Tom Watson

Thomas Sturges Watson, invariably known as Tom, had the distinction of being, officially, the best golfer in the world between 1978 and 1982. Indeed, in 1980, won seven tournaments, including the Open Championship at Muirfield Golf Links, become the first golfer to earn $500,000 in a single season.

All told, Watson won the Open Championship five times, in 1975, 1977, 1982 and 1983. Indeed, he went agonisingly close to winning for a sixth time, at the age of 59, at Turnberry in 2009; he failed to make the par he needed on the seventy-second hole to win and ultimately lost a four-hole playoff to Stewart Cink. The Open Championship aside, Watson also won the Masters twice, in 1977 and 1981, and the US Open once, in 1982. His career total of eight victories in major championship golf places him sixth in the all-time list.

Watson recorded the first of jhis 39 victories on the PGA Tour, the Western Open, now the BMW Championship, in 1974. Although a longer than average hitter, he once said, ‘By learning how to get the ball up and down, you will have mastered the art of scoring your best.’ Indeed, he became renowned for his short game, not least his apparently fearless putting stroke, which enabled him to ‘scramble’ so-called ‘Watson pars’ and manufacture good scores even though not, necessarily, playing at his very best. Ironically, for a player who produced most of his best performances by the seaside, Watson recalled, ‘I didn’t like links golf. I didn’t like St. Andrews at all when I played in ’78 for the first time.’

Tom Watson’s Secret to the Golf Swing

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Virginia Wade

Sarah Virginia Wade, invariably known as Virginia, or ‘Ginny’ for short, has the distinction of being the last British woman to win a Grand Slam tennis singles title. Indeed, she won three such titles, the US Open in 1968, the Australian Open in 1972 and, most famously of all, Wimbledon in 1977.

A natural grass court player, with a competent, all-court game, Wade was, nevertheless, making her first appearance in the singles final, at the age 31, in her sixteenth year at the All England Club. Seeded number three, she beat defending champion, and number one seed, Chris Evert 6-2, 4-6, 6-1 in the semi-final, to set up a final meeting with number seven seed, Betty Stöve. In the final, Wade lost the first set 4-6, but rallied to win 4-6, 6-3, 6-1 and duly received the Venus Rosewater Dish from the Queen, who was attending Wimbledon for the first time in 15 years. Her victory was timely, insofar as it coincided not only with the centennial Wimbledon Champions, but also the Silver Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II.

Born in Bournemouth on July 10, 1945, Wade emigrated to South Africa with her parents as an infant, but returned to England with her family as a teenager. Her tennis career coincided with the start of the Open Era and, in 1968, she turned professional, albeit with mixed feelings. Indeed, having won the British Hard Court Open in her hometown, Wade refused to accept the £800 prize money on the grounds that it was just one-third of the £2,400 awarded to the men’s champion, Ken Rosewell, and two-thirds of the £1,200 awarded to runner-up Rod Laver.

Virgina Wade Wins Wimbledon

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