By Tim Wharnsby
AUGUSTA, Georgia (Reuters) - An emotional Tom Watson shed a tear strolling up 18 at Augusta National on Friday disappointed he missed the cut in his final Masters but happy he doesn’t have to play the uphill par-four hole anymore.
The 66-year-old Watson posted a six-over-par 78 in his Augusta goodbye for an eight-over 152 total to miss the cut by two shots.
"It's a little bit out of my league now, the golf course, certain holes in particular," smiled the eight time major winner. "I’m glad I don't have to hit the five-woods and three-woods at 18 anymore. That's the reason I'm not playing here anymore.
"These kids are hitting it up there and they are hitting seven and eight irons on 18, and I'm back there trying to hit a three-wood on that green."
For the record, Watson hit a driver and five-wood to the back of the 18th green and successfully negotiated a nasty left-to-right downhill 66-foot putt for a tap-in par.
As the ball disappeared into the cup an adoring gallery stood and applauded while Watson hugged his caddie Neil Oxman, his wife, his children and friends.
Then he waived goodbye to his competitive career against the “kids.” "I know I'm going to continue to play against the old guys (on the Champions Tour),” Watson said. "I doubt if I will play against the kids anymore.”
This was Watson’s 43rd Masters. His first was in 1970 as an amateur.
He won in 1977 and 1981 and made his last cut in 2010, nine months after he stunned the golf world when at 59 when he had a chance to win a sixth British Open title, but lost in a playoff to Stewart Cink.
Watson started his final round believing he had a chance to make the weekend one last time, especially after the way he putted on Thursday. “I'm just a golfer," said Watson. "I just go out and I try my damnedest to play the best golf I possibly can every time I'm on the golf course when I'm in competition.
"I didn't feel like it was a final walk until basically the last couple holes because I still had a shot at it.
"That's just me."
(Editing by Steve Keating.)