The 2015 Open Championship at St. Andrews likely will be Tom Watson’s last.
Former Open champions are exempt until they are 60. This is the final year of the five-year exemption that Watson received by finishing runner-up in 2009, but the R&A announced Tuesday that it is extending that invitation for another year. It will mark the 40-year anniversary of his first Open title, in 1975. He has never won at St. Andrews.
This year at Hoylake, the 64-year-old will make his 37th start in golf’s oldest major. Of his eight major titles, five have come at the Open (1975, 1977, 1980, 1982, 1983).
“Some of my finest memories in golf have come from playing in the Open Championship,” Watson said. “I am very proud and honored to be given this opportunity to play once again in St. Andrews next year. It is a special place for everyone in golf and I am very much looking forward to playing there again in front of the wonderful Scottish galleries. The Open Championship is unlike any other event in golf and to be part of its history is a privilege.”
Watson has missed 15 of his last 17 cuts at the Masters, hasn’t played the U.S. Open since 2010 and has teed it up at the PGA just once since 2003 (MC in 2013). But he has still remained competitive at the Open, however. In 2009 he came within a 8-foot putt of winning the claret jug, and he also finished T-22 in 2011. He missed the cut last year at Muirfield after rounds of 75-78.