Tom Watson is using the pain of missing the cut at St. Andrews last week as his motivation ahead of the Senior British Open, which begins at Carnoustie on Thursday.
The United States veteran failed to make the weekend on his last appearance in a British Open at Scotland’s ‘Home of Golf,’ after shooting 73 and 75 in his opening two rounds. That blow to his pride overshadowed many private celebrations last weekend, including being presented with a Doctorate of Law at St. Andrews University along with Arnold Palmer.
“I would have liked to have made the cut,” he said. “It’s just always a disappointment when you are putting your game to the test and you don’t make the last 36 holes. It still eats me. But I was fooled on the golf course with the way the wind blew.
“I still play for competition. I like to compete and beat people,” he added. “That’s what I like to do. It just so happens that I do it with sticks and balls, and I hope I can do it again this week here in Carnoustie.”
Watson won the Senior British Open in 2005 for the first time when he beat Ireland’s Des Smyth in a playoff.
The competition this week will be strong: 13 players in the field have a total of 22 major titles between them.
Among his fellow Americans who have made the trip to Scotland’s Angus coastline are Tom Lehman, who finished 14th at St. Andrews, and Mark Calcavecchia, who was lying second behind eventual winner Louis Oosthuizen at the end of the second round last Friday.
United States Ryder Cup Captain Corey Pavin is also making an appearance, two months ahead of the match against Europe at Celtic Manor, Wales. With his wife Lisa working hard on many of his team’s arrangements for the Ryder Cup, Pavin said he could still take time off to concentrate on his golf.
Pavin was looking forward to playing Carnoustie again in more benign conditions than when he last visited the course -- in 1999 for the British Open.
“All I remember from that is the heavy rough,” he said. “I don’t think they had any fairways then. If they had, I didn’t find them.”