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Tom Watson (golfer)

Tom Watson
— Golfer —
Watson during 2008 Open Championship
Personal information
Full name Thomas Sturges Watson
Born (1949-09-04) September 4, 1949
Kansas City, Missouri
Height 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)
Weight 175 lb (79 kg)
Nationality  United States
Residence Stilwell, Kansas
Spouse Linda Rubin (m. 1972–97)
Hilary Watson (m. 1999–present)
Children Meg, Michael, Kyle, Kelly Paige, Ross
College Stanford University
Turned professional 1971
Current tour(s) Champions Tour (joined 1999)
European Seniors Tour (joined 2011)
Former tour(s) PGA Tour (1972–2014)
Professional wins 71
Number of wins by tour
PGA Tour 39 (tied 11th all time)
Japan Golf Tour 4
Champions Tour 14
Other 14
Best results in major championships
(Wins: 8)
Masters Tournament Won: 1977, 1981
U.S. Open Won: 1982
The Open Championship Won: 1975, 1977, 1980, 1982, 1983
PGA Championship 2nd: 1978
Achievements and awards
World Golf Hall of Fame 1988 (member page)
PGA Tour
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
Charles Schwab Cup 2003, 2005

Thomas Sturges Watson (born September 4, 1949) is an American professional golfer who played on the PGA Tour and now plays mostly on the Champions Tour.

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 until 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.[1]

Watson is now also notable for defying age: at nearly 60 years of age, and 26 years after his last major championship victory, he led much of the 2009 Open Championship, but eventually lost in a four-hole playoff. With a chance to win the tournament with par on the 72nd hole, he missed an eight-foot putt, before losing the playoff to Stewart Cink.

Several of Watson's major victories came at the expense of Jack Nicklaus, the man he replaced as number one, most notably the 1977 Masters, 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.

In Watson's illustrious career, his eight major championships included five Open Championships,[2] two Masters titles, and one U.S. Open title. The only major that has eluded him is the PGA Championship, which would put him in an elite group of golfing "career 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, behind only Hogan, Nicklaus, Player, Woods, and Walter Hagen.

Watson is also regarded as one of the greatest links players of all time, a claim backed up by his five Open Championship victories; as well as his 2nd-place finish in the 2009 Open Championship, and his three Senior British Open Championship titles in his mid-50s (2003, 2005, and 2007).

Watson played on four Ryder Cup teams and captained the American side to victory in the 1993 Ryder Cup at The Belfry in England. On December 13, 2012, Watson was announced as the captain for the 2014 Ryder Cup in Scotland.[3]


  • Early years and education 1
  • PGA Tour 2
    • 1970s 2.1
    • 1980s 2.2
    • 1990–2014 2.3
    • Streaks 2.4
  • Champions Tour 3
  • Playing style 4
  • Distinctions and honors 5
  • Professional wins (71) 6
    • PGA Tour wins (39) 6.1
    • Japan Golf Tour wins (4) 6.2
    • Other wins (4) 6.3
    • Champions Tour wins (14) 6.4
    • Other senior wins (10) 6.5
  • Major championships 7
    • Wins (8) 7.1
    • Results timeline 7.2
    • Summary 7.3
  • Senior major championships 8
    • Wins (6) 8.1
    • Results timeline 8.2
  • Golf courses designed 9
  • See also 10
  • References 11
  • External links 12

Early years and education

Born in Kansas City, Missouri, Watson was introduced to the game by his father Ray. His early coach was Stan Thirsk at the Kansas City Country Club. Watson first gained local renown while on his high school team at The Pembroke-Country Day School in Kansas City. Watson won four Missouri State Amateur championships, 1967, 1968, 1970 and 1971.[4] He attended Stanford University, playing on the golf and table tennis teams, joining Alpha Sigma Phi, and graduating with a degree in psychology in 1971.

PGA Tour


Watson joined the PGA Tour in 1971 after a very good amateur career, and gradually improved. He hired Bruce Edwards to be his caddie for the first time at the 1973 St. Louis tournament, and the two connected, with Edwards caddying for Watson at most events after that for a period of many years.[5]

Watson contended 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 having the 54-hole lead. Following this disappointment, Watson was approached in the locker room by legendary retired player Byron Nelson, a broadcaster at the event, who offered encouragement, insight and assistance. Nelson and Watson spoke briefly at that time, with Nelson saying he liked Watson's game and aggressiveness, and offered to help him improve. Watson, although disappointed by his weak finish, was flattered to receive Nelson's interest. However, the two men did not manage to get together to work on golf in depth until several months later, when Watson played in the Tour's Byron Nelson Classic in the Dallas area, and visited Nelson's nearby home. The two men would eventually develop a close and productive teacher-student relationship and friendship; Nelson had similarly mentored the young rising star Ken Venturi during the 1950s.[6][7]

