Watson, the most prolific victor of golf’s oldest championship in the last century, finished his 129th round with lights from the Royal & Ancient clubhouse illuminating the 18th green. Several thousand people hung around for the end, saluting the five-time Open champion with raucous cheers and a chant of “hip, hip, hooray!” In his first and only U.S. Open win, win, he made a chip shot from the greenside rough on the 71st hole for a birdie followed by another birdie on the 18th hole and to clinch the victory and once again, Jack Nicklaus found himself runner up behind Watson.
“The last few years at the Open has been some of my favorite golf”, Scott said.
According to Yahoo Sports, on the 18th tee, Watson approached his son Michael and told him, “There should be no tears. I didn’t have the skills this week, but a couple of times in my career I came close here”. Watson remained with his son, Michael, who also served as his caddie this week.
“I heard they’re going to let them play until 9:40″, Hilary said. “I told them, ‘You need to speak to someone about that.’ I was like, ‘C’mon, man, you’ve got a legend here”.
“I’ve been rambling a lot, I’m sorry”, Watson said, concluding his last press conference. It was just the second time he has picked up a shot on the Road Hole in 28 rounds at the British Open.
Watson stopped on the Swilcan Bridge for the traditional photos, as Sir Nick Faldo had done earlier in the day.
He wasn’t sure he could play because of a deep cut on the middle finger of his left hand and was in the hospital in the early morning hours getting it fixed.
That Watson’s final tee shot was a shank and that three putts produced his fifth successive bogey was an irrelevance.
Watson won five Open titles beginning in 1975 at Carnoustie.
“It’s all joy. There’s no reason to be sad”.
His two-round score of 12 over – the bottom of the leaderboard – hardly mattered as the five-time victor of the Claret Jug was given a resounding send-off by hundreds of spectators who packed the road along the fairway and gathered around the green, many having moved with the former champion from the 17th hole.
It was nearly 10pm, but I don’t think it detracted from the moment, and well done to the R&A for allowing his group to continue and complete their rounds. I still want to compete.
A ceremonial final walk across the Swilcan Bridge is the ultimate symbol of the British Open. This likely will be a consecutive missed cut for Tiger at a Major tournament.
His love of the Open might have been a slow-burn but his love of Scotland was instant. The town of St Andrews had stayed out alongside the 18th fairway and green on a cold, unpleasant evening, with the gales that were to blight Saturday’s play picking up strength, to say its farewell and the veteran of 38 Opens seemed genuinely touched by their presence.