"I don't like it. I'd rather play stroke play for four days," Watson told Golf.com on Tuesday near a practice area here at the Golf Club at Dove Mountain. "You can make an eight on a hole and you're only one down. That's not golf to me. I think it should be, everybody gets up there and tries to shoot a score."
On Tuesday roughly 64 pros warmed up under idyllic desert conditions: bright sky and 70 degrees, with a refreshing breeze.
Hope they enjoyed it. Because Dove Mountain is about to transform into Turnberry.
Wednesday's opening-round forecast calls for a high temperature of 48 degrees with icy showers most of the day. Things should clear up Thursday, but at a tournament known for opening-round upsets and unpredictability, things might get even wilder than usual given the challenging conditions. Watson, for one, isn't worried about the weather.
"There's no difference to me. You're going to have sunny days and you're going to have rainy days. It's just golf," said Watson, whose 5-3 record in this event includes a run to the semifinals in 2011. "Tomorrow you're playing just one guy, you don't have to worry about the whole field, and hopefully you can hit some better shots and make more putts than he does."
Not everyone in the field shares Watson's dispassionate view of the frigid forecast.
"I think it's going to be pretty tough. I think living in Florida has softened me up," said Henrik Stenson, who faces Steve Stricker in his opening match. "I'm not too keen on the cold. It's a bit of a grind."
Stenson, who won this event in 2007 when it was played at La Costa Resort and Spa, added that he's also a fan of the one-on-one battles that happen in match play.
"I love the format. It's very clear what you need to do," said the 2007 champion. "You just have to play better than your opponent."