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Tom Watson hints he may miss Open

Five-time Open winner Tom Watson says he's not sure if he'll play much longer in the British championship, admitting that he doesn't play the links courses as well as he once did.

Watson, who will tee off Thursday in the Australian Masters at Huntingdale, said Wednesday a combination of age, physical ailments and advancements in power caused him to reflect on his future in the Open championship.

"I haven't had very much success at the Open the last few years and it's given me pause to say to myself, 'maybe I don't play those courses as well as I should be able to,'" the 53-year-old Watson said. "Maybe it's time to hang it up."

Watson said he was now only playing in events he felt he had a realistic chance of winning - including the Australian Masters.

"If and when I get to the point where I can't compete I won't," he said. "I didn't play in the U.S. Open this year because I didn't think I could compete on that golf course. It turned out I really had no chance of playing that course and winning the tournament."

"Age is catching up on me and I understand that and I make a conscious decision where to play and where not to play."

Watson said the development in club technology and the lack of physical flexibility were two major reasons he felt left behind in the power race.

"Clubhead speed and body turn," he said. "The body doesn't turn nearly as much as it used to.

"Physically I'm just starting to feel the effects of hitting millions of golf balls and I'm starting to have problems with my left hip and it's caused me not to be able to turn very well. Certain days I feel better than others."

The last time Watson played in the Masters, in 1995 at Huntingdale, he narrowly missed out on a playoff, losing to Australian Peter Senior by one shot.

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