May 19, 2006
For immediate release
Nicklaus and Watson Renew Famous Rivalry at Making the Connection Legends of Golf
Right at the top of the list of the ‘legends of the game’ in golf history would be Jack Nicklaus, perhaps the greatest player to ever pick up a golf club, and Tom Watson, another Hall-of-Famer who battled Nicklaus in some of the most epic moments the game has seen. Next month the two will meet again, this time as part of the Making the Connection Legends of Golf at Prince Edward Island’s Dundarave Golf Course at The Rodd Brudenell River Resort. The new Canadian professional golf event will celebrate the game’s greatest rivalries, as well as the relationships between the golfers that made the rivalries so intriguing.
Last summer, Watson joined Nicklaus in a practice round at the British Open as the Golden Bear prepared for his final major championship event, and the image of the two walking arm-in-arm down the 18th fairway of the Old Course at St. Andrews perfectly illustrated the respect and friendship between the two.
“I have always admired the way he has handled himself both on and off the golf course,” said Watson at the time. “(I have) watched him intently when I was learning how to play as a professional and learned a lot, from the way he managed a golf course to types of shots he hit. As competitors we had a deep respect for each other.”
While the two men did indeed share a deep respect for each other as competitors, they also developed a strong friendship away from the golf course, a friendship that Watson says was born out of their battles, especially those at the British Open.
“It grew very fast when we were over here at the British Open over the years, being together and playing practice rounds together and I think it blossomed over here more than anywhere.”
It was at the 1977 British Open at Turnberry, known as the ‘Duel in the Sun’, that Nicklaus and Watson thrilled fans in one of the greatest showdowns in Open history. Paired together for the final two rounds, Nicklaus shot an almost flawless 66-66, but Watson would manage one better. Nicklaus made a long putt on the final hole to add to the drama, but Watson sank his for his second British Open title in three years. Watson had also edged out Nicklaus earlier in the year to take the Masters title.
“He has the best record in majors and he is probably the best player to ever have played the game,” said Watson, summarizing a popular view of Nicklaus’ place in golf history. Watson won 8 majors in his career, while Nicklaus won a record 18.
Five years later, at the 1982 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, Watson handed Nicklaus what he would later call his toughest loss. "That son-of-a-gun did it to me again," Nicklaus said respectfully of Tom Watson. Nicklaus was in the clubhouse with the lead, on the verge of a record-setting fifth U.S. Open. Watson, the only player who could beat Nicklaus, was in deep rough off the 17th green, a near-impossible chip. Watson holed it with one of the most famous shots in golf history and birdied the final hole to take the Championship.
Canadian fans will get the chance to relive those special golf moments next month in Prince Edward Island when the two legends take to the golf course on Monday, June 19 for a Pro-Am and on Tuesday, June 20 for the head-to-head feature match.
Tickets for the Making the Connection Legends of Golf are on sale now through Ticketweb. Tickets are priced at $90 (plus tax) for the two-day event. For more details on purchasing tickets, please visit www.legendsofgolfpei.com.
Making the Connection Legends of Golf will also be broadcast nationally on Global Television as well as distributed internationally. PGA Tour colour commentator David Feherty and PEI’s own, Lorie Kane, will provide insights from the golf course for those watching at home.
As one of Canada’s premier golf destinations, Prince Edward Island will play official host to the new event, which is a partnership between IMG Canada, Tourism PEI and Making the Connection. Making the Connection is a program dedicated to the ongoing education of Canadians about the health risks of high cholesterol, and to encouraging Canadians to take action to control high cholesterol in order to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.
The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada (HSFC) is the designated charity for the Making the Connection Legends of Golf, and newest member of the Making the Connection partnership. The partnership also includes the Canadian Lipid Nurse Network, the Canadian Association of Cardiac Rehabilitation, Diabetes Québec and Pfizer Canada Inc.
MAKING THE CONNECTION LEGENDS OF GOLF SCHEDULE
Monday, June 19:
10:00 a.m. Gates open to the public
10:30 a.m. Long drive exhibition featuring Jason Zuback
12:30 p.m. Pro-Am Shotgun Start
Nicklaus, Watson, Feherty, Kane and Zuback to play Dundarave)
Tuesday, June 20:
9:00 a.m. Gates open to the public
10:00 a.m. Main event tee-off (Nicklaus vs. Watson)
2:30 p.m. Closing ceremonies