That's amazing to see those kids drive those cars and the skill they have to drive them," said Zoeller, who won the Senior PGA Championship title in 2002. "Speed just doesn't do nothing for me."

But promoting his product at a venue like Indy certainly appeals to him.

"Where else do you have 350,000 screaming idiots? It works," chuckled Zoeller, who launched his burgeoning spirits business around a year ago. "This is an outstanding car, too. It's got a lot of speed."

BIG FAN: With his steady nerves and poise, 16-year-old Jordan Spieth of Dallas caught the nation's attention as he finished tied for 16th place at the HP Byron Nelson Championship last weekend.

He also impressed fellow Texan Ben Crenshaw, who happened to catch glimpses of Spieth's play on television.

"Great performance," Crenshaw said. "Reminds you of a 16-year-old Jack Nicklaus."

Lofty praise, indeed.

"He's good," Crenshaw said.

Not only that, but Crenshaw appreciated his choice in schools. Spieth is planning to attend the University of Texas, the same school where Crenshaw once was a star. Crenshaw won three straight NCAA championships at Texas, sharing the title with teammate Tom Kite in 1972.
 

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