SPORTS

Farewell to a champion: Tom Watson closes Open career with final trip across Swilcan Bridge

  • United States’ Tom Watson doffs his cap as he poses on the Swilcan Bridge for photographers during the second round of the British Open Golf Championship at the Old Course, St. Andrews, Scotland, Friday, July 17, 2015.  (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)

    United States’ Tom Watson doffs his cap as he poses on the Swilcan Bridge for photographers during the second round of the British Open Golf Championship at the Old Course, St. Andrews, Scotland, Friday, July 17, 2015. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)  (The Associated Press)

  • United States’ Tom Watson embraces his caddy Michael Watson after finishing on the 18th green during the second round of the British Open Golf Championship at the Old Course, St. Andrews, Scotland, Friday, July 17, 2015. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)

    United States’ Tom Watson embraces his caddy Michael Watson after finishing on the 18th green during the second round of the British Open Golf Championship at the Old Course, St. Andrews, Scotland, Friday, July 17, 2015. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)  (The Associated Press)

  • United States’ Tom Watson poses on the Swilcan Bridge for photographers during the second round of the British Open Golf Championship at the Old Course, St. Andrews, Scotland, Friday, July 17, 2015. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

    United States’ Tom Watson poses on the Swilcan Bridge for photographers during the second round of the British Open Golf Championship at the Old Course, St. Andrews, Scotland, Friday, July 17, 2015. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)  (The Associated Press)

Tom Watson closed out his British Open career with his worst score ever at St. Andrews.

Not that it mattered.

In the dwindling Scottish light, Watson shot an 8-over 80 and finished with five straight bogeys Friday, his farewell put off until nearly 10 p.m. after a morning rain delay. Several thousand people hung around for the end, saluting the five-time Open champion with raucous cheers and a chant of "hip, hip, hooray!"

The 65-year-old Watson moaned about his performance, calling himself "a hack" and complaining that he "stunk up the place."

No one cared about his score. This was a chance to salute Watson and watch him make one last crossing of the Swilcan Bridge, the famous stone arch over the burn on the 18th fairway.