Tom Watson cemented his reputation as ‘King of the Links’ by winning his second consecutive Open Championship which was his third in four years and fifth overall.

His one stroke victory over Andy Bean and Hale Irwin made him the fifth player to win the Claret Jug on five occasions and the first since Peter Thomson in 1965. It also marked a big improvement on his last showing at Royal Birkdale seven years earlier when he’d missed the 54-hole cut.


Watson led by a stroke from Craig Stadler and Nick Faldo after 54 holes but dropped two shots on the front nine as Faldo briefly took the lead. The defending champion got it going down the back nine, making birdies on 11, 13 and 16 before producing one of the finest shots in Open Championship history at the last.

Needing a par to win, the American found himself with 218 yards still to go in order to reach the green after his tee shot. Out came the 2-iron and with no delay, he fashioned an impeccable swing to send the ball soaring onto the green, 20 feet from the pin. Two putts later he was Open Champion for the fifth time after winning the eighth and final Major of a storied career. Another memorable moment of the 1983 came when Irwin whiffed a putt from an inch on the 14th in the third round. He lost out to Watson by a shot.

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