Watson off to impressive start at Open Championship

Tom Watson
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2014 U.S. Ryder Cup Captain Tom Watson -- a five-time Open Championship -- shot a 1-over 73 at Royal Liverpool on Thursday.
By T.J. Auclair
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Series: Golf Buzz

Published: Thursday, July 17, 2014 | 8:16 a.m.

We call him "Captain," but you could also call him "Timeless Tom."

Tom Watson, 2014 U.S. Ryder Cup Captain and a winner of five Open Championships, shot a 1-over 73 at Royal Liverpool in the first round of the Open on Thursday.

The 64-year-old -- a runner-up to Stewart Cink at the age of 59 in 2009 at Turnberry -- in a round that included four birdies, three bogeys and a double bogey.

RELATED: Open Championship leaderboard | Complete coverage | 2014 Ryder Cup

Just two weeks ago, Watson was granted an exemption into the 2015 Open Championship at St. Andrews, where he's likely to play his final Open Championship.

Open winners are exempt until the age of 60. Watson is in the field this year on the final year of a five-year exemption as a past champion finishing inside the top 10 (2009). The R&A extended that exemption one more year so Watson could finish up at St. Andrews, the birthplace of golf.

Watson wrote in his latest Captain's Blog that it would "probably" be his final Open, leaving the door at least cracked open in case he could somehow find a way to finish in the top 10 again this year or next.

Along with his five Open Championship victories, Watson has five other top-10 finishes.

Playing alongside Watson was Jim Furyk, currently No. 6 in the U.S. Ryder Cup standings. Furyk opened with a strong 4-under 68

T.J. Auclair is a Senior Interactive Producer for PGA.com and has covered professional golf since 1998, traveling to over 60 major championships. You can follow him on Twitter, @tjauclair.