Tom Watson at age 59 stood tall
Watson’s British Open Loss
and impressed us all at Turnberry.
Was Champions Tour’s Gain
The Champions Tour owes Tom Wat-
son a debt of gratitude. And now it needs
Fred Couples, Corey Pavin, Paul Azinger,
Kenny Perry and a few others to back up
Watson, golf’s most elegantly prolific Tom
since Morris Sr.
Watson’s near miss at the Open
Championship last summer at Turnberry
undermines the Law of Probability. Things
like that just aren’t supposed to hap-
pen. On the other hand, it demonstrates
once again that golf truly is a game for a
lifetime when Watson, at 59, can come so
close to winning a sixth Claret Jug.
Watson couldn’t pull it off. That’s too
bad. Who doesn’t love an underdog win-
ning against all odds? But here is what
Watson did pull off, and it is something
that hasn’t gotten as much attention as it
Tom Watson did for the Champions
Tour in four days last summer what the
over-50 gang has been trying to do since
its beginning 30 years ago. He provided
the senior circuit the kind of credibility
for its competitive level and instincts that
it’s been looking for.
A long time ago, the Champions Tour
might have been the Knocking on Heav-
ens’ Gate Tour. Today, it’s not Happy
Hour. It’s about an extra hour on the driv-
ing range to sort things out. It’s not about
back-slapping (although there’s plenty
of that still); it’s about kicking butts. It’s
about grinding, competing and playing
golf at an extraordinarily high level.
dig for success, they wouldn’t be much
competition for them.
The Champions Tour, Doyle and
Fleischer told me, was better-suited for
guys like themselves, guys who didn’t
make it big on the PGA Tour. They didn’t
have their fortunes. This was their opportunity to achieve the success that had
eluded them before they turned 50.
Roberts won his second Charles
Schwab Cup in 2009 and the $1 million
annuity that goes with it. Late in the
season, which featured a stunning second-
half performance, Roberts found himself
in a strange place. His game wasn’t click-
ing. Let him tell the story.