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Posted April 8, 2016, 8:15 pm
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Tom Watson ends Masters career in emotional round

Watson bids heartfelt farewell
  • Article Photos
    Tom Watson ends Masters career in emotional round
    Photos description
    Tom Watson putts on the 18th green during second round of the Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. Watson has announced his retirement from playing in the Masters. (SARA CORCE/STAFF)
  • Article Photos
    Tom Watson ends Masters career in emotional round
    Photos description
    Tom Watson putts on the 18th green to end the second round - and Watson's final round - in the 2016 Masters Tournament. "I've been blessed to be able to play here," said Watson, who has played 134 rounds in 43 Masters.
  • Article Photos
    Tom Watson ends Masters career in emotional round
    Photos description
    Tom Watson waves after finishing No. 18. The two-time Masters champion received a standing ovation as he walked up the hill to the 18th green to finish off his 6-over-par 78.
  • Article Photos
    Tom Watson ends Masters career in emotional round
    Photos description
    Tom Watson acknowledges the gallery on No. 18 during the second round of the Masters Tournament at the Augusta National Golf Club, Friday, April 8, 2016, in Augusta, Georgia. (JON-MICHAEL SULLIVAN/STAFF)
  • Article Photos
    Tom Watson ends Masters career in emotional round
    Photos description
    Watson acknowledges the Masters gallery on No. 18.
  • Article Photos
    Tom Watson ends Masters career in emotional round
    Photos description
    Watson kisses his wife, Hilary, at the end of his final competitive round at Augusta National Golf Club.
  • Article Photos
    Tom Watson ends Masters career in emotional round
    Photos description
    Watson gives a thumbs-up to patrons on the first hole who were clapping and cheering in appreciation.

 

Tom Watson got a royal send-off Friday after the two-time Masters champ played his final round at Augusta National Golf Club. It left the hard-nosed Midwesterner in tears.

The 66-year-old Watson, playing in his 43rd and final Masters because, he says, the course is too long for him, received a standing ovation as he walked up the hill to the 18th green to finish off his 6-over-par 78. It left him at 8-over 152 and two shots shy of making the cut.

There to greet him behind the green after he finished was tournament and club Chairman Billy Payne and a number of club members.

The final half-hour of Watson’s Masters career was packed with emotion. Before he hit his approach on No. 17, he turned to his left and looked into the gallery for 20 seconds, taking it all in one last time.

Then, after hitting his approach shot to the back of the green, Watson saw Neil Oxman, who has caddied for him the past 15 years, start walking ahead of him.

“He was going to plow out ahead of me and let me have my glory and I said, ‘No way, you’re walking up the last hole with me,’” Watson said. “He’s been a very close friend and caddie and confidant, but he’s more than that. I told him, ‘I really appreciate what you’ve done for me,’ and I started to tear up. It was special to be able to walk up there with him.”

As they stood on the back of the green before he putted, Watson turned to Oxman.

“He said, ‘I didn’t think I was going to cry,’” Oxman said.

Then Watson hit one of his best putts of the day – a 69-footer, Oxman said – to within 2 feet on the hole, which was cut in the front right of the green. He then tapped in for par.

After his first putt, Watson’s playing partners Lee Westwood and Charley Hoffman removed their hats and clapped as he walked down to mark his ball for the last time.

The reception on the final hole capped a day in which fans showed their appreciation for Watson, who was playing his 134th round at Augusta National.

“It’s 43 weeks of his life here,” Oxman said. “It’s a lot.”

“I’ve been blessed to be able to play here,” Watson said. “I hope I entertained some fans here. I appreciate their applause for me and the way they treated me. There were lots of hats off to Tom today. It was really pretty special.”

Westwood agreed.

“It wasn’t just the moment coming up 18; it was just how much he’s loved here by all the patrons and the players as well,” Westwood said.

Had he made the cut, Watson would have been the oldest to do that. Tommy Aaron holds the record at age 63 in 2000.

“He was grinding,” Oxman said. “He wanted to make the cut. … 66 years old. If he putted today like he putted yesterday …”

Watson was glad to leave the Masters on his own terms.

“I’m grateful for the fact that they allow the past champions to pick the time they say no mas to retire,” he said. “I think that’s really a good thing. I know a few years back, there was some talk about maybe setting an age for retirement, but it didn’t work. I think we know when it’s time to say no mas, and let us make the call. That’s what makes the Masters unique compared to all the other tournaments, all the other majors. It allows the players to make the call. I still think that’s a very special thing about this tournament.”

Oxman is not saying this is Watson’s final major championship. He had already “retired” from the other three, but he could still get in the PGA Championship by winning the Senior PGA and earn a spot in the British Open by winning the Senior British Open.

“He’s always competitive at the Senior British Open and it always gets you back in there,” Oxman said. “He’s had the most amazing career at the Senior British Open.”

Watson isn’t retiring from competitive golf. He still plays on the PGA Tour Champions on occasion.

“Yeah, it’s sad; it’s sad that the era is over,” Watson said. “It’s sad that my era of PGA Tour golf, playing the Masters and others is over, essentially over, playing against the kids. But I still intend to play against the old guys, and I can play. I still feel as if I can play a little bit, and I still like to compete and I’m going to continue to do that, on a limited basis.”

Hole By Hole Scores
Round 2
Hole123456789Out101112131415161718InTot
Par454343454364435453443672
Rnd554452455395535553443978
Tot33345444556777888888+8
 
 
Round 1
Hole123456789Out101112131415161718InTot
Par454343454364435453443672
Rnd453343554364435553453874
Tot00-1-1-1-100000000111122+2
 

 

Masters Record

YearPlaceScoreRoundMoney
1234
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