Watson’s New Passion: Cutting Horse Showman


Tom Watson hasn’t been playing much competitive golf lately and the reasons are fairly straightforward: he doesn’t want to play if he doesn’t believe he can win and he has a new passion that’s keeping him off of the golf course.


It’s hard to imagine Watson doing anything other than swinging a golf club, but the 68-year-old 8-time major champion has found a new passion and it couldn’t be less connected to the game that made him a Hall of Famer.

Golfweek.com’s Forecaddie had more on Watson’s new hobby.

The Forecaddie can never get enough of Tom Watson stories and insights. But it was surreal to hear the 68-year-old wax on about his life as … a cutting horse showman.

Turning up at the Toshiba Classic, the eight-time major winner and certified legend still has his passion for golf and only plays because he believes he can win. Regaling the media center with stories, strong opinions and that familiar gleam when talking about Augusta, where he’s just going to practice and socialize this year after retiring from Masters play, Watson explained how his decision to play the Toshiba came at the expense of the Eastern Nationals.

“Eastern Nationals is the cutting horse show and I had already planned to go and compete,” he said of the sport introduced to him by wife Hillary.

“My love right now is trying to learn how to be a horseman and learn to be a cutting horse showman, that’s what my love is right now. It’s a new game for Tom Watson, real new game.”

Watson could see golf writers needing a little more explanation about what exactly the horseman and horse do in these competitions where he just went over $7,000 in lifetime earnings in 18 months competing.


“You go into a herd of cattle, you go in really softly, you come back out through it, you pick one and you get it in the right position and you force it out, separate it from the rest of the herd,” he said. “Once you separate it from the rest of the herd, you have to throw your reins down. You can’t use your reins anymore to guide the neck of the horse, you’ve got to do it with your feet. A horse is trained to keep that cow, because that cow wants to go right back in the herd. That horse blocks, blocks, blocks, stops the cow, stops the cow back and forth. And you’re on the back of that horse holding on. You’re watching that cow because whatever that cow does, your horse is going to do in a nanosecond and you had better be prepared to go 180 degrees in a nanosecond and that’s the rush that I get.”

Watson says he gets the same competitive juices flowing before the cutting horse competitions as he did in golf. Once the green light goes on, he does not get nervous.

As for his fellow competitors knowing about his life as a golfer?

“Some of them like to play golf, they really do,” he said. “But being an eight‑time major champion doesn’t get you anything when you go into that herd on your cutting horse. It’s like teeing it up the next week after winning a golf tournament. Do you tee up the next week with a five‑shot lead? No, it’s all even. It’s what can you do now. It’s not what you’ve done before.”



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