The Kansas City, Missouri metro is home to many famous athletes including: George Brett, Maurice Green and Albert Pujols. One of the most beloved hometown heroes is Tom Watson, professional golfer on the Champions Tour. He won eight major championships on the PGA Tour: the Masters (1977, 1981), the U.S. Open (1982) and five British Opens (1975, 1977, 1980, 1982, 1983).
I have had the chance to photograph Tom many times over the years when he has played golf in Kansas City. He is always a true gentleman — kind and genuine. The most memorable time I saw him was when he played the TD Waterhouse Championship on May 19-21, 2000 at Tiffany Springs Golf Club. I shadowed Tom and his lifelong caddie, Bruce Edwards, as they played in the tournament. Tom placed second behind Dana Quigley, but he was undoubtedly the fan favorite judging by the huge crowds that followed him around the fairways.
Sadly, that was the last time I saw Tom and Bruce together in Kansas City. Bruce Edwards died from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, on Thursday April 8, 2004. Tom later founded Driving 4 Life, a fundraising campaign that supports ALS research. After Edwards’ death, Watson told ESPN The Magazine, “He’s not with us in body anymore, but I can tell you he’s with us in spirit. The spirit of Bruce Edwards — if you ever ran across him, you knew what a genuine person he was and what a wonderful way he had with his words.”
. . . spoken from one true gentleman to another.