Tom Watson's astonishing chip-in on the 17th hole at Pebble Beach Golf Links during the 1982 U.S. Open. (Used with permission by Tony Roberts Photography.)
There is no better friend or role model for Kansas City's kids than Tom Watson. He first hosted an event for Cystic Fibrosis in 1976. From 1979 and during the 25 years that followed, supported by the Blue Hills Country Club and a host of volunteers, Tom's annual Children's Mercy Hospital Classic has produced over nine million dollars to help create one of the finest pediatric facilities in the country.
Tom now hosts the Annual Tom Watson Challenge. The real winner of the event are the young people who participate in The First Tee of Greater Kansas City. In 2012 this event contributed more than $57,000 to The First Tee of Greater Kansas City.
Finally, Tom donates his time, his talent and his money in support of the Junior Golf Foundation of Greater Kansas City as Chairman of its Advisory Board. The eleven acre Heart of America junior facility is the product of his design and his hands-on supervision during its construction. Tom has a terrific website that includes his biography, golf tips, photos, his blog and information about all things Tom Watson. Give it a click and see how great it is.
Our Founder, the late
talks with Tom Watson.
Perhaps Tom's signature golf incident is his famous wedge shot at Pebble Beach's 17th in the 1982 U.S. Open. He and Nicklaus were again head-to-head. Jack had posted his final round score and appeared close to another championship with Tom the only threat left on the course. Tom had just bogeyed 16 and needed to par in for a tie. Seventeen, with its small green and tight hole location, had been a difficult par three all day. Tom went for the flag. His ball ended up just a few feet into the typical heavy USGA rough. It was an almost impossible situation for a chip shot to get close with such little distance between it and the hole on the lightning fast green. Reportedly Bruce Edwards, Tom's former caddie, said "get it close" and Tom said, "Get it close, heck! I'm going to make it", which he did. Tom went on to also birdie 18 and win by two strokes.
Several photographers witnessed and got the shot. But none matched that of Tony Roberts*. In Tony's words, he sensed the developing drama of another Watson - Nicklaus epic. With Jack's finishing putt safely on film he raced the 500 or so yards back to seventeen green just in time to hear the crowd groan when Tom's tee shot just missed the green. Tony positioned himself perfectly and captured 23 entrancing photo sequences beginning with the swing; and continuing as Tom looks with anticipation as the ball lofts and lands so softly on the green and begins its roll; then, his elation builds as it becomes more and more likely he might hole it; and finally as he runs onto the green with arms raised, signaling he has done what he said he was going to do.