Watson says a “50-something” could win the Open

SANDWICH, England,  (Reuters) – Tom Watson was within  a whisker of achieving a golfing miracle when he almost won the  2009 British Open and the veteran American believes a  “50-something” could challenge strongly for the Claret Jug again  this week.

The five-times Open champion failed to hole a four-footer  for victory on the 72nd green at Turnberry two years ago before  losing to countryman Stewart Cink in a playoff.

With fellow former major champions Sandy Lyle, Bernhard  Langer, Tom Lehman and Mark O’Meara, all now into their sixth  decade, teeing up on Thursday, Watson said he felt the course  could suit the older player and perhaps produce a first over-50  major winner.

Tom Watson

“I don’t see why it’s not feasible for a 50-something to win  this week,” Watson, 61, told Reuters in an interview on Tuesday.

“Links courses are great equalisers. You don’t have to pound  the ball or hit the ball particularly long although they have  added length to many of the holes here.”

The oldest player to win a major was Julius Boros, who was  48 when he lifted the U.S. PGA in 1968. Jack Nicklaus won the  Masters at 46 in 1986 while the oldest British Open winner was  Old Tom Morris, also 46, in 1867.

The oldest British Open  champion of the modern era was Roberto Di Vicenzo, who was 44 in  1967.
Watson conceded that some of the holes at the extended  7,211-yard, par-70 layout would prove particularly difficult for  him to negotiate.

“There are two 240-yard par-threes at the third and 11th  where length is definitely an advantage,” he said while  attending a MasterCard presentation at Royal St George’s.

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