Here, at this most sacred of sporting altars, they come to witness, they come to worship. Friends and family, adversaries and admirers, they have to be here.

Augusta National. The Masters. One of the prettiest pictures in sport. It’s late Friday evening and I’m rushing home to watch a man I’ve never met play a hole of golf that will neither win nor lose a major tournament. No, this is more important than that.

For when 66-year-old Tom Watson taps in his closing putt at America’s golfing cathedral, it’s the end of an era and we want to say goodbye.

Watson has been in our lives forever. Like a favourite uncle, you don’t see him often but when you do it’s always a pleasure.

Whatever you think of golf, there is no doubt that its longevity makes it unique as a sport. Tom Watson made his Masters debut in 1970 and many of us have grown up with him. And – like the TV programmes, records and books that shaped our childhood – we reserve a special place in our hearts for our oldest and most treasured memories.

Watson has given us many of those – yes, he’s won eight major championships but more importantly he plays the game with style, class and respect. On one famous occasion at Oakmont Country Club he called a penalty stroke on himself when his ball moved as he addressed it. Nobody else had even seen it.

That’s a long way from Raheem Sterling and his mercenary contract demands.

Thank you, Tom.

Steve Bradley

Hill & Knowlton Strategies Search