British Open History – 1977 Watson Vs Nicklaus at Turnberry

The 1977 British Open was the first Championship to be conducted at Turnberry. Many in the golf world consider this Open to be one of the most memorable of all major championships. The epic duel between Tom Watson and Jack Nicklaus was even more compelling due to the fact that the two were paired together for the final 2 rounds.   The two players started the third round one stroke behind the second round leader, Roger Maltbie. Nicklaus and Watson so dominated the final two rounds that at the end of the tournament the third place finisher, Hubert Green, finished 11 shots behind Watson and 10 shots behind Nicklaus.  

Jack Nicklaus shot 65-66 over the final two days only to lose by one to Tom Watson’s 65-65. Nicklaus never trailed during the third round which ended in a tie and had the twosome three shots ahead of the rest of the field. During the final round Nicklaus built a 2 shot lead with 6 holes to play. But Watson charged back into a tie with birdies on the thirteenth and fifteenth holes. Watson took a one shot lead with a birdie at seventeen, a hole where Nicklaus missed a four footer for his birdie.    

On eighteen, Watson drove it right down the middle. Nicklaus however hit his ball into the deep rough to an almost unplayable lie. After Watson hit his approach to 2 feet, Nicklaus using his amazing strength managed to hit the ball onto the green some 35 feet away. He then rammed the ball home for a birdie three. This remarkable putt put the pressure back onto Tom Watson. But after careful study hr then made his short birdie putt to win the Open.

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