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Emotional farewell for thankful Watson

Tom Watson gets a hug from son and caddie Michael after playing No. 18. “There is a lot of sadness today,” he said.

Associated Press

Tom Watson gets a hug from son and caddie Michael after playing No. 18. “There is a lot of sadness today,” he said.

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. — Tom Watson got backed up on the 17th tee, giving fans time to offer advice about the hole he famously birdied in 1982.

"The play is to the left of the green, Tommy," one fan said.

"I would just like to hit the green once," Watson answered.

The 60-year-old former Open champ at Pebble Beach likely played his final U.S. Open round Sunday. He shot 5-over 76 to finish 11 over. His most likely route to any more Opens would be by winning the U.S. Senior Open.

"There is a lot of sadness today," he said. "It's based on a lot of great memories I've had here. It may very well be my last time playing Pebble in a championship of this caliber. Probably so."

Watson overcame his emotions on the 18th green. After a perfect bunker shot to just a few feet, he let a short birdie putt slip past. He twirled home the par attempt before giving the ball back to Stillwater Cove one last time with a heave.

"I thought it was very fitting, kind of the end of a career at the Open," said son Michael, who carried his bag this week. "It was kind of a thank-you."

Watson received a special exemption from the USGA to get one more time around the course where he won his only U.S. Open 28 years ago.

He took a moment to savor the experience.

"It was overwhelming (Sunday) coming up the 18th hole. Just after I hit my 3-wood into the bunker, it started to hit me," he said. "It's Father's Day, with your son on the bag, that's when it started hitting me. And the memories started to hit me again, and it's just a wonderful feeling to be here at Pebble Beach."

rare double: Shaun Micheel knows what he'll do with the ball he used to make double eagle on Sunday.

"I've got it hidden away in my secret pocket in my golf bag," he said. "I'll probably give that one to my mom."

Micheel's mother, Donna, is in the final stages of liver and brain cancer.

Micheel recorded just the second double eagle in Open history. He holed an uphill, blind 3-iron from 239 yards on the 523-yard sixth hole. T.C. Chen made double eagle by holing out from 256 yards at the par-5 second at Oakland Hills in 1985.

"I heard people moaning and groaning and (then) I hear this roar," Micheel said. "It was the greatest feeling ever."

Amateur tie: Reigning NCAA champion Scott Langley of Illinois and Georgia star Russell Henley shared the distinction of top amateur. Each finished at 8-over 292 to tie for 16th. "It's not very often you get to play in the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach," Henley said. "It was awesome."

Emotional farewell for thankful Watson 06/20/10 [Last modified: Sunday, June 20, 2010 11:10pm]
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