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Posted April 05, 2016 08:04 pm
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Tom Watson ready to say goodbye to Masters competition

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    Tom Watson ready to say goodbye to Masters competition
    Photos description
    Tom Watson waits on No. 7 green during the second practice round at Augusta National Golf Club.


In a way, 66-year-old Tom Watson is feeling like his 20-year-old self. That’s exactly why it’s time to say goodbye.

“When I first joined the tour, when you made the cut, you didn’t have to qualify on Mondays,” Watson said. “So you got in the next tournament, so making the cut was really important. That’s the way I feel about this; I’m just trying to make the cut. That’s not enough, and it’s time to say, ‘Adios.’ ”

Watson will play his final competitive rounds at the Mas­ters this year.

“The feelings that I have, people ask me, ‘What is it going to feel like walking up the 18th hole?’ And I really don’t know,” Watson said. “Same thing as walking up the 18th hole at St. Andrews last year. I really didn’t know. Although, when I got to the tee last year, I looked at my son and he had tears in his eyes and I said, ‘Son, no tears. Let’s just have some joy going up there, from all the memories that I had playing in the Open Championship.’ It’s pretty much going to be the same thing for me walking up the 18th hole.”

A two-time Masters champion, Watson has plenty of Augusta memories.

He played with his father and Gene Sarazen in a round before the tournament.

As an amateur in 1970 in his first Masters appearance and trying to make the cut, he made 7 on No. 13 – “I still hate that hole,” he said.

In 1975, in his first Mas­ters as a pro, Watson played with Jack Nicklaus in the final round, when on No. 16 he carded 7.

Of course, Watson also remembers the triumphs of 1977 and 1981. In his first win, he battled with Nicklaus and won by two shots.

Watson will play with Nick­laus and Gary Player in today’s Par-3 Contest. In 1970, Watson played the Par-3 with Player:

“I remember I hit a 9-iron on the fifth hole there as we play it now, or the fourth hole. He said, ‘Man, you hit the ball a long way.’

Watson’s final round, be it Friday or Sunday, will finish his majors career where it started in 1970.

Watson, who said he will still play on the PGA Tour Champions, held off Father Time longer than most. In 2009, at age 59, he held the lead going into the 18th hole at the Open Championship before losing to Stewart Cink in a playoff to fall short of becoming the oldest major champion in history.

At 9:15 a.m. Thursday, Wat­­-
son will tee off for his
43rd Masters. Only eight other players have more. Asked whether he will become an honorary starter, Watson said that's not his decision to make.

Although he has missed the cut for the past five years, he shot 1-under and tied for 18th in 2010 when he was 60. He also shot 1-under 71 in last year’s first round at age 65, becoming the oldest player in Masters history to finish under par for a round.

“I intend to come back and play in the Par-3 and the Cham­pions Dinner …,” Watson said. “I’ve been asked the question, ‘What will I miss about it?’ Well, frankly, when I watch the Masters next year, I’ll be missing being in the hunt, being inside the arena, being down on the floor, being on the field.”

Masters Record

2015T87+87181  $ 10,000
2014T93+157881  $ 10,000
2013T86+137978  $ 10,000
2012T65+77774  $ 10,000
2011T88+77972  $ 10,000
2010T18-167747373$ 94,500
200994+137483  $ 10,000
2008T63+67575  $ 10,000
2007T61+97578  $ 10,000
2006T73+107975  $ 5,000
2005T74+97776  $ 5,000
2004T76+87676  $ 5,000
2003T58+87577  $ 5,000
2002T40+771767672$ 22,960
2001T59+47870  $ 5,000
2000T73+77576  $ 5,000
1999T66+77477  $ 5,000
1998T48+77873  $ 5,000
19974-475686972$ 129,600
1996T45+37572  $ 1,500
1995T14-473706972$ 39,600
199413E70717374$ 42,000
1993T42+671757375$ 4,940
1992T48+273707671$ 3,933
1991T4-968687073$ 64,800
1990T7-277716771$ 35,150
1989T14+272737471$ 19,450
1988T9-172717371$ 28,000
1987T7+171727472$ 26,200
1986T6-570746871$ 27,800
1985T10-169717572$ 16,800
19842-974676969$ 64,800
1983T4-370717173$ 22,000
1982T5-177697071$ 13,500
19811-871687071$ 60,000
1980T12-473697171$ 7,250
1979T2-868717071$ 30,000
1978T2-1073686869$ 21,667
19771-1270697067$ 40,000
1976T33+877737670$ 1,900
1975T8-370707273$ 4,500
1970T61+97776  $ 0