Tom Watson and the Byron Nelson Classic
On this day, In 1975 Tom Watson captured his second PGA Tour victory at the Byron Nelson Golf Classic. He defeated runner up Bob Smith by 2 strokes to take the $35,000 first prize check. He took the second tournament of his four‐year pro career with a 269 total, 15‐under‐par on the 6,957‐yard Preston Trail Golf Club course. Watson would go on to win this tournament three years straight in 1977, 1978, and 1979.
The Bond between Byron Nelson & Tom Watson
After a successful amateur career, Watson joined the PGA Tour in 1971 and didn’t exactly have a hot start out the gate…
This is an excerpt from AT&TByronNelson.org :
But behind these accomplishments were also struggles. At the 1974 U.S. Open, Watson, then only 24 and a recent Stanford graduate, had a one-shot lead after 54 holes. The young golfer was in sight of victory when he teed off on the last 18 holes for America’s National Championship. But Watson struggled uncharacteristically — shooting a 79, including 41 on the back nine.
Defeated, Watson walked off the course and was greeted by Byron Nelson himself.
“Tom, I love the way you play golf,” Byron Nelson said, “and I love the way you conduct yourself on the golf course. If you’d ever like to work on your game with me, feel free to call.”
In that moment, a mentorship and friendship formed that Watson will cherish forever. Although they worked on swings and techniques, Watson said that the biggest and most important lessons he learned from the legend weren’t technical at all.
Watson won two weeks later at the 1974 Western Open for his first PGA Tour victory.