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BIRTHDATE: Sept. 4, 1949
BIRTHPLACE: Kansas City, Missouri
NICKNAME: Early in his career, Watson was tabbed "Huckleberry Dillinger." The unusual monicker stemmed from the young Watson's innocent-looking freckled face that didn't match his killer instinct on the course.



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Tom Watson - Born Missouri, USA, Watson is one of the greatest players of the modern era with 8 victories in the Majors.

Watson was introduced to golf relatively late in life when he studied psychology at Stanford University. In fact, he proved so good that he qualified for the university's golf team. After his graduation, he turned professional in 1971.

In the early years of his career, Watson seemed to loose his nerve when it became possible for him to actually win a tournament. Whether true or not, the media played on it and earned Watson an 'also ran' reputation. Bryon Nelson approached Watson after a tournament and offered his assistance.

Watson began working with Byron Nelson, who would become a great friend and mentor, and in 1974 broke through with his first PGA Tour victory. In 1975, he won the Byron Nelson Classic, then his first British Open title. Watson was off and running.

Watson won the first of his five Open titles in 1975. His dedication to the Open has earned him enormous respect in the United Kingdom especially as so many Americans see world golf as beginning and ending on the US shoreline. By 1977, the years he won his first US Masters, Watson became leading money winner and the greatest challenge to Jack Nicklaus.

In the period of time between Jack Nicklaus' peak and Tiger Woods' peak, Watson was head-and-shoulders above any other golfer in the world.

Watson stood up to Nicklaus on numerous occasions, one of the few golfers who consistently went toe-to-toe with Nicklaus and came out on top.

Their duel at the 1977 British Open - where Nicklaus shot 66-66 over the final two rounds, while Watson shot 66-65 to win by one - is one of the greatest head-to-head battles the sport has ever seen. Watson robbed Nicklaus of another major at the 1982 U.S. Open with his famous chip-in on the 17th hole at Pebble Beach.

T hese were golden years for Watson. He was 5 times leading money winner, 6 times US PGA Player of the Year. He won the US Open in 1983. He was awarded the Vardon trophy 3 times and in 1986 was awarded the Bobby Jones Award. However the US PGA always eluded with a second place his best finish. Watson had a genuine affinity for the sporting element of golf and although financially successful, he did not always chase the buck.

Tom Watson was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1988.

Watson basically retired in 1991. His magnificent victories earned through perseverance and determination, set an example us to all. While he has perhaps not earned the popularity that he deserves, his place in golf's history is assured.

Tour Victories
• PGA Tour: 39
• Senior PGA Tour: 6

Major Championships
• Masters: 1977, 1981
• U.S. Open: 1982
• British Open: 1975, 1977, 1980, 1982, 1983

Awards and Honors
• Member, World Golf Hall of Fame
• PGA Tour money leader five times
• PGA Tour Vardon Trophy winner three times
• PGA Tour Player of the Year six times

• Tom Watson: "A lot of guys who have never choked have never been in the position to do so."

• Tom Watson: "If you want to increase your success rate, double your failure rate."

• Tom Watson: "I learned how to win by losing and not liking it."

• Lanny Wadkins: "Tom would never tolerate a weakness. He'd go to the practice tee and beat at it until the darn thing went away."

In 1999, Tom Watson was made an honorary member of the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews. He joined four other Americans to receive that honor: Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, President George H.W. Bush and Gene Sarazen.


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