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Watson to the Rescue

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Dave Silbar

I'm a former Tribune scribe and covered pro events from 1989-1994, including the 89’ PGA (Payne Stewart) and 90’ U.S. Open (Hale Irwin). Since then I've whittled my index low enough to wow my daughters and qualify for the 2007 CDGA IL State Amateur.

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Tom Watson has always been my all-time favorite golfer, so hence the reason I'm smiling today. Watson is stealing headlines again with opening round score of 5-under par and joining a logjam of names atop the leadership of The Masters. 

I was fortunate to lend coverage to just about every pro tournament that came through town during my years at the Tribune between 1988-1994. For those old enough to remember, the three tours came through town religiously every summer with the bonus here and there of a major mixed in for good measure (my first tournament to cover was the 1989 PGA that Payne Stewart won (or some say Mike "Radar" Reid lost).

Interviewing the game's top players never really phased me, even my interview with then PGA Tour rookie Tiger Woods, which now seems like a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.

There was only one athlete in all of sports who I would be a bit nervous about interviewing: Tom Watson. Known as one of the nicest guys in all of sports, I just didn't want to come off as some type of dork golf reporter asking a question that Watson has answered hundreds of times before.

I never understood people fawning over professional athletes the way they do but maybe that's just me. If there's one thing I've learned over the years working in public relations is that celebrities and athletes really aren't much different from you and me. Well, maybe the older ones aren't.

And that's why I root for Watson. Just think about his press conference held after losing the 2009 British Open to Stewart Cink after making bogey and #18 and then playing crazy bad on the ensuring three playoff holes. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X2rHl2LrPJk

His actions in that press conference were felt by anyone who has ever played the game. He admitted how nervous he was on that 18th hole and hoe deflated it was to bogey the hole and force the playoff.

Let's hope he wins it outright this Sunday and gets to wear the green jacket. 

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