Tom Watson (1949 - )
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. Within a short period of time, Watson improved his swing and was rewarded with victory in the 1974 Western Open.
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.
These 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.
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.