"God, it feels good; it feels so good to win again," said Watson. "It was like winning all over again for the first time." He dedicated the victory to his father, Ray, who suffered a possible stroke before the tournament and had to be hospitalized in Kansas City. Everyone at the Memorial wanted to celebrate—fans, Watson, even other golfers. Crenshaw, Brad Faxon and other players waited around to congratulate the winner. Said Duval, "If my first victory is held up because Tom Watson wins the golf tournament, that's fine."
No one was more delighted than the other members of the golf pantheon to which Watson belongs. Said his close friend Lee Trevino, "My prayers have been answered. I love the guy because he is a totally honest individual. He's got so much character, I knew he was going to put it together and win one." Said Watson's longtime mentor, Byron Nelson, "I'm just thrilled. Tom has become such a good driver of the ball, I knew eventually it was going to raise his confidence back through his irons and down to his putter. It's a victory for the power of a positive mind." Finally, Nicklaus weighed in with a remarkable statement. "I believe it was the most thrilling win of any I've seen or accomplished myself in 10 years, from when I won the Masters in '86 until now," he said. "It means an awful lot for the game of golf."
Through all his difficulties Watson never lost faith in himself. "I don't lament my missed opportunities," he said after the third round. "I have always had the ability to come back from a bad hole with a good hole and from a bad tournament with a good tournament. It's not conscious. It's basically unconscious, but I trust it."
Watson will go to the U.S. Open at Oakland Hills next week with a renewed enthusiasm. "I can't wait," he said. "I have put four rounds together, finally, and now I can't wait for the most difficult, most important championship in the world."
When Watson looks back on his career, however, it's doubtful he will find anything more memorable than what he did at the Memorial.