• Tom Watson brings the curtain down on his Open career
• The five-time winner has played in 38 championships
• "The fans' applause made me feel very humble"
TOM WATSON | THE OPEN
Just before 10pm on Friday evening, Tom Watson holed one last putt to bring to an end a glittering Open Championship career.
The five-time winner of the Claret Jug, playing 40 years after his maiden victory at Carnoustie, saluted fans who had hung around by the 18th green to catch a glimpse of him before telling the media: “It’s been one heck of a ride!”
Watson never won an Open at St. Andrews – he finished runner-up in 1994 – but took it all in as he crossed the Swilcan Bridge for one last time, posing for pictures with playing partners Ernie Els and Brandt Snedeker and with his son and caddie Michael.
"I told my son, I said: ‘Michael, there should be no tears'" - Tom Watson
“I told my son, I said: ‘Michael, there should be no tears, this should be all joy. There have been lots of wonderful memories we've had, we've shared here,’” Tom Watson said afterwards.
But there might have been tears for a very different reason as Watson could’ve been denied the chance to finish his round on Friday due to darkness. A three-hour early morning rain delay pushed tee times back and there was a huge possibility that he’d be bringing the curtain down at 7am on Saturday morning had it not been for Els and Snedeker.
“I told them, ‘You're both in the tournament right here. Whatever you want to do, you do. I'm not in the tournament,’” said Watson. “The official came up to us and said, ‘Do you want to finish?’ and Brandt said, ‘Yeah, we'll finish.’”
And flanked by his wife and children as he arrived in the media centre, Watson paid a final tribute to the fans that have supported him throughout his career.
“The fans were so appreciative and their applause made me feel very humble,” he said. “I hope that over my career, as I said earlier on in my life here, at the end of my career, if I could entertain fans with great golf shots, that’s what I was out there to do.”
Tom Watson :: Open legend
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