Tom Watson was a Stanford letter winner in 1969, 1970 & 1971. He was a 2nd team All-American in 1969, 1970 & 1971. He is a member of both the Stanford and World Golf Halls of Fame.
He has won eight PGA Tour major events, including five British Opens, two Masters, and one US Open. In 2003, Tom received the Payne Stewart Award from the PGA Tour.
Some consider him to be the greatest British Open winner of all time.
In the 1971 Media Guide, Coach Bud Finger said this about Tom – “Tom Watson, a nationally recognized player who competed in the 1970 Masters, is one of the outstanding amateurs in the United States. Watson, a two-time Missouri State Amateur Champion, finished in a tie for 5th in last year’s NCAA Championships.”
In the 1972 Media Guide it summarized “With Tom Watson leading the way throughout, Stanford started quickly in the Pac-8 Championships to finish 3rd. Watson finished 7th in the tournament.
“Just a month later in Tucson, it was Watson again leading the Indians, as Stanford finished 8th in the NCAA Championships. The senior from Kansas City fashioned a 4-under par 284 to finish 6th in the race for the individual title.”
For many years, Tom would return to Stanford and graciously sponsor a highly popular tournament in his honour to benefit the golf programme and Stanford University.
This annual Watson event was a favourite among fellow professionals, Stanford alums, past players, and Silicon Valley business leaders.
Tom Watson left the greatest legacy of any player who challenged Jack Nicklaus’ dominance.
Watson has won 39 PGA TOUR events, including two Masters, a US Open, and an incredible five British Opens.
Watson won six PGA TOUR Player of the Year titles beginning in 1977, and he led the money list five times. But it was his triumphs over Nicklaus, who was ten years his senior, that confirmed him as a player for the ages.
The first occurred at the 1977 Masters, when Watson held off Nicklaus’ fourth-round surge with four birdies on the final six holes to win by two strokes.
Four months later in the British Open at Turnberry, the two engaged in the most intense and highest caliber sustained battle in the history of major championship golf.
It was that tight on the golf leaderboard!
They were tied after 36 holes and were paired together for the final two rounds. Nicklaus shot 65-66, but Watson beat him with a 65-65.
Then, in 1982, Nicklaus led down the stretch at Pebble Beach on his way to a record sixth U.S. Open.
Watson counterattacked once more, eventually pitching in for a birdie from thick rough off the 17th hole in one of the most remarkable shots ever seen.
He had won by two strokes when he birdied the 72nd hole, giving him his sole U.S. Open victory.