Only two weeks after the Winged Foot collapse, Watson won his first Tour title at the 1974 Western Open, coming from six shots back in the final round.[8] With Nelson's guidance on swing mechanics and course management, and determined hard work, Watson's game advanced quickly, and he won his first major championship, the 1975 Open Championship, on his first appearance in the event in Britain. Watson holed a 20-foot putt for a birdie on the 72nd hole to tie Jack Newton. The following day Watson won an 18-hole playoff at Carnoustie by a stroke, carding a 71 to Newton's 72. Watson was able to gain the upper hand in the playoff after chipping in for an eagle at the 14th hole.[9] Watson is one of only four players since World War II to have won the Open Championship on their debut, the others being Ben Hogan (1953), Tony Lema (1964) and Ben Curtis (2003).[10]

Watson won his second major championship and his first green jacket as Masters champion in 1977 after a duel with Jack Nicklaus. During the final round Watson stood on the 17th green tied with Nicklaus for the lead. Watson holed a 20-foot putt for a birdie to go one stroke ahead of Nicklaus. Watson's par on the 18th hole won him the Masters title by two strokes after Nicklaus had a bogey on the 18th.

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 second 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.

In 1978, as defending Masters champion, Watson needed a par on the 18th hole of his final round to tie over 72 holes with Gary Player, who had shot a record-tying final round of 64. However, Watson missed out on a playoff by sending his approach shot to the 18th into the gallery and missing the 10-foot par putt he needed for a playoff. He finished tied for 2nd place at Augusta, one stroke behind Gary Player.[11] Watson had five PGA Tour victories in 1978, but he also had one of the biggest disappointments of his career in that year's PGA Championship in August at Oakmont. Watson had a five-shot lead after 54 holes, but lost the tournament in a 3-way sudden-death playoff to John Mahaffey. This would be the closest that Watson has come to landing the one major title that has eluded him.[12]

In 1979, Watson had a further five PGA Tour victories that year, including a five-shot victory in the Sea Pines Heritage Classic, which he won with a then tournament record 14-under par 270.[13] Watson again finished runner-up at the Masters in 1979, when he lost in a 3-way sudden-death playoff to Fuzzy Zoeller. This was the first sudden-death playoff at the Masters, with the previous playoff at Augusta in 1970 having taken place on Monday under an 18 hole format. Watson also finished 2nd in The Players Championship in 1979.


Watson had an outstanding year in 1980. A brilliant third round of 64 at Muirfield helped him to win his third Open Championship title in Britain by four strokes. He was the leading money winner on the PGA Tour for the fourth consecutive year, winning six tournaments in America. Watson showed tremendous consistency in 1980, with sixteen top-10 finishes on the PGA Tour that year.[14] In August 1980, after his sixth victory of the year in America, Watson said: "I love this game. I feel that dedication is the only way to improve. I've been more consistent this year than in the previous three years."[15]

In 1981, Watson won his second Masters title at Augusta by two strokes over Jack Nicklaus and Johnny Miller. Watson had a further two Tour victories in 1981 at the USF&G New Orleans Open and the Atlanta Classic.

The U.S. Open was the major that Watson most wanted to win. In 1982 at Pebble Beach, he was able to realize his dream after an engaging duel with Jack Nicklaus in one of the most memorable major championships of all time. 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 the 17th 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 perilous 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 was named the greatest shot in golf history by U.S. television channel ESPN.

The following month in July 1982 at Royal Troon in Scotland, Watson became only the third golfer since World War II to win the U.S. Open and Open Championship in the same year after Ben Hogan (1953) and Lee Trevino (1971) - a feat later matched by Tiger Woods (2000).[16] After the first two rounds of the 1982 British Open, Watson was seven shots behind the leader Bobby Clampett, whose commanding lead was reduced after a third round of 78. During the final round, Nick Price, who was playing in one of the groups behind Watson, gained the lead. Watson stood on the 18th tee of the final round two strokes behind Price. Watson waited patiently after his round as Price's lead evaporated, leaving Watson the Open winner by one stroke.[17]

