He is one of the best-known names in golf, a five-times Open winner who played the most famous couurses in the world.
And now, American champ Tom Watson has been awarded honorary membership of a Sutherland course.
As preparation got underway for a prestigious senior competition in Wales last summer, the 69-year-old flew across the pond to enjoy the links experience at a number of the Highlands’ most notable venues including Royal Dornoch, Nairn, Castle Stuart and Brora.
As a result, club officials have presented him with honorary membership to the club.
Watson, the USA Ryder Cup captain at Gleneagles in 2014, said he was overjoyed to receive the accolade.
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He said: “I’m delighted to be awarded honorary membership at Brora, joining my fellow five-time Open champions James Braid and Peter Thomson. Last year, we flew to Inverness, went up to the north and just had a marvellous time. Brora was a wonderful links golf course.
“Playing the incoming nine downwind was really tough for me. I couldn’t keep the ball on the greens. I think I hit one green in regulation coming in and shot 76. It was a very good course. I’d like to challenge it again and look forward to coming back one day.”
Brora Golf Club is sometimes overshadowed by its more famous neighbour Royal Dornoch – but has some pedigree in its connections with famous course designer James Braid.
Braid, who redesigned the course at Brora in 1923, won his fifth Open in 1910, while the recently-deceased Thomson claimed his five titles between 1954 and 1965.
Established in 1891, the 18-hole golf club has previously been described by the late Peter Thomson as “one of the finest natural links courses I have had the pleasure of playing.”
More than 6,500 visitors have tackled the course in the past 12 months, with membership across all categories up 9%.
Brora club president Andy Stewart added: “We’re privileged Tom Watson has accepted honorary membership of the club. Ever since Mr Watson was here last summer and spoke so highly of Brora, we had this in our plans and are now delighted to make it official.
“We are fortunate to be associated with such great five-time Open champions at Brora and look forward to welcoming Mr Watson back to the club one day soon.”