U.S. Open Golf 2010: Watson Hopes for Weekend Tee Time at Pebble Beach

Kathy BissellCorrespondent IJune 18, 2010

PEBBLE BEACH, CA - JUNE 17:  Tom Watson hits his tee shot on the 11th hole during the first round of the 110th U.S. Open at Pebble Beach Golf Links on June 17, 2010 in Pebble Beach, California.  (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)
Donald Miralle/Getty Images

Kathy Bissell

 

The Scots say if there’s “nay wind and nay rain, then it’s nay golf.”  Only they say it in a cool accent, probably caused by wearing those wonky kilts. Today at Pebble Beach, there was all three.

 

The second round began with a slight mist and breezes that sometimes gusted, but not nearly as briskly as in round one. The spitting rain came and went with passing clouds which changed the skies from medium gray to brighter gray as the day progressed. By late afternoon, there were actual shadows.    

 

At noon pacific time, the leaderboard had morphed into an ecclectic mix with Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell atop at -3, followed by Ernie Els, Dustin Johnson and Ryo Ishikawa.  but the -3 meant that the +7s might be in for the weekend.  And t hat meant there was a chance that Tom Watson, at age 60, might make the cut.

 

Watson said he knew his four-foot, par putt on the 18th was to play until Sunday, assuming that no one in the afternoon went to -4.

 

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“I gagged it in, “ he admitted. “Here I am thinking I’ve made the cut, by the 10-shot rule.  And I hope I have.  I hope I have two more rounds here at Pebble.”  

 

Watson would have to wait for the afternoon groups to finish to find out where the cut line would fall. .

 

“I may be around for the weekend,” he said hopefully. “ It there’s a four under, then this is probably going to be my last US Open. Couldn’t have happened at a better place, Pebble Beach.  I’m somewhat sentimental about this place.”

 

For Watson, Pebble Beach is more than a golf course.  It is a decade-by-decade diary of his golf career.

 

Recalling his earliest memory of Pebble Beach, he said that he and his father made a tee time and their playing partners were Imogene Coca and her husband, King Donovan.

 

“King Donovan had probably played golf about once in his life.  Imogene was not a bad player.  She could get it around,” he recalled.   His green fee then?  $15. Today?  $495, but it includes a cart.

 

When Watson attended Stanford, he often drove down to play Pebble Beach, and the starter let him onto the course.

 

In 1982, as most know, he hit one of the most famous shots in the history of the modern game when he chipped in for birdie at the 17th in the final round of the US Open, which he went on to win.  

 

Watson added that he was grateful for the exemption granted by the USGA for 2010.

 

“The crowds were wonderful,” he added, recognizing the applause that greeted him at every green. “ I think last year’s ( British) Open Championship had something to do with it.  It made the baby boomers pull for someone their own age and say, hey, this guy can still do it.”

 

If the golf gods are smiling on Pebble Beach, perhaps Tom Watson will be around for one more weekend in the US Open.  Because t his guy can still do it.