In 1983, as defending U.S. Open champion at Oakmont, Watson shared the 54-hole lead with Seve Ballesteros. In the final round though, Watson missed a 6-foot putt for par on the 17th and finished in 2nd place, one stroke behind the winner Larry Nelson.[18] The following month in July 1983, Watson won his fifth Open Championship and the last of his eight majors at Royal Birkdale, his only Open victory on English soil. (His four other titles came in Scotland.)[19]

In 1984, Watson finished runner-up for the third time at the Masters, finishing two strokes behind the champion Ben Crenshaw. Watson had three Tour wins in 1984, including his third victory in the Western Open after a playoff against Greg Norman. A fortnight later in the 1984 Open Championship at St Andrews, Watson was in contention during the final holes to win a third consecutive Open and a sixth Open Championship overall to tie the record for the most Open wins by Harry Vardon. However, Watson bogeyed the par-4 "Road Hole" 17th and Seve Ballesteros birdied the 18th, resulting in a victory for Ballesteros and Watson finishing in a tie for 2nd place.[20]

After his runner-up finish in the 1984 British Open, Watson did not manage to win a PGA Tour event for the next three years until the 1987 Nabisco Championship. Watson went from being the PGA Tour money leader in 1984[21] to finishing 18th on the PGA Tour's money list in 1985.[21] As a result of a decline in form, Watson missed out on a place in the 1985 U.S. Ryder Cup team.

In the 1986 Hawaiian Open, Watson was the third round leader and was aiming to end his winless streak since July 1984. However, Watson bogeyed the 71st and 72nd holes and finished in a tie for 3rd place, behind the winner Corey Pavin.[22]

In the 1987 U.S. Open, Watson had a one-shot lead going into the final round at the Olympic Club. Watson was a gallery favorite during the tournament. He had strong support from the spectators having played golf for Stanford University, 30 miles south of the Olympic Club in San Francisco.[23] He was aiming to win his ninth major championship, which would have tied him for major wins with Ben Hogan and Gary Player, but Watson lost the tournament by a stroke to Scott Simpson. In the final round, Simpson had three consecutive birdies on the back-nine to take the lead. Watson's 45-foot putt for a birdie on the 72nd hole which would have forced a playoff with Simpson was about two inches short.[24]

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. During this period he had some near-misses in tournaments. Watson finished 2nd at the 1988 NEC World Series of Golf, missing a 3-foot putt in a playoff against Mike Reid.[25]

In 1989, Watson was in contention during the Open Championship at Royal Troon, but he finished in 4th place, two strokes outside the playoff between Mark Calcavecchia, Wayne Grady and Greg Norman.


At the 1991 Masters Tournament, Watson stood on the 18th tee in the final round at Augusta with a share of the lead but had a double-bogey 6 to finish in a tie for 3rd place, two strokes behind the champion Ian Woosnam.[26] It was Watson's 15th consecutive top-20 finish at The Masters, having finished in the top-10 of The Masters in 13 of the 15 years between 1977 to 1991.

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 constantly, at the top".[27] He finished tied for 11th at the Open Championship that year, but he had a revival in the late 1990s, winning the 1996 Memorial Tournament and gaining the last of his 39 wins on the PGA Tour at the 1998 MasterCard Colonial when he was 48 years old.

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 and giving advice. Edwards had been diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease earlier in the year, and Watson contributed significant time and money that year with Bruce to raise money for motor neuron disease. Edwards died on April 8, 2004.

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.

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.[28] 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.[29]

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.[30]

The following April, Watson competed in the 2010 Masters Tournament. Watson shot an opening-round 67, one shot off the first-round lead held by fellow Champions Tour player Fred Couples. Watson subsequently posted rounds of 74, 73, and 73. His 72-hole, one-under par total of 287 gave Watson a share of eighteenth place. Watson thus became only the second player in history, after Sam Snead, to post a top-20 finish in at least one major championship in five different decades. Watson holds the record for the longest time span between first and last playoffs on the PGA Tour. That time span is 34 years, 10 days. Watson won the 1975 Open Championship in an 18-hole playoff and 34 years later lost a playoff for the 2009 Open Championship.

Due to his performance in 2009 and early 2010, along with his 1982 U.S. Open victory at Pebble Beach, the USGA awarded Watson a special exemption to the 2010 U.S. Open. He finished the tournament tied for 29th. Watson is the only golfer to participate in all major professional championships contested at Pebble Beach: 1972, 1982, 1992, 2000, and 2010 U.S. Opens, and the 1977 PGA Championship.

Watson got an ace on the 6th hole during the second round of the 2011 Open Championship. It was the second ace of the week after Dustin Johnson got one on 16 the day before.

