Of all the players who challenged Jack Nicklaus’ supremacy, Tom Watson carved out the greatest legacy.
Watson has won 39 events on the PGA TOUR, including two Masters and a U.S. Open and a remarkable five Open Championships.
Beginning in 1977, Watson won six PGA TOUR Player of the Year awards, and he led the money list five times. Yet it was his head-to-head victories against Nicklaus, 10 years his senior, that cemented him as a player for the ages.
The first came at the 1977 Masters where Watson countered Nicklaus’ fourth-round charge with four birdies on the closing six holes to win by two. Four months later in the Open Championship at Turnberry, the two engaged in the most intense and highest caliber sustained battle in the history of major championship golf. Tied after 36 holes, they were paired together in the final two rounds. Nicklaus shot 65-66, only to be beaten by Watson’s 65-65.