Wat­son says good­bye

Austin American-Statesman - - SPORTS -

By the time Tom Wat­son stepped off the 18th tee Fri­day night, he could no longer hope to make the cut in the tour­na­ment he has won five times. So be­fore he climbed onto the Swilcan Bridge — the same span from which Jack Nick­laus waved his good­bye to St. An­drews five years ago — he bent over and kissed it. Then, the 60-year-old walked to the cen­ter, took off his cap, and soaked in the ap­pre­ci­a­tion from the crowd that lined the street.

“The main thing is the re­spect I have for the way the game is played over here, the re­spect that they have for their game,” Wat­son said. “The Scots in­vented golf, and they love the game with a pas­sion un­like any other peo­ple. I en­joy that.”

Wat­son shot a 3-over 75 Fri­day and sits at 4 over for the tour­na­ment, which will not make the cut. He has an ex­emp­tion through the 2014 Open, and he in­tends to play in the fu­ture. But the tour­na­ment won’t re­turn to St. An­drews un­til 2015 at the ear­li­est, so Fri­day was al­most cer­tainly his last ap­pear­ance here. He birdied his fi­nal hole.

“There’s no re­gret, none at all,” he said.

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