In an interview in 2012, Watson admitted that he was "distraught" at coming so close to becoming the oldest Major winner at the age of 59 and said that the experience in the 2009 British Open "tore his guts out". Watson said of his approach shot to the green at the 72nd hole, when he needed a par to win the Open: "I was going right at the flag but with the uncertainty of links golf, maybe a gust of wind took it a bit further than it was supposed to. I felt extreme disappointment that night but the one good thing that came of that was the response of people around the world."[31]


He demonstrated remarkable consistency by making at least one PGA Tour cut per year from 1971–2007, a streak of 37 years.

Watson is the only golfer to score a round of 67 or less in all 4 majors at least once in 4 different decades. His best round in the Masters is a 67. His first 67 came in 1977. Other 67s were scored in the 1980s, 1990s and 2010s. His most recent 67 at Augusta was his opening round in 2010. His US Open low score is a 65. He scored 65 in 1987 and 2003, 66 in 1993 and he first shot 67 in 1975. At the British Open, Watson's low score is a 64 in 1980. 65s were scored in 1977 (twice), 1994 and 2009 (all 65s at the Open were scored at Turnberry). Finally at the PGA Championship, Watson's low score of the 1970s was a 66 in 1979. In the 1980s he scored a 67 in 1980, 1983, 1985, and 1989. His low PGA score is a 65 in 1993 & 2000.

Watson also sets a record for having a round of 65 or less in at least one of the majors in 4 different decades. 1970s: 1977 British Open (65 in rounds 3 and 4), 1980s: 1980 British Open (64 in round 3), 1990s: 1993 PGA Championship (65 in round 2), and 2000s: 2000 PGA Championship (65 in round 3).

Watson's 67 in the first round at the 2010 Masters also gives him a record to be the only person to have at least one round of 67 or less in any of the four majors in five different decades (1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, and 2010s).

Champions Tour

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 14 wins on the Champions Tour, including six senior majors, while playing a limited schedule of events. Watson shares with Gary Player three victories each in the Senior British Open. Watson revisited his 1977 Open Championship win at Turnberry with another win there in the 2003 Senior British Open. He followed this up with victories in 2005 and 2007.

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.

Playing style

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 varied conditions of The Open Championship. At the height of his career, he was well known for his excellent recovery skills, especially around the greens. Years later, if a player escaped from trouble and somehow made par, tour players described the escape as a "Watson par".[32]

Watson also developed a reputation for scrupulous honesty, once even calling a penalty stroke on himself for slightly moving a ball that was in deep rough, although no one else had seen it.[33] In 1991, Watson was critical of the heckling of his playing partner Ian Woosnam during the final round of the Masters. Some of the Augusta crowd were vociferous in their support for Watson, in the hope of seeing him win a third Masters title. Watson, however, calmed Woosnam after he was upset at being yelled at by a member of the crowd on the 14th tee. Watson later said: "There's been a breakdown in decorum, and I don't feel good when partisanship spills over."[34]

In 2010, Watson said that he agreed with Lee Westwood's assertion that Tour players who used 20-year-old Ping-Eye 2 wedges to get around new rules prohibiting box grooves (i.e., grooves rectangular [including square] or U-shaped in cross-section) were going against "the spirit of the game." Watson also reprimanded Tiger Woods for his "language and club-throwing" and said that Woods needed to "show humility" to the public.[35]

Watson has been outspoken about the effect that too much prize money can have on some golfers. In an interview in 2010, Watson said: "I do believe that, in certain instances, players can be corrupted by the amount of money they make. I think too much money corrupts the desire and for some players it's about how much money they make rather than just trying to be the best player they can."[36]

