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Historic first for Tom Watson at Masters

Historic first for Tom Watson at Masters

Tom Watson by no means thought eight main championships, together with two inexperienced jackets, can be sufficient to affix the corporate of Gary Participant and Jack Nicklaus on the primary tee at Augusta Nationwide.

Even at 72, greater than a half-century after he made his method down Magnolia Lane for the primary time as an newbie, Watson stays considerably in awe of the legends he spent many years chasing.

“I have a look at these outdated goats proper right here, I can not carry their sneakers,” Watson mentioned on Thursday morning, shortly after becoming a member of Participant and Nicklaus as an honorary starter on the Masters for the primary time.

“I do not sort of belong in the identical realm as these two gamers right here.”

Membership chairman Fred Ridley disagreed. The invitation he prolonged to Watson to turn out to be the eleventh honorary starter for the reason that custom started in 1962 included the availability that the 72-year-old Watson might hit away so long as he appreciated.

“Wow!” Watson mentioned. “That meant a fantastic deal to me.”

Even when it meant getting into one other part of his {golfing} life.

It is a part that 1977 and 1981 champ Watson, who practically pulled off a stunner within the 2009 British Open in Turnberry at age 58 earlier than in the end shedding to Stewart Cink in a playoff, way back got here to phrases with.

“I assume it is a end result of sort of the method,” he mentioned. “I had a fairly good profession. Not like (Participant and Nicklaus), however I had a fairly good profession. Simply sort of the end result of it.”

Watson took over the honour for Lee Elder, the primary Black participant on the Masters who died final fall.

Watson, with 72 subsequent to his title on the standard-bearer on the first tee, took a second earlier than teeing off and regarded how issues have come full circle.

He’d made it a degree from the time he made his Masters debut as a 20-year-old newbie in 1970 to seek out his approach to the primary tee field early Thursday morning by means of the years to catch the lads who helped outline the game.

Freddy McLeod and Jock Hutchison. Sam Snead and Byron Nelson. Gene Sarazen and Arnold Palmer. Participant and Nicklaus …. and now, Watson.

“I am very humbled to be part of it,” Watson mentioned.

Effectively, up to a degree anyway. Watson could not assist however have a bit enjoyable when he, Participant and Nicklaus had been requested who put collectively the longest drive.

“Oh, come on,” mentioned Watson, who’s significantly youthful than the 82-year-old Nicklaus and the 86-year-old Participant.

Whereas Nicklaus admitted he was the shortest, by his estimate “Gary and Tom had been fairly shut in all probability.”

A guesstimate that did not sit effectively with Nicklaus’ rival-turned-friend.

“Oh, I bought (Participant) by 50 (yards)!” Watson mentioned with amusing.

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