Tom Watson during 2008 Open Championship
|Full name||Thomas Sturges Watson|
|Born||September 4, 1949
Kansas City, Missouri
|Height||5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)|
|Weight||175 lb (79 kg)|
Tour (joined 1972)
Champions Tour (joined 1999)
|Number of wins by tour|
|Japan Golf Tour||4|
|Best results in
|The Masters||Won: 1977, 1981|
|U.S. Open||Won: 1982|
|Open Championship||Won: 1975, 1977, 1980, 1982, 1983|
|PGA Championship||2nd: 1978|
|Achievements and awards|
|World Golf Hall of Fame||1988 (member page)|
leading money winner
|1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1984|
|PGA Player of the Year||1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1982, 1984|
|Vardon Trophy||1977, 1978, 1979|
|Bob Jones Award||1987|
|Old Tom Morris Award||1992|
|Payne Stewart Award||2003|
In the 1970s and 1980s, Watson was one of the leading players in the world, winning eight major championships and heading the PGA Tour money list five times. He was the number one player in the world according to McCormack's World Golf Rankings from 1978 through 1982; in both 1983 and 1984 he was ranked second behind Seve Ballesteros. He also spent 32 weeks in the top 10 of the successor Sony Rankings in their debut in 1986.
Watson is now also notable for defying age - at nearly 60 years - to mostly lead and tie the 2009 Open Championship to enter a 4 hole play-off; 26 years after his last major - and last Open - victory. His second shot to the par-4 72nd hole skirted past the hole to lie on the fringe, yet he took three putts to get down from there, putting him in a playoff with Stewart Cink, which he lost.
Of Watson's eight major championships five were Open Championships, two Masters titles and one U.S. Open title. The only "major" that eluded him is the PGA Championship, which would have put him in an elite group of golfing "grand slam" winners that includes Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Gene Sarazen, and Tiger Woods. In all, Watson ranks 6th on the list of total major championship victories, and he is one of only fourteen players to have won at least three of the four golfing major titles.
Several of Watson's major victories came at the expense of Jack Nicklaus, the man he replaced as number one, most notably the 1977 Open Championship and the 1982 U.S. Open. Though his rivalry with Nicklaus was intense their friendly competitiveness served to increase golf's popularity during the time.
Watson is generally regarded as one of the greatest links players of all time, a claim backed up by his five Open Championship victories; and his competitiveness in the 2009 Open Championship, as well as his three Senior Open Championship titles in his mid-50s (2003, 2005, and 2007).
Watson was born in Kansas City, Missouri, and introduced to the game by his father Ray. His early coach was Stan Thirsk at the Kansas City Country Club. He first gained local renown while on his high school team at The Pembroke-Country Day School in Kansas City. Watson won four straight Missouri State Amateur championships, from 1968–1971. He attended Stanford University, playing on the golf team and graduating with a degree in psychology in 1971.
Watson joined the PGA Tour in 1971 after a very good amateur career, and gradually improved. He contended for in a major championship for the first time in the 1974 U.S. Open at the Winged Foot Golf Club, but he faded badly in the final round after leading the first three. Following this disappointment, Watson was approached by legendary player Byron Nelson, who offered assistance. With Nelson's guidance on swing mechanics and course management, Watson's game advanced quickly and he shortly won his first title at the 1974 Western Open.
Watson's 1977 Open Championship victory, at Turnberry in Scotland, was especially memorable, and is considered by many to be the finest tournament played in the last half of the 20th century. After two rounds, he and Jack Nicklaus were one shot out of the lead and paired for the third round. Both shot 65, ending the third round three shots clear of the field. Watson and Nicklaus were again paired for the final round. On the last day, the two were tied after 16 holes. Nicklaus missed a makeable birdie putt on 17, losing his share of the lead to Watson, who birdied 17. On the 18th, Nicklaus drove into the rough, while Watson drove the fairway. Watson's approach landed two feet from the flag, while Nicklaus, after a drive into deep rough and near a gorse plant, managed to get his approach 40 feet away. Nicklaus sank his birdie putt to finish with a 66, but Watson followed suit with his own birdie, finishing with a second straight 65 and his second Open, with a record score of 268 (12 under par). The two players finished well ahead of the other challengers (Hubert Green in third place was ten strokes behind Nicklaus, at 279), and shot the same score every round except for the final day, which was then played on Saturday.