Distinctions and honors

  • Named PGA Player of the Year 6 times, 1977–1980, 1982 and 1984, and trails only Tiger Woods, who has been named Player of the Year 10 times.
  • Won the Vardon Trophy for lowest scoring average three straight years: 1977, 1978, and 1979.
  • Played on four Ryder Cup teams: 1977, 1981, 1983, and 1989 and captained the victorious 1993 team. Watson also qualified for the 1979 matches but withdrew from the United States team due to his wife being about to give birth. He was replaced by Mark Hayes.[37]
  • Voted the Bob Jones Award in 1987, the highest honor given by the United States Golf Association in recognition of distinguished sportsmanship in golf.
  • Inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1988.
  • Inducted into the Stanford Athletic Hall of Fame
  • Won 1992 GCSAA Old Tom Morris Award
  • Resigned from the Kansas City Country Club in 1991 in protest to its exclusion of people of Jewish ethnicity. He subsequently rejoined after the club's acceptance of Jewish and minority members.[38]
  • Became involved with golf course design in the early 1990s.
  • Author or co-authored several books, including Tom Watson's Strategic Golf. His latest, The Timeless Swing, was released by Atria books in March 2011.
  • Has written a golf instruction column in Golf Digest magazine since the mid-1970s.
  • Was ranked as the 10th greatest golfer of all time in the 2000 Golf Digest magazine list.[39]
  • Is, after Sam Snead, only the second Golf Professional Emeritus at The Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia
  • Is the oldest player to hold the lead after 54 holes at a major championship (2009 Open Championship at Turnberry, Scotland)
  • Is the oldest player to lead after any completed round at a major championship (2009 Open Championship at Turnberry, Scotland)
  • Is the oldest player to shoot under par at the Masters Tournament (2015 Masters Tournament)[40]
  • Granted a lifetime membership to the European Tour

Professional wins (71)

PGA Tour wins (39)

