by Jeff Skinner
Tom Watson and the rest of the seniors are back on the hallowed links of Turnberry this week for the Senior British Open. This is the scene of one of Watson’s greatest victories and at the same time the place with the most bittersweet memory of all.
It was here that Watson battled with Jack Nicklaus in the ‘Duel in the Sun’ and it was here in 2009 that he was two shots from winning his sixth Open Championship at the astonishing age of 59.
Watson cherishes all his memories at Turnberry, bitter and sweet. “This is a very special place for me,” Watson said. “Obviously, the premier of many of my memories is the Duel in the Sun, when I just edged out the greatest player who ever played the game. I believed in myself after that.”
Watson has been honored by a plaque on the eighteenth hole to commemorate the seven iron shot that he hit to two feet to beat Nicklaus in 1977. “Unveiling the plaque is very special. I remember hitting the shot, which meant so much to me and so many other people.”
Watson is an adopted son of Scotland as they welcome him as one of their own. Few golfers can play a links game like Watson and he’ll have a good chance at winning his fourth Senior British Open Championship.
Watson has to have some mixed feelings about that eighteenth hole. It gave him one of his greatest wins and with one hard bounce it took from him the greatest win in golf history.
Watson’s a better man than I am because I can’t think of Turnberry without the pain we all felt when his quest for his sixth Open Championship fell short.