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Tom Watson leaves a final Masters tribute to his caddie who died of ALS

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In his last Masters, Tom Watson pays tribute to his longtime caddie on the 12th anniversary of his death.

Tom Watson played his first played the Masters in 1970 as an amateur. It was the first of many memorable marches for Watson at Augusta National. He missed the cut in his first attempt, but would later win two green jackets in the process of becoming one of the best golfers of all time.

This year, Watson is playing his final Masters, an event with a course that he says has "outgrown" his old-man game. No doubt, Watson has spent the week reflecting on history at Augusta National -- his favorite rounds, shots and people here.

One of those people is Bruce Edwards, Watson's caddie from 1973 to 1989 and 1992 to 2003. Edwards was by Watson's side for most of his legendary career.

In 2003, Edwards was diagnosed with ALS. The grind of being a professional caddie was too much. He could no longer work with Watson and in 2004, he died.

As an homage to Edwards, Watson has left an egg salad sandwich, an Augusta National staple and Edwards favorite, on the 13th tee. Edwards would always eat one of the sandwiches at the start of the 13th hole. When Edwards died, leaving a sandwich became part of the routine for Watson at Augusta. "That's part of the tradition, my Masters tradition," Watson said.

Today Watson made sure to honor his friend one last time, coincidentally on the same day Edwards passed away 12 years ago.

"Bruce, I'll leave the egg salad sandwich on the 13th tee on that bench on Thursday,'' Watson said. "He had ALS and he struggled and struggled. I saw him in February the year he died, and he checked out on the morning of the Masters. Just perfect, perfect timing for him. He checked out. He said, ‘All right, take it forward, Tom.' He loved the game. He loved to caddie and he loved to caddie here more than any place in the world.''

Watson posted a respectable 2-over 74 today, finishing a full six shots ahead of superstar Rickie Fowler. Watson will continue to fight to play the weekend and make his final walk up the 18th on Sunday rather than Friday. With weather conditions likely to deteriorate, Watson could move up the leaderboard as the first round progresses.