No. Date Tournament Winning score Margin of
Runner(s)-up Winnings ($)
1 Jun 30, 1974 Western Open +3 (72-71-75-69=287) 2 strokes J. C. Snead, Tom Weiskopf 40,000
2 May 12, 1975 Byron Nelson Golf Classic −19 (72-63-69-65=269) 2 strokes Bob E. Smith 35,000
3 Jul 12, 1975 The Open Championship −9 (71-67-69-72=279) Playoff Jack Newton 16,500
4 Jan 23, 1977 Bing Crosby National Pro-Am −15 (66-69-67-71=273) 1 stroke Tony Jacklin 40,000
5 Jan 30, 1977 Andy Williams-San Diego Open Invitational −19 (66-67-67-69=269) 5 strokes Larry Nelson, John Schroeder 36,000
6 Apr 10, 1977 Masters Tournament −12 (70-69-70-67=276) 2 strokes Jack Nicklaus 40,000
7 Jun 26, 1977 Western Open (2) −5 (70-69-75-69=283) 1 stroke Wally Armstrong, Johnny Miller 40,000
8 Jul 9, 1977 The Open Championship (2) −12 (68-70-65-65=268) 1 stroke Jack Nicklaus 17,000
9 Jan 8, 1978 Joe Garagiola-Tucson Open −14 (63-68-73-72=274) 3 strokes Bobby Wadkins 40,000
10 Jan 23, 1978 Bing Crosby National Pro-Am (2) −8 (66-74-71-69=280) Playoff Ben Crenshaw 45,000
11 May 7, 1978 Byron Nelson Golf Classic (2) −8 (69-67-70-66=272) 1 stroke Lee Trevino 40,000
12 Aug 27, 1978 Colgate Hall of Fame Classic −7 (72-67-67-71=277) 1 stroke Hale Irwin, Tom Kite,
Howard Twitty
13 Sep 24, 1978 Anheuser-Busch Golf Classic −18 (68-69-66-67=270) 3 strokes Ed Sneed 40,000
14 Apr 1, 1979 Sea Pines Heritage Classic −14 (65-65-69-71=270) 5 strokes Ed Sneed 54,000
15 Apr 22, 1979 MONY Tournament of Champions −13 (69-66-70-70=275) 6 strokes Bruce Lietzke, Jerry Pate 54,000
16 May 13, 1979 Byron Nelson Golf Classic (3) −5 (64-72-69-70=275) Playoff Bill Rogers 54,000
17 May 27, 1979 Memorial Tournament −14 (72-67-68-67=274) 3 strokes Miller Barber 54,000
18 Aug 26, 1979 Colgate Hall of Fame Classic (2) −12 (70-68-65-69=272) Playoff Johnny Miller 45,000
19 Jan 27, 1980 Andy Williams-San Diego Open Invitational (2) −13 (68-69-68-70=275) Playoff D. A. Weibring 45,000
20 Feb 24, 1980 Glen Campbell-Los Angeles Open −8 (69-66-70-71=276) 1 stroke Bob Gilder, Don January 45,000
21 Apr 20, 1980 MONY Tournament of Champions (2) −12 (65-66-72-73=276) 3 strokes Jim Colbert 54,000
22 Apr 27, 1980 Greater New Orleans Open −15 (66-68-66-73=273) 2 strokes Lee Trevino 45,000
23 May 11, 1980 Byron Nelson Golf Classic (4) −6 (64-70-69-71=274) 1 stroke Bill Rogers 54,000
24 Jul 20, 1980 The Open Championship (3) −13 (68-70-64-69=271) 4 strokes Lee Trevino 60,000
25 Aug 24, 1980 World Series of Golf −10 (65-75-65-65=270) 2 strokes Raymond Floyd 100,000
26 Apr 12, 1981 Masters Tournament (2) −8 (71-68-70-71=280) 2 strokes Johnny Miller, Jack Nicklaus 60,000
27 Apr 26, 1981 USF&G New Orleans Open −18 (69-69-64-68=270) 2 strokes Bruce Fleisher 63,000
28 Jun 7, 1981 Atlanta Classic −11 (68-70-68-71=277) Playoff Tommy Valentine 54,000
29 Feb 21, 1982 Glen Campbell-Los Angeles Open (2) −13 (69-67-68-67=271) Playoff Johnny Miller 54,000
30 Mar 28, 1982 Sea Pines Heritage −4 (69-68-72-71=280) Playoff Frank Conner 54,000
31 Jun 20, 1982 U.S. Open −6 (72-72-68-70=282) 2 strokes Jack Nicklaus 60,000
32 Jul 18, 1982 The Open Championship (4) −4 (69-71-74-70=284) 1 stroke Peter Oosterhuis, Nick Price 54,400
33 Jul 17, 1983 The Open Championship (5) −9 (67-68-70-70=275) 1 stroke Andy Bean, Hale Irwin 60,000
34 Jan 8, 1984 Seiko-Tucson Match Play Championship 2 & 1 Gil Morgan 100,000
35 May 6, 1984 MONY Tournament of Champions (3) −14 (69-71-67-67=274) 5 strokes Bruce Lietzke 72,000
36 Jul 8, 1984 Western Open (3) −8 (71-69-70-70=280) Playoff Greg Norman 72,000
37 Nov 1, 1987 Nabisco Championship −12 (65-66-69-68=268) 2 strokes Chip Beck 360,000
38 Jun 2, 1996 Memorial Tournament (2) −14 (70-68-66-70=274) 2 strokes David Duval 324,000
39 May 24, 1998 MasterCard Colonial −15 (68-66-65-66=265) 2 strokes Jim Furyk 414,000
PGA Tour playoff record (9–5)
No. Year Tournament Opponent(s) Result
1 1975 The Open Championship Jack Newton Won 18-hole playoff (Watson:71, Newton:72)
2 1978 Bing Crosby National Pro-Am Ben Crenshaw Won with par on second extra hole
3 1978 PGA Championship Jerry Pate, John Mahaffey Mahaffey won with birdie on second extra hole
4 1979 Masters Tournament Ed Sneed, Fuzzy Zoeller Zoeller won with birdie on second extra hole
5 1979 Byron Nelson Golf Classic Bill Rogers Won with birdie on first extra hole
6 1979 Colgate Hall of Fame Classic Johnny Miller Won with par on second extra hole
7 1980 Andy Williams-San Diego Open Invitational D. A. Weibring Won with par on first extra hole
8 1981 Byron Nelson Golf Classic Bruce Lietzke Lost to par on first extra hole
9 1981 Atlanta Classic Tommy Valentine Won with par on third extra hole
10 1982 Glen Campbell-Los Angeles Open Johnny Miller Won with birdie on third extra hole
11 1982 Sea Pines Heritage Classic Frank Conner Won with par on third extra hole
12 1984 Western Open Greg Norman Won with birdie on third extra hole
13 1988 NEC World Series of Golf Mike Reid Lost to par on first extra hole
14 2009 The Open Championship Stewart Cink Lost four-hole playoff, −2 to +4

Japan Golf Tour wins (4)

Other wins (4)

Champions Tour wins (14)

