Denis Leslie Watson (born 18 October 1955) is a professional golfer from Zimbabwe.

Denis Watson
Personal information
Full nameDenis Leslie Watson
Born (1955-10-18) 18 October 1955 (age 64)
Salisbury, Rhodesia
Height6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Weight190 lb (86 kg; 14 st)
Nationality Zimbabwe
Turned professional1976
Current tour(s)Champions Tour
Former tour(s)European Tour
PGA Tour
Southern Africa Tour
European Seniors Tour
Professional wins8
Number of wins by tour
PGA Tour3
Sunshine Tour1
PGA Tour Champions4
Best results in major championships
Masters TournamentT27: 1987
PGA Championship33rd: 1984
U.S. OpenT2: 1985
The Open ChampionshipT15: 1982

Born in Salisbury, Rhodesia (now Harare, Zimbabwe) Watson was educated at Oriel Boys High School, Chisipite. He was Rhodesian Sportsman of the Year in 1975, but went on to represent South Africa in the World Series of Golf in 1980 and 1982 – sporting connections between Rhodesia and Apartheid South Africa were blurred at the time, for example the Rhodesian cricket team was once part of the South African domestic set-up.

Watson turned professional in 1976 and played on the European Tour from 1978 to 1980. After moving to the United States, where he joined the PGA Tour, he had his career year in 1984 when he won the Buick Open, NEC World Series of Golf, and Panasonic Las Vegas Invitational to tie for the most wins on the PGA Tour that season.

Watson finished second in the 1985 U.S. Open, missing out on forcing a playoff by one shot, having incurred a two-stroke penalty earlier in the tournament. The penalty was assessed on the eighth hole in the first round, after he had waited longer than the allowed ten seconds for a putt that had hung on the lip of the hole to drop in. The ball did fall into the hole, but the birdie was disallowed and the penalty strokes added. The USGA and R&A, the sports governing bodies, have since amended the penalty for this rules infraction to just a single stroke. Andy North was eventually the only player to beat him, by one shot despite himself bogeying the last hole.

Watson's career came to a sudden halt when he was injured while playing in the 1985 Goodyear Classic in South Africa. While hitting his ball out of the rough with a 9-iron, he struck a tree stump that had been hidden from view causing damage to his wrist, elbow and neck. He went on to win the tournament, but his problems had just begun. He required surgery on his wrist and neck, and was initially told that he would never play again. He did, but was unable to consistently reach the high standard that he had previously attained and after several more operations he retired towards the end of the 1990s.[1][2]

After turning fifty, Watson joined the Champions Tour, and began to rediscover competitive form. He won the 2007 Senior PGA Championship at Kiawah Island, a senior major, by two strokes over Argentina's Eduardo Romero, his first win in 23 years. He was voted the 2007 Champions Tour Rookie of the Year.

Professional wins (8)Edit

PGA Tour wins (3)Edit

No. Date Tournament Winning score To par Margin
of victory
1 12 Aug 1984 Buick Open 70-70-63-68=271 −17 1 stroke   Payne Stewart
2 26 Aug 1984 NEC World Series of Golf 69-62-70-70=271 −9 2 strokes   Bruce Lietzke
3 23 Sep 1984 Panasonic Las Vegas Invitational 69-66-68-70-68=341 −15 1 stroke   Andy Bean

PGA Tour playoff record (0–1)

No. Year Tournament Opponent(s) Result
1 1982 Bay Hill Classic   Tom Kite,   Jack Nicklaus Kite won with birdie on first extra hole

South African Tour wins (1)Edit

Champions Tour wins (4)Edit

Champions Tour major championships (1)
Other Champions Tour (3)
No. Date Tournament Winning score To par Margin
of victory
1 27 May 2007 Senior PGA Championship 71-71-69-68=279 −9 2 strokes   Eduardo Romero
2 26 Aug 2007 Boeing Classic 69-69-69=207 −9 Playoff   R. W. Eaks,   David Eger,   Gil Morgan,
  Naomichi Ozaki,   Dana Quigley,   Craig Stadler
3 16 Mar 2008 AT&T Champions Classic 73-71-65=209 −7 Playoff   Brad Bryant,   Loren Roberts
4 4 May 2008 FedEx Kinko's Classic 67-70-69=206 −10 1 stroke   Scott Hoch,   Tim Simpson,   Nick Price

Champions Tour playoff record (2–0)

No. Year Tournament Opponents Result
1 2007 Boeing Classic   R. W. Eaks,   David Eger,   Gil Morgan,
  Naomichi Ozaki,   Dana Quigley,   Craig Stadler
Won with eagle on second extra hole
Eger, Morgan, Ozaki, and Quigley eliminated with birdie on first hole
2 2008 AT&T Champions Classic   Brad Bryant,   Loren Roberts Won with birdie on third extra hole
Bryant eliminated with birdie on second hole

Results in major championshipsEdit

Tournament 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989
Masters Tournament T53 CUT T27
U.S. Open T2 T12 T36
The Open Championship T41 CUT T15 WD T47 CUT
PGA Championship CUT 33 T40 71 T40 T48
Tournament 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999
Masters Tournament
U.S. Open WD
The Open Championship
PGA Championship
Tournament 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007
Masters Tournament
U.S. Open
The Open Championship
PGA Championship CUT
  Top 10
  Did not play

CUT = missed the half-way cut (3rd round cut in 1980 Open Championship)
WD = withdrew
"T" = tied


Tournament Wins 2nd 3rd Top-5 Top-10 Top-25 Events Cuts made
Masters Tournament 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 2
U.S. Open 0 1 0 1 1 2 4 3
The Open Championship 0 0 0 0 0 1 6 3
PGA Championship 0 0 0 0 0 0 7 5
Totals 0 1 0 1 1 3 20 13
  • Most consecutive cuts made – 5 (twice)
  • Longest streak of top-10s – 1

Champions Tour major championshipsEdit

Wins (1)Edit

Year Championship Winning score Margin Runner-up
2007 Senior PGA Championship −9 (71-71-69-68=279) 2 strokes   Eduardo Romero

Results timelineEdit

Results not in chronological order before 2012.

Tournament 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
Senior PGA Championship 1 T26 CUT CUT CUT DQ
The Tradition T9 T52 T50 61 T45 62
Senior Players Championship T31 T27 72 T11 DNP DNP
U.S. Senior Open T5 T52 T52 T53 DNP DNP
Senior British Open Championship T16 DNP T8 T41 DNP DNP

DNP = Did not play
CUT = missed the halfway cut
DQ = Disqualified
"T" indicates a tie for a place
Green background for wins. Yellow background for top-10.

Team appearancesEdit



  1. ^ "Watson living proof that perseverance pays off". PGA of America. 15 May 2008. Retrieved 14 August 2009.
  2. ^ Shapiro, Leonard (3 July 2008). "Paying the Price". The Washington Post. Retrieved 14 August 2009.

External linksEdit