Tom Watson, who finished second at last year's British Open and played well at the Masters last week, was granted an exemption by the USGA into this year's U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, the site of one of Watson's greatest moments.
In the 1982 U.S. Open, Watson chipped in on No. 17 to beat Jack Nicklaus, a shot that SI's Dan Jenkins said would be "remembered for as long as men sew leather patches on the elbows of their tweed jackets." Video of the shot, and a press release from the USGA, are below. Poll: Golf Magazine wants your U.S. Open opinions More on Pebble Beach: Gallery | Course Finder Profile
The USGA release:
Far Hills, N.J. (April 12) – Tom Watson, who won the 1982 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach (Calif.) Golf Links, has accepted a special exemption from qualifying for the 2010 U.S. Open Championship, which will be played June 17-20 at Pebble Beach. "I am deeply grateful to the USGA for extending me the invitation to play in the U.S. Open at one of my favorite golf courses in the world, Pebble Beach Golf Links," said Watson, 60. "Some of my life's favorite times have been spent near Stillwater Cove. I know there will be more this coming June." Watson, the winner of eight major championships in his career, has competed in 30 U.S. Open Championships. He was runner-up in 1983 and 1987 and has 11 times placed in the top 10. With his addition to the field in 2010, he will become the only player to have played in all five U.S. Open Championships at Pebble Beach, which previously hosted the championship in 1972, 1982, 1992 and 2000. In his last start in the U.S. Open in 2003 at Olympia Fields (Ill.) Country Club, Watson was tied for the lead after 18 holes and finished tied for 28th. His first appearance at the U.S. Open was the 1972 championship at Pebble Beach. In 2009, he captured worldwide attention with his runner-up finish at the British Open Championship at Turnberry. At 59, Watson was the oldest player to lead a major championship after three rounds. He has received four previous special exemptions into the U.S. Open and finished in the top 30 each time: 1993 (tied for fifth), 1996 (tied for 13th), 2000 (tied for 27th at Pebble Beach) and 2003 (tied for 28th). The United States Golf Association, which conducts the championship, most recently offered a special exemption for the U.S. Open to Nick Price in 2005.