Watson's U.S. Open win, in 1982 at Pebble Beach, was equally memorable. Playing two groups ahead of Watson in the final round, Nicklaus charged into a share of the lead with five consecutive birdies. When Watson reached the par-3 17th hole the two were still tied, but with Nicklaus safely in the clubhouse at 4 under par 284. Watson hit his tee shot on 17 into the rough just off the green, leaving an extremely difficult chip shot downhill on a very fast green that sloped toward the Pacific Ocean. While being interviewed on national television and fully aware of Watson's terrible predicament, Nicklaus appeared confident he was on his way to an unprecedented fifth U.S. Open championship. Watson's chip shot, amazingly, hit the flag stick and fell into the cup, giving him a miraculous birdie and setting the stage for yet another win over Nicklaus. Watson went on to birdie the 18th as well, for a final margin of two shots. His 17th hole chip-in is regarded as one of the greatest shots in golf history. The U.S. Open was the major he most wanted to win, and thus victory in the 1982 U.S. Open allowed Watson to realize his dream, though it would be the only U.S. Open title of his career.
Watson's stellar play on the PGA Tour faded in the late 1980s when he began to have problems putting even though his tee-to-green game seemed to improve. In 1994 when The Open Championship returned to Turnberry, the site of his 1977 victory, Watson commented, "Sometimes you lose your desire through the years. Any golfer goes through that. When you play golf for a living, like anything in your life, you are never going to be constant, at the top". He finished tied for 11th at the Open Championship that year, but he had a revival in the late 1990s and the last of his 39 wins on the PGA Tour came at the 1998 MasterCard Colonial when he was 48 years old. He also demonstrated remarkable consistency by making at least one PGA Tour cut per year from 1971–2007, a streak of 37 years.
In the 2003 U.S. Open, at age 53, he took the opening-round lead by shooting a 65 with his long-time caddy Bruce Edwards carrying his clubs. Edwards had been diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease earlier in the year, and Watson contributed significant time and money that year to raise money for motor neuron disease. Edwards died on April 8, 2004.
Watson missed the cut for the 2007 Masters by one stroke, seemingly not knowing he would do so when he missed a short putt on the 18th green.
In the first round of the 2009 Open Championship at Turnberry, Watson shot a first-round 5-under 65, one stroke behind the leader Miguel Ángel Jiménez. In the second round, he tied for the lead after making a huge putt on the 18th green. His score for the round was 70, 38 out and 32 back. This made Watson - at 59 years of age - the oldest man to have the lead after any round of a major. In addition, with a relatively low-scoring third round, one-over par 71, he kept the lead outright by one shot, so also became the oldest player to lead a major going into the last round. He acknowledged after that 3rd round he was thinking of Bruce Edwards as he walked the 18th fairway.
Watson finished regulation 72-hole play in the Open tied for the lead with Stewart Cink, with a cumulative score of -2. He needed a par on the 72nd hole to capture a sixth career Open Championship title, but his second shot on the 72nd hole went over the green. Then, from several yards behind the 18th green, Watson first putted up the slope and past the hole, then missed a second 8-foot putt by about 6 inches to the right of the cup. His bogey led to a four-hole playoff with Cink, running through the 5th, 6th, 17th, and 18th holes. With several errant shots not typical of the previous 72 holes, he lost the playoff by six strokes.
Watson joined the Champions Tour in 1999, the same year he earned an honorary membership of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews in Scotland. He has 12 wins on the Champions Tour, including five senior majors, while playing a limited schedule of events. Watson shares with Gary Player three victories each in the Senior British Open.
Watson was one of two players to play with Jack Nicklaus in the final two rounds of golf in Nicklaus' career, which ended at the 2005 Open Championship on the Old Course at St Andrews. Englishman Luke Donald was the third member of the group.
After residing for many years in Mission Hills, Kansas, Watson now lives in Stilwell, Kansas with his wife, two children, and three stepchildren. He designed the National Golf Club of Kansas City golf course.
Watson has been one of the most complete players ever to play golf, as evidenced by his competitiveness in the 2009 Open Championship at the age of 59. Standing 5 ft 9 in and weighing 160 pounds during his PGA Tour years, he achieved abundant length with accuracy, played aggressively, developed a superlative short game, and in his prime was a very skilled and confident putter. Watson is renowned as an exceptional bad-weather golfer, having displayed this gritty talent best in the difficult and sundry conditions of The Open Championship.
