Watson gets U.S. Open exemption

Tom Watson, who won the 1982 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach and contended for much of last week's Masters, will play in this year's U.S. Open thanks to a special exemption from the United States Golf Association.

Watson has played in the previous four U.S. Opens held at Pebble Beach -- in 1972, '82, '82 and 2000. He hasn't played in the U.S. Open since 2003, when he led after 18 holes before finishing tied for 28th.

"I am deeply grateful to the USGA for extending me the invitation to play in the U.S. Open at one of my favorite golf courses in the world, Pebble Beach Golf Links," Watson said in a statement released by the USGA. "Some of my life's favorite times have been spent near Stillwater Cove. I know there will be more this coming June."

Watson lost the Open Championshp in a playoff last year. He shot 67 in the opening round of last week's Masters and ended up in a tie for 18th.

Watson, 60, has eight major titles to his credit and has played in 30 U.S. Opens. He's a two-time runner-up in addition to his 1982 title at Pebble Beach.