It’s one of the Open’s most special moments. Two titans of the game going head-to-head at a sun-scorched Turnberry in 1977.
Of Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson’s titanic clash, Pat Ward-Thomas wrote in the Guardian: “In all the history of the Open Championship there can never have been a contest to surpass the one at Turnberry.”
Watson, then 27, had already held off one charge from the Golden Bear when he’d won the Masters in April with a birdie on the penultimate hole.
Having shot identical totals over the first two days – rounds of 68 and 70 – the two were paired together on Saturday but were not in the lead.
It was their American compatriot Roger Maltbie who had that honour, holding a slender one-shot advantage after flying round in 66 on Friday.
Maltbie, though, along with the rest of the eld, were to be mere witnesses as Nicklaus and Watson put one of the most mesmerising shows of golf ever seen over the final two days of the tournament.
The classic confrontation is known as the ‘Duel in the Sun’. It doesn’t look very sunny, though, does it? The electricity in the air wasn’t just from the golf being produced, and the reaction of the spectators.
The pair, and caddies, were forced to seek shelter on the beach during a thunderstorm after they had played the 8th in the third round. It didn’t halt their progress.
After they tied again with 65s, Nicklaus surged ahead in the final round – only to be reeled in by Watson, who saw him off by a single shot.