Thursday, 24 July 2008
Provost Winifred Sloan welcomes
Tom Watson to Royal Troon in Ayrshire
SOUTH AYRSHIRE COUNCIL Provost Winifred Sloan welcomed Tom Watson to South Ayrshire at the 2008 Senior Open Championship that is taking place at the world famous Royal Troon links golf course.
To mark the occasion Provost Sloan presented Tom Watson with a framed picture of the famous ‘Postage Stamp’, that is situated on the eighth hole at Royal Troon. This is a very tricky hole with a very small putting surface, hence the name the ‘Postage Stamp’.
[Pictured: Provost Winifred Sloan presenting Tom Watson with a picture of the ‘Postage Stamp’ as a reminder of his visit to South Ayrshire. CLICK ON ANY IMAGE TO VIEW / DOWNLOAD FULL-SIZE VERSION.]
Tom Watson made time during his Senior Open preparations and very busy schedule to talk to a group of over 100 South Ayrshire children (see images below). The aspiring young golfers all attend ‘clubgolf’ coaching as part of the South Ayrshire Junior Golf Action Plan.
In the 1970s and 1980s Tom Watson was one of the leading players in the world, winning eight major championships and heading the PGA Tour money list five times. According to McCormack’s World Golf Rankings, he was the number one player in the world from 1978 until 1982, and in both 1983 and 1984 was second in those rankings behind Seve Ballesteros by only the barest of margins. He spent 32 weeks in the top 10 of the successor Sony Rankings in their debut in 1986. Several of his major victories during this period came at the expense of Jack Nicklaus, the man he replaced as number one, but their continuing rivalry and friendship served to increase golf’s popularity during that time.
His 1977 British Open victory at Turnberry in Ayrshire, Scotland was especially memorable. After two rounds, he and Jack Nicklaus were one shot off the lead and paired for the third round. Both shot 65, ending the third round three shots clear of the field. Watson and Nicklaus were again paired for the final round. On the last day, the two were tied after 16 holes. Nicklaus missed a makeable birdie putt on 17, losing his share of the lead to Watson, who birdied 17. On the 18th, Nicklaus drove into the rough, while Watson drove into the fairway. Watson’s approach landed three feet from the flag, while Nicklaus, after a drive into deep rough, managed to get his approach 50 feet away. Nicklaus sank his birdie putt to finish with a 66, but Watson followed suit with his own birdie, finishing with a second straight 65 and his second Open, with a record score of 268. The two players finished well ahead of the other challengers. They shot the same score every day except for Sunday.
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