Golfing legend Tom Watson has been honoured by Turnberry, where he staged one of the most memorable victories of his career.
The American golfer, one of the greatest competitors in the history of the professional game, this week unveiled a plaque on the 18th fairway on Turnberry’s Ailsa Course to commemorate his 1977 victory in the Open Championship.
Tom is at the Ayrshire resort to compete in this week’s Senior Open on the same course where he narrowly beat Jack Nicklaus 35 years ago in what has become known as the Duel in the Sun.
The 1977 Open is considered one of the most competitive and closely-fought tournaments ever with Watson and Nicklaus emerging well ahead of the rest of the field early in the championship. The two legends matched each other until the 18th hole when Watson sank a two-foot putt to take the major title by one stroke.
He went on to win a total of five Open Championships and eight major titles in one of the most successful careers in the sport ever. Three years ago, in what was so close to being one of his greatest results ever, Watson, at the age of 59, finished second in the 2009 Open Championship at Turnberry after a four-hole play-off against Stewart Cink.
On Wednesday, on the 18th fairway of the Ailsa Course, Tom unveiled a plaque which celebrates the 178 yard, seven-iron approach shot which he put within two feet of the pin to seal his iconic victory.
It was also announced that the Australian golfer, Greg Norman, is to become an honorary member of Turnberry Golf Club. Norman won a total of 88 titles in his golfing career including the 1986 Open Championship at Turnberry, one of two major title wins.
Turnberry Resort general manager Jordi Tarrida said: “We all hold Tom Watson in the highest esteem. His victory in the Duel in the Sun is what really positions Turnberry as the iconic golf venue it has become. As a small token of our appreciation for what he has done for the image of golf at Turnberry we are delighted to commemorate and immortalise one of the great shots he made in that 1977 Open. Greg Norman has also made an immense contribution to the sport and to the success of Turnberry as a global golfing destination.”
n More golf – page 44