|No.||Date||Tournament||Winning Score||Margin of
|1||Jun 30, 1974||Western Open||+3 (72-71-75-69=287)||2 strokes||J. C. Snead, Tom Weiskopf|
|2||May 12, 1975||Byron Nelson Golf Classic||-19 (72-63-69-65=269)||2 strokes||Bob E. Smith|
|3||Jul 12, 1975||Open Championship||-9 (71-67-69-72-72=279)||Playoff||Jack Newton|
|4||Jan 23, 1977||Bing Crosby National Pro-Am||-15 (66-69-67-71=273)||1 stroke||Tony Jacklin|
|5||Jan 30, 1977||Andy Williams-San Diego Open Invitational||-19 (66-67-67-69=269)||5 strokes||Larry Nelson, John Schroeder|
|6||Apr 10, 1977||The Masters||-12 (70-69-70-67=276)||2 strokes||Jack Nicklaus|
|7||Jun 26, 1977||Western Open||-5 (70-69-75-69=283)||1 stroke||Wally Armstrong, Johnny Miller|
|8||Jul 9, 1977||Open Championship||-15 (68-70-65-65=268)||1 stroke||Jack Nicklaus|
|9||Jan 8, 1978||Joe Garagiola-Tucson Open||-18 (63-68-73-72=274)||3 strokes||Bobby Wadkins|
|10||Jan 23, 1978||Bing Crosby National Pro-Am||Even (74-68-67-75=284)||Playoff||Ben Crenshaw|
|11||May 7, 1978||Byron Nelson Golf Classic||-8 (69-67-70-66=272)||1 stroke||Lee Trevino|
|12||Aug 27, 1978||Colgate Hall of Fame Classic||-7 (72-67-67-71=277)||1 stroke|| Hale Irwin, Tom Kite,
|13||Sep 24, 1978||Anheuser-Busch Golf Classic||-18 (68-69-66-67=270)||3 strokes||Ed Sneed|
|14||Apr 1, 1979||Sea Pines Heritage Classic||-14 (65-65-69-71=270)||5 strokes||Ed Sneed|
|15||Apr 22, 1979||MONY Tournament of Champions||-13 (69-66-70-70=275)||6 strokes||Bruce Lietzke, Jerry Pate|
|16||May 13, 1979||Byron Nelson Golf Classic||-5 (64-72-69-70=275)||Playoff||Bill Rogers|
|17||May 27, 1979||Memorial Tournament||-14 (72-67-68-67=274)||3 strokes||Miller Barber|
|18||Aug 26, 1979||Colgate Hall of Fame Classic||-12 (70-68-65-69=272)||Playoff||Johnny Miller|
|19||Jan 27, 1980||Andy Williams-San Diego Open Invitational||-13 (68-69-68-70=275)||Playoff||D. A. Weibring|
|20||Feb 24, 1980||Glen Campbell-Los Angeles Open||-8 (69-66-70-71=276)||1 stroke||Bob Gilder, Don January|
|21||Apr 20, 1980||MONY Tournament of Champions||-12 (65-66-72-73=276)||3 strokes||Jim Colbert|
|22||Apr 28, 1980||Greater New Orleans Open||-15 (66-68-66-73=273)||2 strokes||Lee Trevino|
|23||May 11, 1980||Byron Nelson Golf Classic||-6 (64-70-69-71=274)||1 stroke||Bill Rogers|
|24||Jul 20, 1980||Open Championship||-13 (68-70-64-69=271)||4 strokes||Lee Trevino|
|25||Aug 24 1980||World Series of Golf||-10 (65-75-65-65=270)||2 strokes||Raymond Floyd|
|26||Apr 12, 1981||The Masters||-8 (71-68-70-71=280)||2 strokes||Johnny Miller, Jack Nicklaus|
|27||Apr 26, 1981||USF&G New Orleans Open||-18 (69-69-64-68=270)||2 strokes||Bruce Fleisher|
|28||Jun 7, 1981||Atlanta Classic||-11 (68-70-68-71=277)||Playoff||Tommy Valentine|
|29||Feb 21, 1982||Glen Campbell-Los Angeles Open||-13 (69-67-68-67=271)||Playoff||Johnny Miller|
|30||Mar 28, 1982||Sea Pines Heritage||-4 (69-68-72-71=280)||Playoff||Frank Conner|
|31||Jun 20, 1982||U.S. Open||-6 (72-72-68-70=282)||2 strokes||Jack Nicklaus|
|32||Jul 18, 1982||Open Championship||-4 (69-71-74-70=284)||1 stroke||Peter Oosterhuis, Nick Price|
|33||Jul 17, 1983||Open Championship||-9 (67-68-70-70=275)||1 stroke||Andy Bean, Hale Irwin|
|34||Jan 8, 1984||Seiko-Tucson Match Play Championship||2&1||1 stroke||Gil Morgan|
|35||May 6, 1984||MONY Tournament of Champions||-14 (69-71-67-67=274)||5 strokes||Bruce Lietzke|
|36||Jul 8, 1984||Western Open||-8 (71-69-70-70=280)||Playoff||Greg Norman|
|37||Nov 1, 1987||Nabisco Championship||-12 (65-66-69-68=268)||2 strokes||Chip Beck|
|38||Jun 2, 1996||Memorial Tournament||-14 (70-68-66-70=274)||2 strokes||David Duval|
|39||May 24, 1998||MasterCard Colonial||-15 (68-66-65-66=265)||2 strokes||Jim Furyk|
|No.||Date||Tournament||Winning Score||Margin of
