Eight-time major champion Tom Watson and his sand wedge—which was used for his famous chip-in during the 1982 U.S. Open Championship at Pebble Beach Golf Links—made a welcome return at the 2010 U.S. Open. However, the club wasn’t in Watson’s golf bag. The wedge was on loan for display at the Lexus Performance Pavilion, positioned along the main entrance to the golf course.
Part of the interactive guest experience that was available at the championship, the Lexus display featured the real Wilson Dyna-Power sand wedge Watson used in 1982. (It is not a replica, as is the U.S. Open trophy that is set up for photo ops.)
In the final round of the 1982 Open, Watson found the deep rough along the left of the 17th green, pin-high. Before he played, Watson’s caddie, the late Bruce Edwards, told him, “Get it close.” Watson said, “Get it close? Hell, I’m going to make it.” And he did, chipping in for a birdie to record on of the most famous shots in golf history.
Watson’s relationship with Pebble Beach goes beyond that dramatic shot, or that memorable triumph. As a Stanford undergrad in the 1960s, he drove down to play the course so often that starter Ray Parga finally just let him on for free. Watson also took lessons from then-head pro Art Bell.
Later, Watson played virtually every year in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, which he won twice, and eventually put his own imprint on the Peninsula golf landscape by co-designing The Links at Spanish Bay.
“I’ve got a wonderful appreciation of this area,” Watson said. “There is such a rich fabric of golf at Pebble Beach.”
Watson, whose first U.S. Open was in 1972 at Pebble Beach, has re-created the chip at the 17th several times, including it as part of his Lessons of a Lifetime DVD set. And for the video, he made it again, “But I won’t tell you how many times it took me.”