There are so many elite golfers with Missouri roots, from Horton Smith of early Masters fame to his fellow Springfield product, Payne Stewart. The true star of the Show Me State, however, is Thomas Sturges Watson. Born in Kansas City, Watson resides these days in suburban Stillwell, just across the state line in Kansas. He captured four Missouri State Amateur titles before turning pro and then went on to compile one of the greatest records in golf history. He owns 39 PGA Tour victories, five British Opens, two Masters and the 1982 U.S. Open highlighted by a memorable chip-in at the 71st hole at Pebble Beach. Tack on 14 more Champions Tour wins, a staggering number of scoring records for his age, five money titles, six PGA Tour Player of the Year crowns, four Ryder Cup appearances as a player and a pull-no-punches style and, well, you don’t have much of a contest.
Stephen Green-Armytage / SI