Tom Watson beat Jack Nicklaus by two strokes to win his first green jacket 45 years ago.
Watson won his second green jacket 41 years ago, this time defeating Jack Nicklaus and Johnny Miller.
Watson and Nicklaus will reunite at Augusta National in April.
Watson will join Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player as honorary starters for the Masters’ first round. They won the Masters 11 times between them.
Watson had 15 top-10 finishes in 42 races, including two Masters victories in 1977 and 1981. He also finished second in 1978, 1979, and 1984. He is one of just 17 players who have won the Masters on numerous occasions. His 72.74 scoring average places him fifth all-time in the tournament. Watson is second all-time with 58 poor rounds, trailing only Jack Nicklaus (71). Watson has the record for the most years in a row with at least one poor round (21, 1975-1995).
In 1988, Watson was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame at the age of 72. He was the winner of 39 PGA Tour titles (tied for 10th all time). Eight of them victories were in major tournaments, including Open Championship titles in 1975, 1977, 1980, 1982, and 1983.
“One of my favorite places to be in April is Augusta National,” Watson said in a statement released by Augusta National Golf Club on Tuesday. “I am thrilled to join my friends and fellow competitors, Jack and Gary, as an honorary starter in this year’s Masters, as I have many good memories of both watching the Masters as a child and then competing in the competition for many years.”
“Jack was right behind me in each of my victories. And in 1978, when Gary won his third championship, I was there to assist him in donning the green jacket. Moments like these stand out in my career, and I’m looking forward to sharing the honorary starter tradition with Jack, Gary, and the Masters patrons.”
Watson will be the tournament’s 11th honorary starter in its history. Jock Hutchison and Fred McLeod started the tradition in 1963. Byron Nelson, Gene Sarazen, Ken Venturi, Sam Snead, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Jack Player, and Lee Elder are among the honorary starters.
The 86th Masters takes place from April 7 to 10.
“I am honored that Tom has accepted our invitation,” Augusta National Golf Club and the Masters chairman Fred Ridley stated. “I’m looking forward to celebrating his love for the game and effect on the Masters with his millions of admirers around the world when he takes a tee shot alongside two other Masters all-time greats, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player.”
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