Nicklaus tips Watson for glory

Golden Bear backs Watson to keep his cool in Open bid

Last Updated: 18/07/09 11:39pm

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Watson: Open bid

Watson: Open bid

Sky Bet

Jack Nicklaus believes his former rival Tom Watson is the favourite to win The Open on Sunday.

Nicklaus, 69, lost out to the 59-year-old at The Open at Turnberry in the famous 'Duel in the Sun' in 1977 and admits to being emotional seeing his fellow American establish a one-shot lead going into the final day of this year's competition.

Watson has not won the tournament since 1983 but, as he goes in search of a record-equalling sixth Open victory, Nicklaus is now fully in his corner.

"I watched most of the front nine and all of the back nine," he told his official website. "Like everybody else - including Tom - I had some tears in my eyes.

"The key for him is to just not let the mistakes multiply or manifest themselves into a bad hole.

"If Tom plays smart golf tomorrow, he is the favourite, and l do not anticipate him playing anything but smart golf."

Achievement

Nicklaus added: "I imagine his game plan is rather simple. Hit the ball solidly, play well within yourself, fairways and greens, don't short-side yourself and don't put yourself in a position where you can't play.

"It is going to take constant concentration and discipline."

It has been suggested that Watson might struggle with his nerves after 16 years without a major victory, but Nicklaus feels he will cope.

"I think he will deal with it," he said. "He'll deal with it fine.

"Whether or not Tom plays well tomorrow, whether or not he wins, it doesn't make a difference.

"Of course, we would all love to see Tom win but what he has accomplished already is a phenomenal achievement."

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