Golfing legend Tom Watson got a close-up look at how seriously they take football in Alabama.
Watson played the Regions Tradition Pro-Am golf tournament Wednesday at Shoal Creek in Birmingham, Ala., with Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban, who had a couple of police officers as bodyguards following him as he signed autographs for the fans who crowded to each hole to watch, according to AL.com.
Despite having won eight majors over the course of his career, Watson took it in stride that he was playing second fiddle to Saban.
“It doesn’t bother me,” Watson told AL.com. “I’ve been around Nicklaus, Palmer and I’ve always been, well, the No. 2 guy when I played with those guys. I’m glad to have met him.”
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The group finished the day at 12-under. Watson, who had watched Alabama football games on TV but had never met Saban, came away impressed.
“I watched him on the sidelines in games,” Watson said. “His manner, his calm manner, it’s all about focus. He’s very focused in what he’s doing. He has people who back him with that. He expects his players to be focused as well. He’s focused on his golf game — very focused. You can see he wants to be the best player he can possibly be, and that’s the way he coaches and what he expects of his players. ... and he’s had a pretty good track record for that.”
Among the other celebrity players at the tournament were Auburn legend and former Royals outfielder Bo Jackson, former Jayhawks player and current Alabama-Birmingham basketball coach Jerod Haase, Auburn coach Gus Malzahn and former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, a native of Birmingham.