REMEMBERING THE LEGEND- BOB WATSON, PGA

Categories: News

The game of golf, and specifically our Chapter, lost a lifelong leader and supporter in July.  Robert L. Watson, member of the PGA of America for more than 65 years, passed July 17, 2017, one week after his 94th birthday, at his home in Jupiter, FL.

Pictured above: Bob with golf legends Sam Snead and Seve Ballesteros.

A native of Wichita Falls, TX, Watson got his start in golf as a caddy at Wichita Falls Country Club. Upon graduation from high school he joined the U.S. Army. Following his discharge, he attended the University of Texas, playing golf for the legendary Coach Harvey Penick, and won individual honors in Southwest Conference play twice, in 1948 and 1949. Watson’s first job as a golf professional was as an assistant to Jackie Burke at Metropolis Country Club in White Plains, NY.

Over the next 40 years, from 1950 through 1990, Watson served as head PGA professional at the Metropolis, Ardsley, Fairview, Wykagyl and Westchester Country Clubs, all in Westchester County north of New York City. Watson also established a unique playing record by winning tournaments in eight consecutive decades. It started in the 1930s with the 1939 Wichita Falls City Junior Championship at the age of 16. His final win was in May 2000, for his age group at the South Florida Senior Open at Ibis Country Club in West Palm Beach. His biggest victory, Watson always said, was in the 1958 Panama Open with seven of the top 10 money winners on what today is known as the PGA Tour in the field, including Arnold Palmer.

A few years later after winning the Colombian National Open, Watson delighted tournament officials and spectators by making his acceptance remarks in Spanish. Watson also won several Metropolitan PGA Section titles over the years and was inducted into the Met PGA and University of Texas Halls of Fame.

In recent years, Watson was on the teaching staff at Jonathan’s Landing Country Club in Jupiter and helped found our Chapter. A memorial service was held at Jonathan’s Landing where the legend of Bob Watson was shared with stories and toasts from Watson’s members, staff and golf industry friends.

Survivors include sons Craig Watson and his wife Wendy of Jupiter and Rob Watson of Daytona Beach, four grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. Memorial contributions may be made in Watson’s name to the Bob Watson Memorial Scholarship Fund for the men’s and women’s golf teams at Palm Beach Atlantic University coached by his son, Craig Watson.  The scholarship fund assists students from The First Tee with tuition and living expenses to attend PBAU.  Donations may be made online at www.firstteepalmbeaches.org or mailed to:

The First Tee of The Palm Beaches
7301 North Haverhill Road
West Palm Beach, FL 33407

Please make checks payable to The First Tee of The Palm Beaches and reference the Bob Watson Memorial Fund in your donation.