|1||Sep 19, 1999||Bank One Championship||-20 (67-67-62=196)||5 strokes||Bruce Summerhays|
|2||Nov 5, 2000||IR Senior Tour Championship||-18 (70-67-67-66=270)||1 stroke||John Jacobs|
|3||May 27, 2001||Senior PGA Championship||-14 (72-69-66-67=274)||1 stroke||Jim Thorpe|
|4||Oct 22, 2002||Senior Tour Championship at Gaillardia||-14 (74-67-66-67=274)||1 stroke||Gil Morgan|
|5||Jul 27, 2003||Senior British Open||-17 (66-67-66-64=263)||Playoff||Carl Mason|
|6||Aug 31, 2003||JELD-WEN Tradition||-15 (68-62-73-70=273)||1 stroke||Jim Ahern, Tom Kite|
|7||Jul 24, 2005||Senior British Open||-4 (75-71-64-70=280)||Playoff||Des Smyth|
|8||Oct 30, 2005||Charles Schwab Cup Championship||-16 (69-70-69-64=272)||3 strokes||Jay Haas|
|9||Feb 18, 2007||Outback Steakhouse Pro-Am||-4 (70-69-70=209)||1 stroke||Andy Bean, Jay Haas|
|10||Jul 29, 2007||Senior British Open||E (70-71-70-73=284)||1 stroke||Stewart Ginn, Mark O'Meara|
|11||Apr 20, 2008||Outback Steakhouse Pro-Am||-9 (63-71-70=204)||1 stroke||Jay Haas, Scott Hoch|
|12||Apr 27, 2008||Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf (with Andy North)||-31 (59-62-64=185)||1 stroke||Craig Stadler and Jeff Sluman|
|Year||Championship||54 Holes||Winning Score||Margin||Runner(s)-up|
|1975||The Open Championship||3 shot deficit||-9 (71-67-69-72=279)||Playoff 1||Jack Newton|
|1977||The Masters||Tied for lead||-12 (70-69-70-67=276)||2 strokes||Jack Nicklaus|
|1977||The Open Championship (2)||Tied for lead||-12 (68-70-65-65=268)||1 stroke||Jack Nicklaus|
|1980||The Open Championship (3)||4 shot lead||-13 (68-70-64-69=271)||4 strokes||Lee Trevino|
|1981||The Masters (2)||1 shot lead||-8 (71-68-70-71=280)||2 strokes||Johnny Miller, Jack Nicklaus|
|1982||U.S. Open||Tied for lead||-6 (72-72-68-70=282)||2 strokes||Jack Nicklaus|
|1982||The Open Championship (4)||3 shot deficit||-4 (69-71-74-70=284)||1 stroke||Peter Oosterhuis, Nick Price|
|1983||The Open Championship (5)||1 shot lead||-9 (67-68-70-70=275)||1 stroke||Andy Bean, Hale Irwin|
1 Defeated Jack Newton in 18-hole playoff - Watson (71), Newton (72)
|The Open Championship||DNP||DNP||DNP||DNP||DNP||1||CUT||1||T14||T26|
|The Open Championship||1||T23||1||1||T2||T47||T35||7||T28||4|
|The Open Championship||CUT||T26||CUT||CUT||T11||T31||DNP||T10||CUT||CUT|
|The Open Championship||T55||CUT||CUT||T18||DNP||T41||T48||DNP||CUT||2|
DNP = did not play
CUT = missed the half way cut
"T" indicates a tied for a place.
Green background for wins. Yellow background for top-10.
|2001||Senior PGA Championship||-14 (72-69-66-67=274)||1 stroke||Jim Thorpe|
|2003||Senior British Open Championship||-17 (66-67-66-64=263)||Playoff 1||Carl Mason|
|2003||The Tradition||-15 (68-62-73-70=273)||1 stroke||Jim Ahern, Tom Kite, Gil Morgan|
|2005||Senior British Open Championship (2)||-4 (75-71-64-70=280)||Playoff 2||Des Smyth|
|2007||Senior British Open Championship (3)||E (70-71-70-73=284)||1 stroke||Stewart Ginn, Mark O'Meara|
1 Defeated Carl Mason in a playoff with par at the
second extra hole.
2 Defeated Des Smyth in a playoff with par at the third extra hole.
Results not in chronological order before 2008
|Senior PGA Championship||T17||1||T18||T17||T4||T27||T23||T52||T16||4|
|Senior British Open Championship||-1||-1||-1||1||T22||1||T23||1||T5||T8|
|U.S. Senior Open||T10||T16||2||2||T25||T5||2||4||T23||T43|
|Senior Players Championship||T18||T8||DNP||T2||DNP||T3||T17||2||DNP||2|
1 The Senior British Open was not a Champions Tour major until 2003
DNP = Did not play
CUT = missed the halfway cut
"T" indicates a tie for a place
Green background for wins. Yellow background for top-10.
Watson has designed golf courses through his Tom Watson Design company in Kansas.