Thomas Sturges Watson is an American professional golfer who has played on the PGA Tour and now plays mostly on the Champions Tour.
In the 1970s and 1980s, Watson was one of the leading players in the world, winning eight major championships and heading the PGA Tour money list five times. He was the number one player in the world according to McCormack's World Golf Rankings from 1978 until 1982; in both 1983 and 1984, he was ranked second behind Seve Ballesteros. He also spent 32 weeks in the top 10 of the successor Sony Rankings in their debut in 1986.
Watson is now also notable for defying age: at nearly 60 years of age, and 26 years after his last major championship victory, he led much of the 2009 Open Championship, but eventually lost in a four-hole playoff. With a chance to win the tournament with par on the 72nd hole, he missed an eight-foot putt, before losing the playoff to Stewart Cink.
Several of Watson's major victories came at the expense of Jack Nicklaus, the man he replaced as number one, most notably the 1977 Open Championship and the 1982 U.S. Open. Though his rivalry with Nicklaus was intense, their friendly competitiveness served to increase golf's popularity during the time.