Past champions used to be automatically exempt through age 65. This week, an R&A spokesman confirmed a change; past champions will now be exempt through the age of 60. In the short term, the change really only affects one person: Tom Watson himself.Now this has me a bit confused...
He turned 58 in September, and he'll play in '08 at Royal Birkdale, where he won the '83 Open. He'll play in '09 at Turnberry, where he won the '77 Open. And he'll play his final open in 2010, at the Old Course, on a links he loves even if it never loved him back. He'll be 60 then and one of the most respected players in the history of the Open championship. He'll be done.I guess this means the policy is being grandfathered in?
As usual Watson handles it with class and perspective:
"I'm fine with the decision," Watson said Wednesday night. "I think it's a good thing, good for golf. Make room for the kids."