SURREY, ENGLAND | Not the least in-
triguing thing about Tom Watson is that
while he is a great and proud American he
is at the same time as British as can be.
He is a Yank who is an Anglophile. There
is a special warmth in the voices of Brit-
ish spectators when they shout “come on
Tom” as they have done for the past two
weeks either in the Open at Sandwich or
the Senior Open at Walton Heath.
in one on the sixth in the first round at
Sandwich, he used a 4-iron; Tom Lewis,
his amateur partner and a young man one
third as old as he, used a 6-iron.
Because Watson is so intelligent and
such a good role model, he is paired with
promising young men in the Open. He
likes to see the sparkle in their eyes and
their enthusiasm and to assess how good
they are. “They remind me of me at that
age,” he said.
He should know, after all. He has won
the Open five times and finished second
in 2009 and 22nd this year. These promising young men relish the chance to learn
from one of the greatest in the game, to
see him magic his golf ball around difficult
courses, sometimes in foul conditions and
to observe how he never seems to stop
thinking and often eschews the obvious in
favour of the unusual.
At Turnberry in 2009, when Watson was
59, it was Matteo Manassero, the Italian
prodigy who was then only 16. At Sandwich
when Watson was 61, it was Lewis, who is
20. It is not entirely coincidental that when
paired with Watson both Manassero and
Lewis went on to win the silver medal as
the leading amateur.
It is hard to imagine a time when Watson will not visit Britain annually and light
up golf on these shores. He is as much a
part of golf in these islands as foursomes
and kummel, plus-fours and Labradors.
Long may it continue.
Long may Watson make it all seem so