BRIEF-Golf-Watson accepts U.S. Open invitation

NEW YORK, April 13 Tue Apr 13, 2010 6:05pm BST

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NEW YORK, April 13 (Reuters) - Tom Watson will play the U.S. Open for the first time in seven years after accepting a special exemption to take part in the 2010 championship at Pebble Beach.

The 60-year-old American has competed at the four previous U.S. Opens held at Pebble Beach, California, winning the title in 1982, and agreed to return after the United States Golf Association (USGA) granted him an exemption from qualifying.

"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," Watson said in a statement released by the USGA on Tuesday.

Watson has won eight major championships and came agonisingly close to adding a ninth when he finished runner-up at last year's British Open. The U.S. Open starts on June 17.

(Reporting by Julian Linden; Editing by Ed Osmond. To query or comment on this story email sportsfeedback@thomsonreuters.com) (julian.linden@thomsonreuters.com; +1 646-552-9780. Reuters Messaging: julian.linden.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net; For the sports blog Left Field go to: blogs.reuters.com/sport/)) Please click on the newslink: [GOLF-LEN] for more golf stories

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