Wise old Watson shows young bucks who is boss
American eight-times major champion Tom Watson is 15 years older than the combined age of Ryo Ishikawa and Martin Kaymer but he showed them who was still the boss in the British Open first round on Thursday.
Watson, 62, carded a one-over-par 71 to comfortably outscore 20-year-old Japanese Ishikawa (74) and 2010 U.S. PGA Champion Kaymer, 27, who made no birdies in his 77.
"I've been there before. I know what they're feeling," the five-times British Open champion told reporters.
"Go to the practice range, work it out, try to figure out what happened on your bad swings and don't let it happen again tomorrow," was his advice for world number 15 Kaymer and 62nd-ranked Ishikawa.
"That's how you keep trying to progress. Sometimes we digress out here. Today's couple of rounds, they didn't get the work done.
"I think a lot of times the young players make it a little bit too complicated when you really can't make it that complicated. It will bite you when you make it too complicated. So the simpler you can make it, the better."
Kaymer, who reached world number one in 2011 but has only won once since, and Ishikawa, a 10-times winner of professional events worldwide despite his tender years, would do well to listen to Watson.
The genial American spent the entire round being politely applauded by the knowledgable fans, some old enough to remember his five Open wins in the 1970s and 80s and most having watched him nearly shatter the record for oldest major winner in 2009.
Watson, then 59, was an eight-foot par putt from winning the Open at Turnberry to beat Julius Boros's 1968 U.S. PGA Championship win at the age of 48.
It was not to be, Watson losing to compatriot Stewart Cink in a playoff, but he will always be a crowd pleaser and in benign conditions at Lytham he even parted the fans at one point.
Striding up the 13th as marshals failed to control the throngs following the group ahead containing Tiger Woods, fans stranded in the fairway crossing point stopped and allowed Watson through the middle as Kaymer and Ishikawa respectfully declined to follow.
Watson was just happy to play well at a course which had not treated him well.
Watson missed the cut in 2001, did not play in 1996 and recorded tied-26th and tied-28th finishes in the years Seve Ballesteros ran out winner in 1979 and 1988.
"This course has frustrated me, I can tell you," he said. "But anyway 71 is a pretty good score for Watson on this links," he said with a rueful grin after a poor closing few holes including a wayward second shot into the 18th grandstand.
"Finishing with a couple of bogeys on 16 and 18 doesn't leave a very good taste in my mouth. I hit three terrible shots that cost me bogeys. They weren't even marginally bad shots, they were just terrible shots."