He has given us such drama, but as night fell over St Andrews this was tension of a different kind.
Fyles, incidentally, was one of the Birkdale band of caddies, one of whom was tasked with getting up at the crack of dawn to log the pin positions for the caddy shack and they were pre-eminent in their day, travelling together to tournaments around the UK and over for the Irish Open, and even to the United States from time to time. While only in his mid-20’s, many wondered if Watson has the skills and the mental capacity to close a major championship.
“It’s been one heck of a run”, Watson said.
His greatest victory, however, would happen two years later.
His experience over the closing stretch, five successive bogeys bringing him home in 42 shots to finish bottom of the field was, in many ways, the flawless demonstration of the message he would offer minutes later. The oldest course in St. Louis, Glen Echo Country Club, opened in the same year as the “youngster” at St. Andrews. It is an event he has already won three times.
Watson’s won both the Open Championship and the U.S. Open in 1982. Fifty-four players were unable to complete the round. An official tried to tell them it was time to go in, Els said later, but he pushed back. Even the front side, the wind was howling and it was blowing straight left-to-right pretty much.
Half an hour before Watson walked along the final fairway, the crowd by the wall was thin. Andrews, but shot a final round 73 and watched as Seve Ballesteros won his fourth major title.
There weren’t many great shots in Watson’s final British Open.
As a marked change from 2005, when this charming celebration was instituted, there was the warm glow provided by the presence of two, champion Irishmen – Pádraig Harrington and Clarke – which would, of course, have been three, but for the unfortunate absence of the holder, Rory McIlroy, through injury.
“I’ve been rambling a lot, I’m sorry”, Watson said, concluding his last press conference.
He missed that putt, then another. He finished T22 in 2011, and in 2014, he would set the record as the oldest player to make the cut at The Open at the age of 64.
“Yeah, I think it’s a childhood dream and looking up there, it’s still a little bit surreal, but something I’m going to have to get used to”, Willett said.
40 years ago, Tom Watson from the American heartland started his career.
Sadly, that looks to be some way off after Watson’s first round +4 left him adrift of the tournament’s pacemakers.
Tiger Woods missed the cut again.
This is not how it was meant to end for Tom Watson.
“I still want to compete”, said the 39-time PGA Tour victor.
United States’ Tom Watson walks to the 16th tee during the second… When Watson got to the Swilcan Bridge, he took a picture with playing partners Ernie Els and Brandt Snedeker, and his son Michael, and pointed to the sky. Let the Kansas City native and five time champion tell the story.
His two-round score of 12 over – the bottom of the leaderboard – hardly mattered as the five-time victor of the Claret Jug was given a resounding send-off by hundreds of spectators who packed the road along the fairway and gathered around the green, many having moved with the former champion from the 17th hole.