Altvater: Tom Watson Honoree at Memorial TournamentWritten by Fred Altvater | | BackNine@toledofreepress.com
Jack Nicklaus honored one of his old playmates on Wednesday at the Memorial Golf tournament.
Tom Watson and Jack Nicklaus had some very tense battles on the golf course throughout their careers.
The 1977 Open Championship at Turnberry will forever be known as the “Duel in the Sun.” Nicklaus and Watson battled all four days through the gorse and over the heath in Scotland.
The 1982 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach again came down to a Nicklaus-Watson confrontation on the final day with Tom making that famous chip-in on the 71st hole at the par-3 No. 17 while Jack was waiting in the clubhouse to pick up the trophy.
Tom Watson won five Open championships, two Masters’ green jackets, and one U.S. Open Championship. He won 39 PGA Tour events and 14 Champions Tour events.
He was the leading money winner on the PGA Tour five times and was named PGA Player of the Year five times.
He won the Vardon Trophy three times and was enshrined into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1988.
Nearly as important as all of these accomplishments, he provided a worthy opponent for Jack Nicklaus in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
Watson learned the game at the feet of Byron Nelson and has been a true gentleman and ambassador for the game of golf for many years.
He even tried to pull off the unthinkable and win a sixth Open Championship at the ripe old age of 59.
Tom Watson has had a remarkable golf career.
It is only proper that he is the 2012 Memorial Tournament Honoree.
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