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Where would Tom Watson winning the British Open today rank in terms of improbable sports results?

Certainly a Watson victory would be unprecedented, if only by considering the Stilwell resident's age.

Watson, who will turn 60 in September, last won a major championship in 1983, when he captured the British for a fifth time, beating Andy Bean and Hale Irwin by one stroke.

He hasn't had a top-10 finish in a major in nine years and his last top-5 finish was at the 1997 Masters, where his story was overshadowed by Tiger Woods' remarkable professional major debut and victory.

If Watson were to win today, he would become the oldest major winner by more than a decade.

Only four male golfers have won majors who were older than 44: Julius Boros, who was 48 at the 1968 PGA Championship; Jack Nicklaus, 46, '86 Masters; Old Tom Morris, 46, 1867 British Open and Irwin, 45, 1990 U.S. Open.

Watson's last victory on the regular PGA Tour came at the Colonial in 1998.

If he were to win today, he'd become the seventh golfer 50 or older to win a regular event.

At 52, Sam Snead set the record in winning the 1965 Greater Greensboro Open. Art Wall, Jim Barnes, John Barnum, Fred Funk and Craig Stadler have also won after their 50th birthdays, with Funk's victory in 2007 being the most recent.

It's been more than a year since Watson won the most recent of his 12 victories on the Champions Tour. His first victory on that circuit came two weeks after he turned 50 in 1999.

Watson is outside the top 1,000 in the World Golf Ranking because he has missed the cut in all three events — all majors — included in the current two-year ranking period.

Prior to this weekend he last made a cut in a regular PGA Tour event at the 2007 Pebble Beach Pro-Am, when he finished 19th.

Already third in the record books with a 23-year span between his first and last PGA Tour victory, Watson would vault past Raymond Floyd's 28-year span for the record.

Despite holding 1-stroke lead, Watson is still not the favorite of the British betting books. Ross Fisher and Lee Westwood are 4-1 to win the title, while Retief Goosen is at 5-1. Jim Furyk and Watson are at 7-1.

Watson began the week without even having his own betting category, simply listed as a member of the "field". His odds then entered as high as 1000-1 before shrinking to their current level.

A note of caution from recent history, however. Watson is the third golfer in the past year whose win would give him the title of oldest major winner.

Greg Norman, then 53, set the now-surpassed record of the oldest 54-hole leader at the 2008 British Open, when he held a 2-stroke lead. He carded a final-round 77 en route to a tie for third place, six shots behind winner Padraig Harrington.

Kenny Perry, 48, led much of the final round of this year's Masters before bogeys at 17 and 18 forced him into a three-way playoff, which he ultimately lost to Angel Cabrera.

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