Vintage Watson, green fees of the old and other memories (US Open diary)June 17th, 2010 - 8:48 pm ICT by IANS
By V. Krishnaswamy
Pebble Beach (California), June 17 (IANS) Tom Watson, who almost gave us a fairytale story at the British Open at Royal Birkdale last year, is always a pleasure - both to watch and hear. Still a sprightly 60, the winner of the US Open in 1982 is back for an US Open for the first time since 2003. Here for his 31st US Open appearance, and on a special exemption, he will become the only player to have played in each of the five US Opens at Pebble Beach.
Watson, interestingly like the only other former US Open-champion-at-Pebble Beach in this field, Tiger Woods, is an alumni from Stanford.
He has a brother, Ridge, who produces and sells wine, living in Monterey County, where the course is located, and he himself played here often when he went to Stanford. “This place brings back such wonderful memories to me.
“The first and foremost is probably the lucky chip at 17 (enroute to the 1982 win). But it goes farther back than that. The times I played in the Crosby (AT&T Pebble Beach event) with good friend Sandy Tatum and Bob Wells from Kansas City. And prior to that playing hereby myself when I was going to Stanford, probably played here about a dozen times. Back then the greens fees were about 15 bucks,” said Watson.
For the record, the greens fee now is around $495 a round!
Another interesting bit from Watson, who is paired with two of the most prodigious youngsters of the current generation: Rory Mcilroy and Ryo Ishikawa. Asked about it, Watson laughed and said: “I said these guys I think their combined age is, what, 38? 39. And I am 60. I’ve got them by 21 years, the combined age.”
King Palmer has a piece of Pebble Beach
Arnold Palmer, the King, who designed the DLF Golf and Country Club in India, is part of the consortium that owns the Pebble Beach golf course and the surrounding resort. Palmer oversaw the major renovations of the par-5 sixth hole, replacing an old large bunker on the left of the fairway with five more bunkers that have narrowed the landing zone for the opening drive making it all the more difficult.
Americans favourites, as usual
The Americans rarely allow the Trophy to leave their country. Since the World War II Americans have won 54 times but only five of the last ten. There was a four-year stretch when Retief Goosen (2004, South Africa), Michael Campbell (2005), Geoff Ogilvy (2006, Australia) and Angel Cabrera (2007, Argentina) won the title. Tony Jacklin (England) was the last European to win the U.S. Open in 1970.
Mickelson, still looking for a US Open birthday present
If it is sometime around the US Open, it is time for Phil Mickelson to blow out another candle. On Wednesday, Phil turned 40. But notwithstanding American golfers’ great successes at the US Open, Mickelson is still waiting for his maiden US Open. He has finished second no less than five times, the last time being last year to Lucas Glover. His earlier second places were in 1999, 2002, 2004 and 2006. He has three Masters (2004, 2006 and 2010) and one PGA (2005).
A different double
Since 1936, there have been only 10 occasions that a venue has hosted a Major and a regular PGA Tour event in the same year. The last was Torrey Pines in 2008 where Tiger Woods completed the double.
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Tags: arnold palmer, bob wells, dlf golf, fairytale story, greens fee, greens fees, king palmer, krishnaswamy, monterey county, open appearance, open champion, open diary, pebble beach golf, pebble beach golf course, rory mcilroy, royal birkdale, ryo ishikawa, sixth hole, tom watson, wonderful memories