Tom Watson Accepts Special Exemption Into 2010 U.S. Open

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Tom Watson shared the first-round lead in his last U.S. Open appearance at Olympia Fields (Ill.) Country Club in 2003. By virtue of a special exemption, Watson will become the only golfer to have competed in all five U.S. Opens at Pebble Beach (USGA Museum)

Far Hills, N.J. (April 12) – Tom Watson, who won the 1982 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach (Calif.) Golf Links, has accepted a special exemption from qualifying for the 2010 U.S. Open Championship, which will be played June 17-20 at Pebble Beach.

“I am deeply grateful to the USGA for extending me the invitation to play in the U.S. Open at one of my favorite golf courses in the world, Pebble Beach Golf Links,” said Watson, 60. “Some of my life’s favorite times have been spent near Stillwater Cove. I know there will be more this coming June.” 

Watson, the winner of eight major championships in his career, has competed in 30 U.S. Open Championships. He was runner-up in 1983 and 1987 and has 11 times placed in the top 10.

With his addition to the field in 2010, he will become the only player to have played in all five U.S. Open Championships at Pebble Beach, which previously hosted the championship in 1972, 1982, 1992 and 2000.

In his last start in the U.S. Open in 2003 at Olympia Fields (Ill.) Country Club, Watson was tied for the lead after 18 holes and finished tied for 28th. His first U.S. Open appearance came in the 1972 championship at Pebble Beach.

In 2009, he captured worldwide attention with his runner-up finish at the British Open Championship at Turnberry. At 59, Watson was the oldest player to lead a major championship after three rounds. He held a one-stroke lead going into the 72nd hole, where a bogey left him tied with Stewart Cink, who won the subsequent four-hole playoff.

At the Masters this past weekend, Watson, the 1977 and 1981 champion, shot an opening-round 67 and finished tied for 18th with son Michael serving as his caddie.

Watson has received four previous special exemptions into the U.S. Open and finished in the top 30 each time: 1993 (tied for fifth), 1996 (tied for 13th), 2000 (tied for 27th at Pebble Beach) and 2003 (tied for 28th).

The United States Golf Association, which conducts the championship, most recently offered a special exemption for the U.S. Open to Nick Price in 2005.

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