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Posted March 23, 2012 08:03 pm |

1981: Tom Watson conquers new Masters greens

  • Article Photos
    1981: Tom Watson conquers new Masters greens
    Photos description
    Watson
  • Article Photos
    1981: Tom Watson conquers new Masters greens
    Photos description
    Watson
  • Article Photos
    1981: Tom Watson conquers new Masters greens
    Photos description
    Front Page of The Augusta Chronicle after the 1981 Masters Tournament

Augusta National and the Masters were undergoing significant changes in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Hord Hardin had become the club's third chairman, and his first major project was to oversee the conversion of the greens from bermuda to bentgrass.

That occurred before the 1981 Masters, and that suited Tom Watson just fine. America's top player was up for the challenge.

One thing had not changed, though. If Watson was going to win his second Masters, he would have to beat Jack Nicklaus.

Nicklaus set the pace at the midway point after rounds of 70 and 65.

At 41, no one questioned his ability to win a major after he had won the U.S. Open and PGA the year before.

Watson, though, wasn't intimidated. He stayed within striking distance, and when Nicklaus stumbled to 75 in the third round, he slipped ahead with 70.

In the final round, though, it was Johnny Miller who put up the biggest challenge to Watson. His 68 brought him to within two shots.

Nicklaus, meanwhile, struggled to make a charge. He could do no better than even-par 72.

That left Watson to play his game and battle the new greens. He did fine with both, shooting 1-under 71 for a two-shot win over Nicklaus and Miller.
 

1981 Masters

 PlayerFR1R2R3R4 Earn.
1Tom Watson-871687071 $60,000
2Johnny Miller-669727368 $30,500
2Jack Nicklaus-670657572 $30,500
4Greg Norman-569707272 $16,000
5Tom Kite-474727068 $12,667
5Jerry Pate-471727170 $12,667
7David Graham-370707471 $11,167
8Ben Crenshaw-271727073 $9,667
8Ray Floyd-275717169 $9,667
8John Mahaffey-272716974 $9,667