Golfing legacies: Tom Watson

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For golf fans, nothing matters quite as much as the golf money lines. But, great golf players matter more. It is super important to fans that they get to see their favorite players in action, and watching them win is super exciting and rewarding. 

For many, one of the best players was always known to be Tom Watson. Sure, his name may not be as widely known as Tiger Woods or Jack Nicklaus, but Watson was a great player, and he had a unique career in golf.

Fans of Tom Watson know his legacy, but if you are not well versed in who he is, or are perhaps a new golfing fan, stick around and let us tell you all there is to know about Tom Watson and the golf legacy he left behind! 

His 2016 Masters

Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Ben Hogan, Gary Player, and Walter Hagen, are five names belonging to the only golfers in history to have won more of the currently determined championships than Tom Watson, who in 2016 was completing his final and 43rd Masters. 

It was his 145th appearance, and his last in any of the games’ 4 most highly regarded events, of which he won a total of 8, which is 1 more than Gene Sarazen, Arnold Palmer, and Sam Snead. 

Ahead of his last drive down Magnolia Lane as a competitor, there was little attention or fanfare around the 66-year-old’s swansong, all the way from when he played his first tournament as an amateur in 1970. 

However, this was probably to his preference.

His Unassuming Approach To Golf

Watson was unashamedly old-fashioned, in his demeanor and his outlook. The on-course personality of the Kansas native has always been understated as well as cordial. He just gets on with the game, no ‘faffing-about’.

He gets on with it at a brisk pace and leaves all the fuss to everyone else, the stars of today could certainly learn a thing or two from him! 

However, he was also a lot unlike many of the great players of the past, who have always been treated reverentially, beyond excess, as Watson’s legacy with the game and the fans has been rather complex. 

Finding himself to be the leader of a generation which was bridging the gap between the ‘Big Three’ and the stars that emerged in the 80s, the shadow of Nicklaus and Palmer hung over his career, especially in the US. 

Watson was in the right place, but at the wrong time. 

He lacked the warmth and charisma that was more closely associated with a majority of his contemporaries and those who came before him and after him. So, he has been characterized as being widely respected, but also beloved, despite this. 

He was sure enough to make golf news, though. 

His outspokenness of Tiger Woods’ conduct, and even the letter he wrote to the Augusta National in protest of the commentary of CBS’s Gary McCord at Augusta in ‘94 indicated inherent piousness that has spilled over into sanctimony. 

This has been the somewhat unattractive side and has reared its head in a public way. 

However, his unrelenting respect is the best of him. Fans in the UK, where he won 5 Open Championships, have always admired his unassuming approach to golf and playing it at the highest level. Stoicism in the face of adversity, per se. 

There was also the time when he supported Woosnam from a boisterous crowd in ‘91, despite going head-to-head with him in the final pairing at the Masters. He did not have to do this, but he did, and it was the right thing to do. 

He was labeled as a choker who was unable to handle final-round pressure early on in his career, but he did not complain loudly at these presumptions, however, instead he just worked hard to correct them. 

He didn’t make a fuss, and just quietly won the Masters and the Open in ‘77 instead. 

A Brief History

In 8 years, he claimed 33 titles on his PGA Tour, including 7 majors! He was comfortably established as being a dominant player, with the Europeans yet to make their charge, spearheaded by Seve Ballesteros, edging ahead of him to win the Open at St. Andrews in ‘84, and with Nicklaus on the wane. 

In retrospect, it now appeared that 1984 was something of a watershed moment for him, denying him 3 Claret Jugs, and equalling Vardon’s record of 6 in the game’s oldest major. 

His putting failed him, and he botched only one more win through 12 years. However, he soldiered on, in love with the game, and determined to get better. 

These are the aspects of Watson that are the easiest to like and have been a consistent feature in him. However, as time went on he was not always appreciated at the level he should’ve been.

To Conclude

Watson was not a show-boating golfer, he was a respectable man and player, which is probably why he is not as well known as some others, he didn’t create a fuss, instead, he did his best, played well, and maintained a respectable demeanor.


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