This day in sports: Tom Watson wins 1982 U.S. Open in thrilling fashion

Tom Watson watches a shot during the 2015 U.S. Senior Open in Sacramento.
Tom Watson, seen here during the 2015 U.S. Senior Open, beat Jack Nicklaus to win the 1982 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach.
(Harry How / Getty Images)

Tom Watson made a chip-shot birdie on the 17th hole at Pebble Beach Golf Links on this date in 1982 that snatched a victory from Jack Nicklaus and gave him the U.S. Open championship.

With Nicklaus sitting on the sideline believing he had won his fifth Open and could do no worse than tie after 72 holes, Watson made an unlikely shot, a cut wedge out of deep grass that rolled 16 feet down a slope to the pin and into the cup.

The dramatic shot followed by another birdie on No. 18 gave Watson a four-under-par total of 282 to Nicklaus’ two-under 284.

Watson told his caddie that “I wasn’t going to try to come close, that I was going to make it.” He called it “the best shot, the most important shot I ever made in my life.”


Thirty UCLA football players are demanding that certain measures for coronavirus protection be adopted or they will boycott recruiting activities.

June 19, 2020

This week, the Dodgers were set to play the second of three interleague games Saturday against the Detroit Tigers at Dodger Stadium. The Angels were scheduled to play the second of three games against the Texas Rangers at Angel Stadium.

Here is a look at memorable games and outstanding sports performances on this date:

1960 — Floyd Patterson knocks out Ingemar Johansson of Sweden in the fifth round at the Polo Grounds in New York to become the first fighter to regain the undisputed world heavyweight title. Johansson lies in a daze on the canvas for at least five minutes before he is helped back to his corner. Patterson had lost his title to Johansson a year earlier when the Swede knocked him down seven times in the third round.

1968 — In what is called the “Night of Speed,” the world record of 10 seconds in the 100-meter dash is broken by three runners and tied by seven others at the AAU track and field championships at Hughes Stadium in Sacramento. Jim Hines wins the first semifinal race in a tight finish with Ronny Ray Smith to become the first to break the 10-second barrier. Both runners are hand-timed in 9.9 seconds. Later, Charlie Greene wins the second semifinal and then ties Hines’ 9.9 in the final.

1980 — Roberto Duran wins a hard-fought 15-round decision over Sugar Ray Leonard at Olympic Stadium in Montreal to take the World Boxing Council welterweight crown. Duran, nicknamed “Hands of Stone,” enters the fight with a record of 71-1 after a long career in the lightweight division. Leonard is undefeated at 27-0 and makes his second defense of his WBC belt. It is Leonard’s first fight in Montreal since he won the gold medal at the Summer Olympics in 1976.

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June 19, 2020


1984 — Jockey Pat Day equals a thoroughbred record for an eight-race card when he rides seven horses to victory at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky. Day’s only loss comes in the fourth race. In his career, Day rode six winners four times and had five wins in one day 21 times under the landmark track’s Twin Spires.

1993 — In what is regarded as one of the more memorable shots in NBA Finals history, John Paxson makes a three-point jumper with 3.9 seconds left to lift the Chicago Bulls to their third straight NBA championship, 99-98 over the Phoenix Suns in Game 6 at Phoenix. The Suns’ defense collapses inside and Horace Grant passes the ball out to Paxson who is open by six feet.

2004 — Retief Goosen of South Africa wins his second U.S. Open in four years. when he shoots a one-over par-71 for a two-shot victory at Shinnecock Hills Country Club in Southampton, N.Y. Goosen ties leader Phil Mickelson with a birdie on No. 16 and then takes the lead when Mickelson meets disaster on No. 17, three-putting from five feet for a double-bogey.

2004 — With his family including Ken Griffey Sr. in attendance on Father’s Day, Ken Griffey Jr. hits his 500th career home run off St. Louis right-hander Matt Morris to help the Cincinnati Reds beat the Cardinals 6-0 at Busch Stadium. Griffey is the 20th player to reach the 500-home run mark and he would finish his illustrious career in 2010 with 630 on the all-time list.

2006 — Dwyane Wade caps his strong playoff performance with 36 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Miami Heat past the Dallas Mavericks 95-92 as the Heat roar back from a two-game deficit to win the NBA Finals in six games. It is the franchise’s first NBA championship and the Heat are also the third team to win the title after losing the first two games of the series.

2009 — Wladimir Klitschko of the Ukraine shows his dominance of boxing’s heavyweight division by stopping Ruslan Chagaev in the 10th round of a title fight before 61,000 fans at a soccer stadium in Gelsenkirchen, Germany. The International Boxing Federation and World Boxing Organization champion adds the Ring Magazine belt to his collection.

Sources: The Times, Associated Press