• Watson will play at Augusta National for the final time this week
• "I can't compete with the kids anymore," said the 66-year-old
TOM WATSON | JACK NICKLAUS | THE MASTERS
Jack Nicklaus has hailed Tom Watson as ‘one of the best players to ever play the game’ as he prepares to play in his final Masters.
Two of Watson’s eight major titles have come at Augusta National and with 15 top tens – 13 of which were in a 15-year span – in his Masters career, 18-time major winner was quick to pay tribute.
“I think Tom's legacy at Augusta is very firm,” said Nicklaus. “I'd put him in one of the best five or six players that ever played the game, and certainly winning here and the way he won at the British, he dominated the British Open for many years and being there, the way he played, won five times.
"He was going to get some place and didn't matter who was in his way" - Jack Nicklaus
“I remember the first time he looked at me like a kid with blinders on. He was going to get some place and didn't matter who was in his way or what was there, he was going to get there. That's the way he played.”
And Watson, now 66, admits that he has fallen to defeat in his bid to keep challenging around Augusta – as evidenced by missing the cut all but three times since 1996.
“You look in my toolbox,” he said. “I have a tape measure and that tape measure used to extend out to 265 yards carry off the tee. And now it doesn't do that anymore. It's 250 yards off the tee.
“When you see these kids play out here, and see them carry the ball 280 and 290 yards off the tee, it's time to say I can't compete with them. And I haven't been able to really honestly compete with them for several years.”
Watson backs Rory for glory
While many players and pundits alike are struggling to select a winner this week, Watson is in no doubt who he thinks will be slipping on the Green Jacket on Sunday night.
“Rory’s my pick this week – he’s the guy,” said Watson. “He’s won four major championships, he’s got a tremendous talent, he hits the ball high and it’s always been an advantage to hit it high on this golf course. He can emasculate a golf course – look how good he did at Congressional.”
Tom Watson :: Final Masters appearance
Share your Masters memories of Tom Watson in the ‘Comments’ section below. And do you agree that Rory is the man to beat this week?