HOYLAKE betting shop manager Tom Watson dreads his golfing namesake winning the Open - because regular punters always pop a few quid on the 500-1 shot American legend and make a joke about his name.
For Tom Watson, 32, has managed the William Hill shop in Hoylake, Wirral, since 2009 when the American golfer of the same name just missed out on winning The Open at Turnberry in a four hole play-off with Stewart Cink.
And this week Tom, 32, was horrified to witness the 64-year-old playing well during a practice round at the Royal Liverpool Golf Club – where The Open Championship begins today.
Tom said: "We’ve already had a few people on at 500-1 since the weekend backing Tom Watson and they always make a crack about my name.
"I was hoping to witness him having a nightmare on the course at Hoylake, yet it was anything other than that.
"On the first hole his second shot went into the bunker, but he hit his next shot straight out of the sand for a birdie.
"I clapped, but my heart sank faster than his putt – I’ll be getting my leg pulled all week if he’s on the leaderboard.
"I play off 11 at Bromborough Golf Club, so I’d be no match for Tom, but after all the stick I’ve had sharing his name, I’d love to play a round with him and pick up some tips.
"Personally I’d like to see Tiger Woods win it again like he did in 2006 when he took Hoylake by storm and this year he’s 22-1 with us.
"But Adam Scott at 16-1 is a solid bet and the World Number One and was hitting the ball well in practice on the Sunday and Monday.
"If Tiger came back to his best after the operation then you’ll get a great run for your money and we’re playing seven places at Hills.
"Since Tiger turned pro our 22-1 is the biggest price he’s ever been in a Major tournament since he started in 1996.
"I am exactly half the age of the other Tom Watson, but would love to be worth half as much as him. He’s got a net worth of around £11 million and I am a lot closer to 11 quid than that figure.
"He got a degree in psychology at Stanford University and I got my degree in Sports Management at Coventry, but having decent degrees and a love of golf is just about all we have in common. I don’t get a chauffeur driven Mercedes Benz to the course when I come here.
"I’ve been working for William Hill since 2004 and he’s been earning millions on the professional golf circuit since before I was born.
"When I saw Tom playing his practice round with Matt Kuchar and he was hitting the ball further I was amazed.
"It wasn’t really the display I was hoping for, but we’ll have some very happy customers in the shop if he wins it".
Promotions girls Samantha Laughton, 23, and Verity Birkett, 31, got to grips with the other Tom Watson’s golf balls outside the William Hill shop on the main road in Hoylake, just 500 yards from the Royal Liverpool Golf Club in the town – where the greats of golf are competing this week for The Open Championship.
William Hill spokesman Rupert Adams said: "We have 2,390 shops nationwide and there is only one of them where Tom Watson is a big loser for us - the shop in Hoylake, where Tom Watson happens to also be the name of the manager.
"I don’t think he’ll get the sack if Tom wins the Open, but his staff bonus might not be so great".
William Hill odds on major players in The Open Championship: Justin Rose 14-1; Henrik Stenson/Adam Scott 16-1; Rory McIlroy 18-1; Tiger Woods/Martin Kaymer 22-1 Phil Mickelson/Sergio Garcia 25-1; Graeme McDowell/Jordan Spieth 28-1; Bubba Watson 45-1; Lee Westwood 60-1 and Tom Watson 500-1.