Watson, 65, aiming to make cut in Open farewell
By Tony Jimenez
ST ANDREWS, Scotland (Reuters) - Five-times champion Tom Watson is going through the full gamut of emotions ahead of his final British Open next month but he is certain of one thing, he does not want to bow out with a whimper.
The 2014 edition at Royal Liverpool was due to be the veteran American's swansong appearance and he is grateful the Royal & Ancient organizers tweaked their rules to allow him a special exemption to sign off at St Andrews, the 'Home of Golf'.
"The anticipation is getting closer and closer to my final Open championship and it's going to be a very special time," Watson, 65, told Reuters in an interview held by the first tee at the iconic Old Course.
"I feel maybe a little bit melancholy but the memories of all the years playing in the Open will make it pretty happy. I've had a wonderful experience playing here in the Open for these last 40 years."
Despite his advancing years, Watson is keen to avoid the tag of 'ceremonial golfer' by ensuring he makes the halfway cut and is still competing in the final two rounds at the weekend.
"I want to walk across the Swilcan Bridge on the Sunday, that's my goal, and anything else will be gravy," he said.
Watson won the coveted Claret Jug in 1975, 1977, 1980, 1982 and 1983 and came within a whisker of pulling off one of the greatest victories in sport when, as a 59-year-old, he lost a playoff against compatriot Stewart Cink at Turnberry in 2009.
His St Andrews farewell is likely to be even more emotional because his son will be alongside him as he strides down the seaside links. Continued...