News & ToursOctober 3, 2009

Watson and his new hip are within reach of history

TIMONIUM, Md. -- Tom Watson will be trying to make history on two fronts Sunday at the Constellation Energy Senior Players Championship.

If Watson is able to convert his 54-hole lead into a victory at Baltimore CC's Five Farms course, at 60 years and 30 days he will become the oldest winner of a senior major since the formation of the Champions Tour in 1980 -- surpassing Allen Doyle, who was less than a month shy of 58 when he turned back Watson to win the 2006 U.S. Senior Open at Prairie Dunes.

(Gary Player was 61 when he won the 1997 Senior British Open, but it wasn't designated a major until 2003; Jock Hutchison, 62 when he triumphed at the 1947 Senior PGA Championship, holds the overall mark.)

A victory for Watson - who shot a flawless 64 Saturday for a 12-under 198 and a four-stroke lead over Loren Roberts, John Cook and Mark Wiebe -- also would be the first win for the Hall of Famer since having his left hip replaced Oct. 2, 2008.

"I heard a lot of good things about hip replacement, about people getting great results and having more flexibility and range of motion," Watson said. "That's what happened with mine. I've been riding horses. I couldn't get on a horse a year ago. My leg would not go sideways at all. I can ride a horse, get over a fence. It is something to think you've got this metal and ceramic piece of merchandise in there and it works so well. I hope it lasts a long time."

The late George Archer was the first Champions Tour player to win a tournament after hip-replacement surgery, winning the 1998 First of America Classic two years after he got an artificial joint.

-- *Bill Fields *

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