Tom Watson, born on Sep.4, 1949, is an American pro golfer who currently competes on the Champions tour. He was introduced to golf by his father, who also played the sport and quickly rose to local recognition by winning championships while attending high school at the Pembroke County Day School. He was also the winner of four consecutive Missouri State Amateur Championships, from 1968 to 1971 prior to turning pro in 1971.
Watson joined the PGA in 1971 and competed in his first major championship at the Winged Foot Golf Club, where he took the lead after three rounds. However, the event ended with Watson failing to take the final round. He was approached by golfing legend Byron Nelson soon after the event, and Nelson eventually became his mentor and helped him improve his swing. Watson won his first title at the 1974 Western Open and followed this victory with a couple more PGA tour victories in 1977 and 1981. He also bagged another victory at the 1982 US Open and won in the British Open for a total of five times (1975, 1977, 1980, 1982, 1983).
His 1977 duel with Jack Nicklaus, another golfing great, is considered by most fans as one of the best matches to date, with Nicklaus shooting 66-66 over the final rounds and Watson 66-65 to win by one stroke. He repeated this performance by defeating Nicklaus in the 1982 US Open at Pebble Beach with the famous 17 hole chip-in, regarded as one of the greatest shots in the history of the sport.
Considered one of the major players in the PGA, Watson led the PGA in wins for six years, in the money list for five and in scoring for three years. He was also awarded PGA Player of the Year six times. He was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1988 and won his final victory on the PGA a decade later, in 1998 before joining the Champions Tour in 1999. He became the Player of the Year in 2003, the same year when longtime friend and caddy Bruce Edwards was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease. Watson helped co-found Driving4Life, a foundation for those who suffer from ALS, and used his popularity in golf to drive more attention to the fight against the fatal disease. Edwards eventually succumbed to the disease in 2004.
Watson currently resides in Stilwell, Kansas with his wife, children and step-children.
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