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Driver problems concern Tom Watson

Coming off a victory at the Senior British Open, Tom Watson should have momentum going into this week's U.S. Senior Open.

But there's one problem. Watson cracked the head of his driver during a practice round Tuesday at NCR Country Club.

``I'm a little bit worried about the driver,'' Watson said. ``That driver was really a great driver, the best driver I ever had in my life.''

Watson began using the club last month at the Champions Tour's Bayer Advantage Classic, where he lost a playoff to Dana Quigley. He said he was able to hit every fairway with his new club during that tournament.

``I've been driving it very good ever since,'' he said. ``I hit it longer. I hit it straighter.''

On Sunday, Watson beat Des Smyth on the third hole of a playoff at Royal Aberdeen in Scotland to win the Senior British, his fourth senior major.

The five-time British Open champion is going to try to have a new club made on site. He also has a backup driver, but it has a softer shaft that lacks the stability of the broken club, he said.

Whatever driver he decides to use, Watson will have to put it to work on the 7,055-yard, par-71 NCR course that is heavily wooded and filled with doglegs, bunkers and thick rough. The greens are large, which Watson said can make for long, breaking putts.

``It's a very challenging golf course,'' Watson said.

``It's still unfamiliar to me,'' he said. ``Tomorrow, I hope it kicks in and I get a lot more familiar with it.''

And the 55-year-old Watson will have to play with little rest. He flew from Scotland to Ohio and then picked up the clubs after only one day's break.

``I do, at my age, start to take more and more naps,'' he said. ``I'm going to try to keep my energy cells charged up.''

Raymond Floyd, who won the PGA Championship at NCR in 1969, said Watson is coming off a great victory at the Senior British Open,

``I'd certainly make him a favorite,'' Floyd said. ``He's a guy that's coming in here licking his chops. He's ready.''


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