PGA Championship

Valhalla Golf Club

The Loop

Last Chance For Watson At Senior Open?

HAVEN, Wis. -- If the golf gods -- whomever they may be -- are in a good mood this weekend, they will smile on Tom Watson at the U.S. Senior Open. This is the third straight year he has been the 36-hole leader in the championship, and his T-5 and second-place finishes the last two years go with his runner-up finishes in 2002 (in a playoff with Don Pooley) and 2003. In seven U.S. Senior Open appearances, Watson's worst finish is T-25 in 2004, but he hasn't been able to hoist the Francis Ouimet trophy on a Sunday afternoon.

At age 57, this may be Watson's last, best chance to win one of the two senior titles (along with the Senior PGA Championship, which he claimed in 2001) that carry the most weight. His Friday 66, which put him at eight-under 136 for 36 holes, was a tidy bit of work, even though he didn't feel so jaunty around Whistling Straits. "Well, the body doesn't feel like the Tom Watson of old," he said. "It feels like my legs are in concrete somewhat. But I got the job done today."

Sore left hip or not, he'll be trying to get the job done for two more days, trying to claim the missing link in his senior career.

*-- Bill Fields *