Sturges Watson ( born 4 September 1949 )
players have done more to promote Ireland as a golfing Mecca
than the legendary Tom Watson who regularly used Ireland as
a launch pad for his assault on the Open Championship. This
five-time winner nearly completed the feat again in 2009 at
Turnberry but "what's for you won't go by you" and
it wasn't to be.
probably visited and continues to visit Ireland regularly but
the more notable milestones of his trips to the Emerald Isle
- Carroll's Irish Open Championship - Woodbrook Golf Club 28-31
August 1975 where Watson finished in joint thirteenth place.
Watson had won his first major the previous month at Carnoustie
and the demands on his time were enormous and it is very much
to his credit to he kept his commitment as his team led by Mark
McCormack tried to manoeuvre between the demands of the USPGA,
the sponsors of the BC Open and Tom honouring a commitment made
before his win in the Open Championship. In the end a promise
to play in the BC Open in one of the following two years and
a release for Hubert Green to play in the BC Open rather than
travelling to the Irish Open while his wife was expecting resulted
in all parties being accommodated and a big boost to the Irish
Open Championship which was returning to the circuit after an
absence of twenty-two years . For Watson it meant a fourteen-hour
journey from Fort Worth in Texas, where he was playing in the
TPC, to Ireland via Dallas, Chicago and London.
- Watson's first visit to Ballybunion Golf Club on 8th July,
1981 began a long association with the club that saw him make
regular pilgrimages to the Old Course and the club reciprocated
in kind by bestowing the captaincy of the club upon him in the
millennium year. In return he almost single-handedly introduced
the course to a worldwide audience. A tired Watson shot a level-par
71 around the Old Course on his first visit and concluded, "After
playing Ballybunion for the first time, a man would think the
game was invented there".
- Watson played, together with the legendary Byron Nelson (Lord
Byron), Rosses Point on Thursday, 13 July a week before the
British Open at Royal Troon where he finished in fourth place.
They both also played Ballybunion around the time Jack Nicklaus
flew in to play the course with his son Gary.
- Watson helped renovate the Old Course at Ballybunion.
- Mount Juliet - Shell Wonderful World of Golf Series Tom Watson
vs. Fred Couples. Click here for more
- Watson visited the Connemara Golf Links at Ballyconeely almost
without being recognised but by the time he reached to turn
a crowd had started to gather.
- British Open Seniors Championship, Royal County Down Golf
Club (Place 14th)
- British Open Seniors Championship, Royal Portrush Golf Club