When Tom Watson Ruled The Open
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Tom Watson, Carnoustie Golf Links, July 13, 1975. He’s just off the course, having won the first of his five Open Championships, this one by a stroke over Jack Newton in an 18-hole playoff. The unruly hair, wing-collar shirt and tweed driving cap convey a golf-first purity. In his face, there’s pride and satisfaction. The golf he’d played was a coming-out party for the Watson imprimaturs he became known for. It included a 20-footer for birdie, struck frightfully firm, to tie on the final hole of regulation. In the playoff, he chipped in for eagle on the 14th to take the lead by a stroke. At 25, Watson already had a game that was powerful, creative and adaptable to any condition. Other Watson signatures took hold that week. He played briskly, chased after bad bounces, grinned throughout a cold Sunday downpour and insisted that Newton join him in clutching the claret jug. Golf never had a better sportsman, and only a few played it better.