Absolutely Gut Ripping
Jul 19, 2009 12:00 PM ET
Do you ever remember feeling so pancake flat during a playoff, a playoff for goodness sakes at a major? Ever recall being so damn close to elation, one-straight-ahead-par away from elation, and then so utterly deflated as you were watching Tom Watson lose his grip on the greatest story in the whole history of the sport? Crushing. Absolutely gut ripping, soul sucking, crushing.
Stewart Cinks a major winner and a major spoiler, the third this year in fact. Its been, to quote Golf Channel producer Scott Lee, the season of sad endings. Kenny Perry lost the Masters, Phil Mickelson the U.S. Open and now Watson at Turnberry.
Watson peeled off two great shots in his post-round press conference. He opened perfectly by saying, Its not a funeral for goodness sakes. Later, he explained that hed always hoped at the end of his career his peers would say, 'That Watson was a helluva player.' They will say that, Tom.
Lee Westwood, three bogeys in the last four holes with a three-putt at 18, might have a sleepless night or two in the next week. Hes building some scar tissue at majors.
Cink was the poster boy for a generation of big money winners without the big victories. Not any more. He was brilliant down the stretch with four birdies over the last nine including a rare three at 18. In the playoff he performed as though hed won 10 of these.
It shouldnt concern Cink, but this will always be viewed as the one a 59-year-old almost won.
I didnt miss Tiger Woods this weekend, did you?
Links golf makes the British Open really the only one of the four majors where this could happen. Even Watson acknowledges that at beefy Augusta hes nothing more than a ceremonial player, and thats a shame.
A 16-year-old is low amateur, a 59-year-old the runner up, and a 36-year-old the winner. Only in golf.
After Greg Norman and Watson, whats next? Seve Ballesteros returns to St. Andrews and makes a run?
Peter Oosterhuis figures Watsons 8-iron at 18 may have been a foot too long. This game can be so cruel.
Twenty-one-year-old Chris Wood looks like a star in the making. He also, according to Kelly Tilghman, looks like Prince Harry.
Itll be forgotten soon enough, but Watsons up-and-down at six in the playoff was epic. Hope lived. Then died just as suddenly with the drive at 17.
Jack Nicklaus holds the record with major wins 24 years apart, from 1962 to 1986. Watson could have gone 10 better, from 75 to '09.
Watson winning at 59 might well have been one of sports unbreakable records, like Joe Dimaggios 56-game hitting streak.
Whats the more famous major: the 'Duel in the Sun' in 77 at Turnberry, or the 'Old Man by the Sea' in '09 at Turnberry?
Barring another crazy development ' and you never know in golf ' its safe to say we just witnessed the story of the year.
Oosterhuis, always elegant in his analysis, gets the last word on this. Its simple and spot on for many, saying, I wish hed won.
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