HOYLAKE England (Reuters) - The superlatives used to describe the remarkable career of Tom Watson were exhausted long ago but the 64-year-old continues to defy the ageing process, as he proved again at the British Open on Friday.
While top-notch players half his age were falling by the wayside and missing the cut, the eight-times major winner sailed through to the weekend at Royal Liverpool after delivering his second one-over 73 of the championship.
Watson needed a par-five at the last hole to confirm his place in Saturday's third round and he decided on a conservative approach.
"I played old man's golf," he told reporters after finishing on two-over 146, the same mark as Tiger Woods. "There was no sense at all in trying to get on the green in two.
"I hit it to the right, hit it to the left and then hit it on the green before two putting," said Watson after breaking his own 2012 record as the oldest player to make the cut in the championship.
The five-times British Open winner is not into ceremonial golf and his intention is always to try to compete with the game's dominant players.
"I came over here with a purpose to play my best golf and play at the weekend," said Watson.
"Let's see what happens at the weekend, let's see if the old guy can maybe get it rolling a little bit."
Watson came close to pulling off one of the greatest victories in the history of sport at Turnberry in 2009.
At the age of 59 he took a one-shot lead into the final hole before losing out to fellow American Stewart Cink in a playoff.
"I'm doing the same thing now as I did when I was 22 although I can't hit the ball hard any more," said the man who will captain the United States against Europe in the Ryder Cup in Scotland in September.
"My body is a little sore. I don't go to the practice range and hit a bunch of balls although yesterday I did.
"I'm thinking about playing the captain (at the Ryder Cup)," he joked.
Northern Irishman Darren Clarke, who also qualified for the weekend on level-par 144, paid tribute to his playing partner.
"I don't know where I'm going to be when I'm 64," said the 2011 British Open champion. "Could be in rehab, I don't know.
"If I was playing the quality of golf that Tom is playing then I'd be very pleased. He's a gentleman on the course and he played quite beautifully."
(Editing by Pritha Sarkar)