Tom Watson's new DVD, Lessons of a Lifetime, begins with our man on Pebble Beach's 17th tee in the 1982 U.S. Open in need of two pars to force a playoff with Jack Nicklaus. After Watson's tee shot into the rough, ABC's Jack Whitaker tells a glowing Nicklaus that he's "on the verge of a fifth Open." Then we see Tom's famous chip-in and, for good measure, his birdie on 18 too.
Golf cred firmly established, Watson proceeds to systematically teach the game, and he is what makes the lessons work so well. He's authoritative yet friendly (he'd be a delight in the TV booth if he ever stops almost winning British Opens), has passion and keeps the material brilliantly simple.
He shares the knowledge accumulated from Stan Thirsk, his childhood teacher; his father, Ray; and players such as Nicklaus, Byron Nelson and Sam Snead. The DVD rates the ultimate compliment: The tips are terrific for beginners and good players alike. I couldn't watch the second of this two-disk set before a visit to the range to work on my grip.
The first disk covers the full swing, and Watson gets an A-plus for explaining golf lingo that might confuse beginners, including swing plane, target line and spine angle. The second disk focuses on the short game, and it shows why the phrase Watson par came to define an unlikely up and down. The disk begins with Watson back at Pebble's 17th green. His second demo chip from the famous spot dives into the hole. "Yeah!" Watson exclaims with a smile. His Lessons of a Lifetime merits the same pleased reaction.