Tom Watson’s Favorite Golf Gambling Story: Win Bet, Miss Cut
Michael Madrid, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Tom Watson
The Action Network spoke with several of golf’s biggest legends find out their favorite personal golf betting stories. In a previous series, we spoke with several of today’s biggest stars about their favorite betting stories. You can find those here.
- Who: Tom Watson
- When: 1992 Open Championship
- Where: Muirfield Golf Links, Scotland
On the first tee of a practice round, Watson made a 1,000-pound no-bogey bet with Lanny Wadkins, Fred Couples and one other player. (“The name escapes me,” Watson admits.) The bet: If any of the four could play all 18 holes without a bogey, the other three would owe him the money.
“By the sixth hole, I was the only player still in the bet as the other three made their bogeys and were out.
“As the round progressed, I remained bogey-free until the 16th hole, a par 3. I pulled my iron into the left bunker and proceeded to hit a poor bunker shot, leaving me a 15-footer for par.
“It had gotten very quiet on the back nine with little chatter — even from the usually very animated Wadkins.
“They didn’t say a word as I took my time lining up the putt, which of course I made to the audible disgust of all of them.
“Now I had the par-5 17th and the tough 18th to play to keep bogey-free.
“I made an easy par on the 17th and then proceeded to hit a perfect drive and approach shot to about 5 feet above the hole on 18 — an easy winner. But I missed the putt and it rolled by the hole just outside gimme range.
“Looking up at the boys, I asked them if this putt was good, but only heard crickets — except for Lanny, who exclaimed, “Putt it!!” rather sternly.
“I made the putt and was the recipient of the winnings, but not without a small disagreement as to the amount of the bet. The boys somewhat kidded me, saying it was a $1,000, not pounds, to which I laughingly reminded them what the bet was on the first tee.
“Ironically, this ended up being the only money I won that week, as I missed the 36-hole cut, but the satisfaction of taking some of my buddies’ cash that week made it a little more palatable.”
Other golf gambling stories from legends of the game
- Mark O’Meara’s Favorite Golf Gambling Story: Tiger Takes Him for a Ride
- Nick Price’s Favorite Golf Gambling Story: A Longshot to Remember
- Gary Player’s Favorite Golf Gambling Story: Arnold Palmer and a South African Goldmine
- Davis Love III’s Favorite Golf Gambling Story: No-Bogey Betting at the Open Championship
- Jack Nicklaus’ Favorite Golf Gambling Story: Betting on Himself at Cherry Hills
- Nick Faldo’s Favorite Golf Gambling Story: Getting into Jack Nicklaus’ Pockets
- Lee Janzen’s Favorite Golf Gambling Story: On the Road From Boise to Reno
- David Toms’ Favorite Golf Gambling Story: A Hole-in-One and an Annoying Caddy
- Lee Trevino’s Favorite Golf Gambling Story: Betting Makes Things More Interesting