Watson holds court during Open wind delay

Tom Watson during Round 1 of the British Open.

Tom Watson during Round 1 of the British Open.


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ST. ANDREWS, Scotland – Tom Watson hit one shot, a driver from the first tee, before play was suspended Friday afternoon because of high winds.

While other players remained on the course or retreated to the clubhouse, Watson walked back up the first fairway to the area reserved for spectators in wheelchairs.

There he held court for half an hour, talking and signing autographs.

“I remember one year at the Bing Crosby tournament, we were playing at Cypress Point,” he said. “On the 17th green, Leonard Thompson hit one putt, two putts, three putts, four putts, five putts, six putts. That’s your nightmare. He couldn’t get the ball to stop. It kept rolling and rolling. Finally play was stopped.

“This doesn’t happen once a year, really. It’s very unusual for play to be halted because of wind.”

Watson reminded fans of potential penalties in the wind.

“If you ground your club and the ball moves, it’s a (one-stroke) penalty,” he said. “You have to move the ball back.”

However, if a ball moves before a player has addressed the ball or grounded the club, it must be played from its new position. The ball is not moved back. There is no penalty.

Enough of this golf. Time to talk farming.

“I just love the stone fences around the Scottish countryside,” Watson said. “Back home, we use mostly barbed wire.”

And so it went with Tom Watson, five-time winner of the British Open and adopted son of Scotland.

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