The Open: Tom Watson delighted at 'very special' 2015 exemption

Tom Watson
Tom Watson could be playing in the Open, 40 years after winning his first title

Five-time Open winner Tom Watson has described his joy at receiving an exemption to play in the 2015 event.

The American, 64, finished second in 2009 to secure his place in the tournament for the next five years.

But the R&A, the sport's governing body, has extended that by a year until 2015 - 40 years after Watson's first Open win.

"I appreciate this more than you know. This is something very special for me," said USA Ryder Cup captain Watson.

"I have not lost the feeling of going down to the first tee at the start of a competition. When I lose that feeling it is over.

"I'm losing some of the distance of my shots, but I can hit the ball well."

Watson won the Open in 1975, 1977, 1980, 1982 and 1983 and will be playing at Royal Liverpool in this year's event, which starts on 17 July.

He has also won the Masters twice and the US Open once and says playing the 2015 Open at St Andrews would be the perfect way to end his career.

"I will be there, even if I have to drag myself there," added Watson.

Tom Watson
Tom Watson has won the Open on five occasions - 1975, 1977, 1980, 1982 and 1983

"Some of my finest memories in golf have come from playing in the Open Championship.

"I am very proud and honoured to be given this opportunity to play once again in St Andrews next year. It is a special place for everyone in golf."