At the recently held 2015 Masters, golf fans were able to watch two-time Masters champions Ben Crenshaw play his last competitive round of golf at the tournament. Crenshaw decided this would be his last year to play, but will remain as one of the host’s at the Champions Dinner during the week of the tournament each April.
Now, after coming close to shooting his age at the RBC Heritage, 8-time major winner Tom Watson hinted that next year’s 2016 Masters could be his final start at the famed Augusta National.
“The Masters next year might be my last,” said Watson to a host of reporters, after shooting a 2-under 69 in the RBC Heritage at Harbour Town.
Watson, 65, made the cut on the PGA Tour for the 501st time this past week in South Carolina. In 1970, Watson played for the first time in the Masters and since 1975 has played each year. He won the Green Jacket on two occasions in 1977 and 1981.
At this year’s Masters, Watson shot a first round 71 to grab some of the headlines on Thursday, but then faded with an 81 in the second round and missed the cut. He has made just one cut at the Masters since 2003, when he tied for 18th in 2010.
He admitted it is more and more difficult for him to stay abreast of the demand of today’s modern game. He said distance was ebbing away in his old body, and he must learn to deal with as well as understand that one day he will just have to hang it up. He added that the handwriting was on the wall as far as competing with kids.
This summer will be Watson’s final start at the Open Championship thanks to the R&A giving him a special exemption so he can make one final trip around the famous course at St. Andrews in an event he has been victorious in on five occasions.
He plays very sparingly on the PGA Tour. He will likely play in next month’s Crowne Plaza Invitational.
Should Watson play in his final Masters next spring, he would become the third former Masters champion to do that in as many years.
Craig Stadler the 1982 Masters champion competed in the tournament the final time in 2014 and the aforementioned Crenshaw enjoyed his final walk over Hogan’s bridge just two weeks ago.
There are a lot of great memories to take of Tom Watson.
Now next year may be his final Masters, but I’d like to draw your attention to a story over 10 years ago at the U.S. Open.
Tom Watson at his finest: