Born: 4 September 1949
Birthplace: Kansas City, Missouri
Best known as: The golfer who beat Jack Nicklaus in the 1977 British Open
Tom Watson won eight major tournaments in the 1970s and early 1980s, becoming a chief rival to Jack Nicklaus and one of the greatest golfers of that era. Watson graduated from Stanford University in 1971 with a degree in psychology, and turned pro the same year. In 1974 he won his first professional tournament, the Western Open, and the next year he won the British Open to claim his first major championship. Watson won eight majors in all during in his career: the British Open in 1975, 1977, 1980, 1982 and 1983; the US Open in 1982; and The Masters in 1977 and 1981. His head-to-head duel with Nicklaus in the final two rounds of the 1977 British Open at Turnberry, Scotland is famous: after both men shot 65 on Saturday, Watson shot a final-round 65 on Sunday to beat Nicklaus by a single stroke. (The match is called "The Duel in the Sun" for the unseasonably nice weekend weather.) Five years later he beat Nicklaus again in the US Open after sinking a remarkable chip on the 17th hole at Pebble Beach. At age 59, Watson made an amazing charge at the British Open of 2009: he led most of the way and was tied for the lead after 72 holes, but lost to Stewart Cink in a four-hole playoff. Watson was named to the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1988.
Extra credit: Watson is 5'9" tall, according to PGA.com... His closest finish in the PGA Championship was 1978, when he finished second... Watson's longtime caddy, Bruce Edwards, died of ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease) in 2004; his illness was widely publicized and Watson has been an advocate for ALS research since then... Watson had his left hip replaced in 2008.
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