The 62-year-old is as much a part of this great golfing theatre as the landmark lighthouse that stands sentry-like over the famous ninth hole or the giant granite monolith of Ailsa Craig that provides a sombre, majestic backdrop to this enchanting links venue.
From the elation of his Duel in the Sun triumph over Jack Nicklaus in the 1977 Open to the anguish of his play-off defeat to Stewart Cink in the 2009 championship, the Ailsa course will forever hold a special place in the eight-time major winner's heart.
This July, Watson will return to his cherished old Ayrshire haunt for the Senior British Open. It will be his first competitive visit since that quite astonishing week three years ago when he came within an eight-foot putt of becoming the oldest major winner at the age of 59.
Of course, for those who like their sporting occasions steeped in romance, there would be bitter disappointment. Watson faltered on the 72nd hole and Cink, 23 years his junior, would go on to plunder the Claret Jug, claim a victory for reality rather than fantasy and be swiftly labelled as the man who had shot Santa Claus.
For Watson, who won four of his five Opens on Scottish soil, the memories of those remarkable few days will never diminish and the uplifting response he received from the wider golfing public will always provide a great source of consolation and satisfaction.
"That week only increased my love for the place," reflected Watson, during a telephone press conference at Turnberry last night to promote this year's over-50s showpiece.
"Going into the week I was playing very well but my putting was poor. Then on Tuesday I changed my putting and suddenly started making everything. So at the beginning of the competition I told my wife 'I can win this tournament.' It wasn't just a bragging statement, there were a couple of things in the mix that made me believe it.
"Of course, on the Sunday I was distraught. It tears your guts out when something like that happens.
"I remember on 18 when the ball was in the air, I said 'just like 77'. It was going right at the flag but with the uncertainty of links golf, maybe a gust of wind took it a bit further than it was supposed to.
"So I felt extreme disappointment that night but the one good thing that came of that was the response of people around the world.
"I had thousands of people writing to me and the common theme was along the lines of 'I too am older and had given up playing golf or had quit doing something that I felt I was too old to do. But you have given me so much hope that I'm going back to work at it and try to do it again'."
Some three decades earlier, Watson's love affair with the Ailsa course had taken hold when, amid a barrage of birdies, he pipped Nicklaus to the Open crown by a shot as a wonderful exhibition of skill and sportmanship from both players reached an unforgettable conclusion.
"The most poignant memory I have of Turnberry is walking off the green after I had sunk the putt and Jack grabbed me around the neck real hard," recalled Watson. "I mean it wasn't just a pat or an arm on the shoulder, he grabbed me and screwed my neck and said 'Tom I gave you my best shot but it wasn't good enough. Congratulations.'
"Coming from the greatest player, that meant more to me than probably winning the championship itself."
In his senior years, Turnberry has continued to provide pleasure. Watson won the first of his three Senior British Open titles over the Ailsa course in 2003 (the other two arrived at Muirfield and Royal Aberdeen) and he will venture back again at the end of July.
For the 30,000 or so who are expected to follow the action over the four days, the Kansas veteran is hoping he'll be in a bit better fettle than he was yesterday. "I have a nerve strength problem in my right hand," he revealed. "It was caused by mowing for a number of hours at my farm back home. I can't grip the golf club properly but the doctors say the strength will come back in time.
"I assume that I'll be ready and able to play in July and that Turnberry will give me another one of those great challenges to win again."
Hopefully it provides a few more memories to treasure too.