Tom Watson reinforces his great "links" golf reputation
BY Bruce Young | European Seniors Tour | 2003 Senior British Open | Wrap | 28 Jul 2003
One of the great “links” golfers of the modern era, Tom Watson, edged out the Englishman Carl Mason in a playoff to win his first Senior British Open and add yet another major to his brilliant career record. This was his second major on the Champions Tour having won the 2001 Senior PGA Championship and added to his eight regular tour majors that he won earlier in his career.
Watson has a great knack of playing the British links courses having won his five British Opens at Carnoustie, here at Turnberry, Muirfield, Royal Troon and Royal Birkdale. He was also second to Ballesteros in 1984 at St Andrews. He had to produce a last round 64 to catch Mason who led from the end of the second round and did little wrong in the last round until his double bogey at the last. Watson too had bogeyed the last and they headed to the first playoff hole where they both made pars but Watson’s par at the second extra hole was good enough to get the job done.
Mason who was playing just his fourth event as a senior golfer, one of which he had won, found himself in a situation he would have only dreamed about when he and Watson were in their prime. Mason never won on the European Tour until 1994 when he won twice at the age of forty one and in twenty five years on the European Tour dating back to 1974, the best he could finish in any one year on the money list was 19th. He is a great example of the opportunities available to those who maintain their game and condition through to the age of fifty and he now finds himself atop the European Senior Tour money list, with what appears to be a lot more to come.
“I don’t know what to say. I’m gutted,” said Mason later. “I’m proud of the way I played but to get that close and then miss out is extremely disappointing, to say least.”
Bruce Summerhays closed with a 65 to finish just one shot back with a further two shots back to Tom Kite.
Brian Jones had a great week to finish in sixth place as the leading Australasian. Jones, who is in his second year on the European Seniors Tour, earned his biggest cheque on that tour with his placing. He did win in 2002 but this was by far his most impressive performance and it is the sort of performance that will give him a lot of heart and confidence.
Graham Marsh was the next best in 10th place, Stewart Ginn 14th, Bob Charles, David Good 20th and Terry Gale 20th, Rodger Davis 27th, Simon Owen 32nd, Noel Ratcliffe 44th, John Clifford 46th and Bob Shearer 77th.