Tom Watson, 59, in Orange County, Calif.
Mike Powell
Monday, August 03, 2009

By SANDY TATUM, 89, former USGA president

I've been playing for 83 years, and frankly I have never known anybody who had a more consummate love of golf than Tom Watson. After he dominated the game for seven years, he suddenly stopped winning in the 1980s. He went nine years and 141 events without a win — he finally broke through in the '96 Memorial — but through that whole period, his attitude was yet another expression of how much he loved golf. At the nadir of his decline, we were playing in the AT&T and got to 17 at Pebble Beach, and he needed two pars to make the cut. Well, he hit a lousy iron and chunked a chip, which I'd never seen him do before, and made double-bogey. Right after that we went to Cypress Point for lunch. It was a cold, rainy day. He looked at his watch. He said, "It's 4:30 — we've got time for nine holes!" We didn't have our clubs with us, so we borrowed some from a member, went out and played five holes in the mist before dark. I don't remember ever having more fun on the golf course.

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