Though I’m a golf fan, I rarely watch the weekly tournaments on TV; however, I always make the exception when it comes to the four golf majors held each year. The first, The Masters, is always my favorite and essentially ushures in golf season. The U.S. Open is always a great challenge and fun to watch. The British Open (now called The Open) is difficult to see schedule wise (time difference) but always a unique challenge, then you have the PGA Championship which tends to be a little of this and a dash of that.
But this year’s British Open was something different. Tom Watson, one of golf’s elder statesmen was leading the championship after three rounds and seventeen holes. Arriving at the 18th tee, he needed a par for victory and I was pulling for him with everything I had. I could taste a potential victory. Watson would become the oldest person to win a major, ever. His image would grace every sports magazine and website for months as people revelled in his victory but fate had other ideas.
He missed a 4-foot putt on the 18th to push himself into a playoff with Stuart Cink. At the conclusion of the 4-hole playoff, Watson was a full six shots behind the winner and I’m telling you, it was difficult to watch. I’m sure I, like so many others, saw a guy we all respected, a guy who deserved another championship, just become unable to execute down the stretch. I’m sure the pundits will diagnose his swing, his demeanor, his nuance and even his replacement hip as potential cause but that doesn’t interest me. I’m grateful to have watched Tom Watson fight over the course for the last four days. Though I desparately hoped he would claim his fifth British Open, I wish I could shake his hand, tell him thank you for the memories and maybe even ask him for a lesson or three. Tom Watson is a class act.