Senior major championships (6)
Other Champions Tour (8)
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 The Senior Open Championship −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 The Senior Open Championship (2) −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 The Senior Open Championship (3) E (70-71-70-73=284) 1 stroke Stewart Ginn, Mark O'Meara
11 Apr 20, 2008 Outback Steakhouse Pro-Am (2) −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
13 Jan 24, 2010 Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai −22 (63-66-65=194) 1 stroke Fred Couples
14 May 29, 2011 Senior PGA Championship (2) −10 (70-70-68-70=278) Playoff David Eger
Champions Tour playoff record (3–8)
No. Year Tournament Opponent(s) Result
1 2000 Boone Valley Classic José Maria Cañizares, Walter Hall
Lanny Wadkins
Wadkins won with par on third extra hole
Hall and Watson eliminated with par on first hole
2 2000 The Countrywide Tradition Tom Kite, Larry Nelson Kite won with birdie on sixth extra hole
Nelson eliminated with par on second hole
3 2002 SBC Senior Classic Tom Kite Lost to par on second extra hole
4 2002 U.S. Senior Open Don Pooley Lost to birdie on fifth extra hole after 3-hole playoff (Pooley:12, Watson:12)
5 2003 Kinko's Classic of Austin Hale Irwin Lost to birdie on second extra hole
6 2003 The Senior Open Championship Carl Mason Won with par on second extra hole
7 2004 ACE Group Classic Gary Koch, Craig Stadler Stadler won with birdie on second extra hole
8 2005 MasterCard Championship Dana Quigley Lost to par on third extra hole
9 2005 Bayer Advantage Classic Dana Quigley Quigley won with birdie on first extra hole
10 2005 The Senior Open Championship Des Smyth Won with par on third extra hole
11 2011 Senior PGA Championship David Eger Won with birdie on first extra hole

Other senior wins (10)

Major championships

Wins (8)

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 Masters Tournament 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 Masters Tournament (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)

Results timeline

Tournament 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979
Masters Tournament CUT DNP DNP DNP DNP T8 T33 1 T2 T2
U.S. Open DNP DNP T29 CUT T5 T9 7 T7 T6 CUT
The Open Championship DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP 1 CUT 1 T14 T26
PGA Championship DNP DNP DNP T12 T11 9 T15 T6 2 T12
Tournament 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989
Masters Tournament T12 1 T5 T4 2 T10 T6 T7 T9 T14
U.S. Open T3 T23 1 2 T11 CUT T24 2 T36 T46
The Open Championship 1 T23 1 1 T2 T47 T35 7 T28 4
PGA Championship T10 CUT T9 T47 T39 T6 T16 T14 T31 T9
Tournament 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999
Masters Tournament T7 T3 T48 T45 13 T14 CUT 4 CUT CUT
U.S. Open CUT T16 CUT T5 T6 T56 T13 64 CUT T57
The Open Championship CUT T26 CUT CUT T11 T31 DNP T10 CUT CUT
PGA Championship T19 CUT T62 5 T9 T58 T17 CUT CUT CUT
Tournament 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
The Open Championship T55 CUT CUT T18 DNP T41 T48 DNP CUT 2
Tournament 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Masters Tournament T18 CUT CUT CUT CUT CUT
The Open Championship CUT T22 T77 CUT T51 CUT

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.


Tournament Wins 2nd 3rd Top-5 Top-10 Top-25 Events Cuts made
Masters Tournament 2 3 1 9 15 20 42 24
U.S. Open 1 2 1 6 11 16 31 25
The Open Championship 5 2 0 8 10 15 38 26
PGA Championship 0 1 0 2 10 18 33 25
Totals 8 8 2 25 46 69 144 100
  • Most consecutive cuts made – 19 (1985 Open Championship – 1990 Masters)
  • Longest streak of top-10s – 7 (1982 Masters – 1983 Open Championship)

Senior major championships

Wins (6)

Year Championship 54 holes Winning score Margin Runner(s)-up
2001 Senior PGA Championship Tied for lead −14 (72-69-66-67=274) 1 stroke Jim Thorpe
2003 The Senior Open Championship 3 shot deficit −17 (66-67-66-64=263) Playoff 1 Carl Mason
2003 JELD-WEN Tradition 1 shot deficit −15 (68-62-73-70=273) 1 stroke Gil Morgan
2005 The Senior Open Championship (2) 1 shot lead −4 (75-71-64-70=280) Playoff 2 Des Smyth
2007 The Senior Open Championship (3) 1 shot deficit E (70-71-70-73=284) 1 stroke Stewart Ginn, Mark O'Meara
2011 Senior PGA Championship (2) 1 shot deficit −10 (70-70-68-70=278) Playoff 3 David Eger

1 Defeated Mason in a playoff with par at the second extra hole.
2 Defeated Smyth in a playoff with par at the third extra hole.
3 Defeated Eger in a playoff with birdie at the first extra hole.

Results timeline

Results not in chronological order before 2014.

