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“We do want it to be the toughest test in golf that these players encounter each year,” USGA executive Jeff Hall said. “They can circle it on the calendar and know, OK, I’m coming to Indianwood in 2012. It’s going to be a little bit different than what they see every week.”

Watson likes his chances of ending his U.S. Senior Open drought at Indianwood if he improves his inconsistent iron game.

“You’ve got to drive the ball on the fairway,” he said. “If you don’t, you’re going to the Detroit airport on Friday night.”

Couples _ like Watson _ is hopeful his health holds up well enough to help him leave the Motor City after putting a U.S. Senior Open championship on his resume. Couples said the accomplishment would rank just below the 1992 Masters and pair of Players Championship titles he has won.

“This would be right under it,” he said.

The 52-year-old Couples took last week off to rest his oft-injured back. He’s hoping that improves his chances of winning for the second time this year on the Champions Tour and to perhaps recapture some of the magic he had in April as the oldest player to lead the Masters going into the weekend before finishing tied for 12th.

“I did not play any golf last week just to make sure coming in here that I could physically play and not be in too much pain or have too much trouble swinging,” he said.

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Follow Larry Lage on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/larrylage