Tom Watson said last week’s appearance in the British Open likely would be his last, but he won’t pass up the opportunity if he should qualify for the tournament next year.
Watson would do just that if he wins the Senior British Open, which is Thursday through Sunday at Sunningdale Golf Club in Berkshire, England.
When asked by reporters in England on Wednesday if he would use his automatic exemption for next year’s British Open at Royal Troon if he were to win this week, Watson’s answer was simple.
“Unequivocally yes,” he said.
While Watson, a 65-year-old Kansas City native, struggled last week and failed to make the cut on the Old Course in St. Andrews, Scotland, he is looking forward to this week.
“Now we’re onto this week, and Sunningdale is a wonderful golf course,” Watson said. “We professional golfers look forward to coming to golf courses that we love to play, and this is one of them.
“This is a course you look forward to coming to play, and the reason is the variety of the shots that you have to play here. You have some blind tee shots you have to understand. You have to deal with flag positions on greens.”
Watson, who has won six career Champions Tour majors as well as eight majors on the PGA Tour in his career, believes that he will have to be in top form to challenge a strong field.
“To win this week would be extra special at my age of 65, but I have to go through a lot of players to get there — Monty (Colin Montgomerie), Fred Couples, Bernhard Langer, Miguel Angel Jiménez.
“I’m playing with Monty and Jeff Maggert in the first two rounds, and they’ve really been running the tables in the Senior Championships lately.”
To reach Tom Smith, call 816-234-4240 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.