Thomas Watson, the International Hall of Fame golfer whose six PGA majors stood as a record until Tiger Woods’ latest victory in August, has died. According to Forbes, he was 90 years old.
Not only was Watson the first golfer to win six majors, he was also a living legend of the sport, winning an additional five international events including the British Open in 1957, 1958, 1959, 1962 and 1964. He played in four Ryder Cups as well.
The latter of those rounds, of course, involved par 3s that were bent too far into the sand trap and gave him a four-stroke lead on the 15th hole. Tiger Woods is still wrestling with those years later.
Though he was second twice in the United States PGA, twice in the British Open, and tied for second in four other majors, Watson never won a fourth major. The 63-year gap between his last major — tied with Seve Ballesteros for the title at the 1988 PGA Championship — was the second-longest drought ever in the pros and the longest such gap in the history of the PGA Tour. Woods also had an 86-year gap between his fifth and sixth majors; however, that is a historically unprecedented difference between two athletes whose careers spanned three decades.
Watson proved to be the “Rain Man of golf,” a person who would always measure his every swing, ball and key. His ability to make time fly on the course, which he came to hate, was due in large part to all the rest time he was devoting to instruction, working with his wife and three children.