Tournament 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
The Tradition 2 DNP 5 1 T55 T9 T14 T6 T3 T5
Senior PGA Championship T17 1 T18 T17 T4 T27 T23 T52 T16 4
Senior Players Championship T18 T8 DNP T2 DNP T3 T17 2 DNP 2
U.S. Senior Open T10 T16 2 2 T25 T5 2 4 T23 T43
The Senior Open Championship 1 T22 1 T23 1 T5 T8
Tournament 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
The Tradition T15 T32 DNP DNP T6 T13
Senior PGA Championship T18 1 DNP T28 2 DNP
Senior Players Championship 66 T28 T20 T27 DNP DNP
U.S. Senior Open 5 DNP T22 T23 DNP T7
The Senior Open Championship T24 T3 T10 T36 T10 T15

Note: 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.

Golf courses designed

Tom Watson Parkway at the National Golf Club in Parkville

Watson is a member of the American Society of Golf Course Architects and has designed golf courses through his Tom Watson Design company in Kansas.[41]

See also


  1. ^ "69 Players Who Have Reached The Top-10 In World Ranking" (PDF). Retrieved January 4, 2013. 
  2. ^ "1977 Tom Watson". The Open. Retrieved October 26, 2013. 
  3. ^ "Tom Watson returns as Ryder Cup captain".  
  4. ^ "Missouri Golf Association Amateur – Record of Champions" (PDF). Retrieved January 4, 2013. 
  5. ^  
  6. ^  
  7. ^  
  8. ^ "Tom Watson Wins Western Open As Tom Weiskopf's Game Collapses".  
  9. ^ "Modest Watson joins the great Ben Hogan".  
  10. ^ "Facts and Figures – The 141st Open Championship 2012". PGA European Tour. Retrieved January 4, 2013. 
  11. ^ "Player wins Masters from 7 back".  
  12. ^ "1978: Never count a golfer out". PGA of America. Retrieved January 4, 2013. 
  13. ^ "Watson wins Heritage, confident for Masters".  
  14. ^ "Top 10 Finishes". PGA Tour. Retrieved January 4, 2013. 
  15. ^ "Watson Wins World Golf Series".  
  16. ^ "Webb Simpson could miss British Open as he awaits birth of his second child". PGA of America. Retrieved December 29, 2012. 
  17. ^ "Watson Captures 4th British Title".  
  18. ^ Anderson, Dave (June 21, 1983). "The 17th hole gets even with Watson".  
  19. ^ "Watson wins fifth British".  
  20. ^ "Ballesteros Wins Open With Final-Hole Birdie".  
  21. ^ a b "Money Leaders". PGA Tour. Retrieved January 4, 2013. 
  22. ^ "Pavin Captures Hawaiian Open".  
  23. ^ McGrath, John (June 11, 2012). "The Olympic Club an exclusive graveyard".  
  24. ^ "Simpson wins U.S. Open for first major golf title". The Daily News ( 
  25. ^ Dias, Roberto (August 29, 1988). "Reid Beats Watson In Sudden Death: Earns $162,000 At World Series Of Golf". Deseret News. Retrieved December 29, 2012. 
  26. ^ Diaz, Jaime (April 15, 1991). "Woosnam Wins On 18th Green".  
  27. ^ Apfelbaum, Jim, ed. (2007). The Gigantic Book of Golf Quotations. Skyhorse Publishing.  
  28. ^ "Legend Watson shines at Turnberry".  
  29. ^ Reason, Mark (July 18, 2009). "The Open 2009: Tom Watson edges closer to fulfilling the impossible dream".  
  30. ^ Gallagher, Brendan (July 20, 2009). "The Open 2009: timeline from Turnberry".  
  31. ^ McLean, Euan (May 15, 2012). "Tom Watson can't wait for Turnberry return in Senior Open as he looks to exorcise agony of 2009".  
  32. ^ Feinstein, John (2004). Caddy for Life: The Bruce Edwards Story. New York: Little, Brown and Company. 
  33. ^ Lenobel, Hal (April 30, 2011). "Golf is the Last Honest Game". Longboat Key News ( 
  34. ^ Berlet, Bruce (April 9, 1992). "Woosnam In Search Of His Winning Form".  
  35. ^ MacGinty, Karl (February 4, 2010). "Tom Watson on warpath over Padraig Harrington and Tiger Woods".  
  36. ^ Davey, Neil. "Tom Watson - Saga talks to golf's Mr Nice Guy". Retrieved January 4, 2013. 
  37. ^ Watson out of Cup
  38. ^ Race & Ethnic Relations, 7th edition, Marger 2006
  39. ^ Yocom, Guy (July 2000). "50 Greatest Golfers of All Time: And What They Taught Us".  
  40. ^ Ballengee, Ryan (April 9, 2015). "Tom Watson shoots 71, becomes oldest to break par at the Masters".  
  41. ^ press release

External links

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