Tom Watson relives his Open victories
Five time Champion Golfer of the Year Tom Watson spoke exclusively with TheOpen.com, reliving his greatest memories of our historic Championship.
• Watson won The Claret jug five times between 1975 and 1983
• The American won his first Open at Carnoustie in 1975.
• His 1977 ‘Duel in the sun’ with Jack Nicklaus is widely regarded as one of the greatest ever Open moments.
The first Claret Jug 1975 - Carnoustie
I remember coming over to Carnoustie the first time, and seeing the golf course. It was burnt up, not a lot of rough.”
"Fortunately for me I played a good back nine on the last day. I still bogeyed the 16th hole for the fourth time in a row, but I hung in there close enough to tie for the lead and won in a play-off with Jack Newton the next day”
The Duel in the sun 1977 – Turnberry
Arguably the greatest Open moment ever, as a young Tom Watson took on the great Jack Nicklaus down the links of Turnberry
"1977 was certainly one of my favourite wins in my career without a doubt.”
"You Know that you’ve got a most worthy opponent out there and the best opponent in Jack Nicklaus when you went out to play. I always looked up to Jack and still do for what he has accomplished in the game, the way he treats people and the way he played the game”
Love of the links 1980 – Muirfield
Watson was not the biggest fan of links golf in the early part of his career, despite his Open successes. However, by the time he won at Muirfield in 1980 he had come to accept the nuances of links golf.
"I was always fighting it, I had an anger that the luck of the bounce played too much of a part in it, but I forgot about those shots which weren’t well played that got lucky bounces, and finally I realised that it does even out”
Number four 1982 – Royal Troon
An eagle at the 11th hole in the final round propelled Watson past Nick Price to claim his fourth Claret Jug on a firm and fast Royal Troon course.
"When you play golf you do the best you can with every shot. You have to play each shot which sets up the next shot, and the next. That’s how I play the game and I still play that way now.”
A place in history 1983 - Royal Birkdale
Watson tamed a windy Royal Birkdale on his way to his fifth Open Championship.
"I knew that Harry Vardon had won six and Peter Thompson had won five. I knew the history but you don’t play the last round of a Championship thinking about that. Only afterwards it was a luxury I was able to think about”
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