Tom Watson Set To Play Final Masters

    Eight-time major champion Tom Watson will make the 80th Masters his final appearance as a playing competitor at Augusta National. It will mark Watson’s 43rd appearance as a competitor at the Masters.

    The 66-year old Watson won this tournament in 1977, holding off a spirited charge from Jack Nicklaus who birdied 7 of the first 15 holes in the final round to draw even with Watson. Watson then holed a 20-foot birdie putt at 17 and a Nicklaus bogey at the last hole gave Watson a two-shot victory. Watson also wore the Green Jacket in 1981, again holding off Nicklaus and Johnny Miller by two shots.

    He finished runner-up at Augusta National in 1978, 1979 and 1984, where he lost by two-strokes to two-time Masters Champion Ben Crenshaw.

    Watson won the last of his 8 major championships when he was only 33 years old at the 1983 Open Championship. Watson, however, was far from finished and continued to contend in major championships far beyond the age of most major champions.

    In 1997, Watson finished 4th at the Masters as a 47-year old. In 2003, Watson shot 67 in round one of the U.S. Open as a 53-year old. In 2010, Watson, then 60, shot a 67 in the opening round. This effort followed his historic run at the Open Championship the year before when he came within a single shot of claiming his 9th major, and sixth Open Championship at age 59. If Watson had held on that day, he would have shattered Julius Boros’ record for oldest major champion by more than a dozen years. Watson made more history last year at Augusta, opening Thursday play with a round of one under par 71 at age 65. Watson also has won six senior majors during his limited tour schedule on the Champions Tour. Watson also was a six-time PGA Player of the Year winner.

    Watson’s Augusta start may well be his last major championship appearance. He played in his final Open Championship in 2015 at St. Andrew’s, one of his favorite courses and the site of his final major triumph in 1983.