Tom Terrific

By Jay CoffinJuly 19, 2009, 4:00 pm
135th Open Championship TURNBERRY, Scotland ' With the trophy ceremony complete, Tom Waston jumped into a buggy off Turnberrys 18th green and was whisked away to meet with the media. It was the first time in five hours that the 59-year-old legend was able to have a moment to himself.
Shear disappointment plastered all over his face, it was apparent that after a week of bathing in the Fountain of Youth, Father Time finally had caught up with him.
Tom Watson
Tom Watson put on quite a show at Turnberry. (Getty Images)
Tom Terrific injected a euphoric energy into this 138th Open Championship that it hadnt had since, well, 1977, when Watson outgunned Jack Nicklaus here in the epic Duel in the Sun. Sadly though, this time it ended differently. It was his putter that let him down, the one tool that had let him down numerous times over the years.
Watson entered the final hole of regulation with a one-shot lead, needing only to make par to grab hold of a sixth Claret Jug. After a good tee shot, Watson, amped with adrenaline, hammered an 8-iron over the back of the green where the ball rested gently against the collar of the thick rough. He chose to putt and blew it 10-feet past. Then Watson put the worst stroke on the ball of the week and the par attempt didnt sniff the hole.
In the four-hole playoff Watson fought valiantly but he butchered the par-5 17th third playoff hole and Stewart Cink cruised to his first major championship. Watson had given all he had over four miraculous days alongside the Firth of Clyde but there was nothing left to give.
It would have been a hell of a story, wouldnt it? Watson said, not wanting to believe that it was over. It wasnt to be. And yes, its a great disappointment.
Its unfortunate that this championship will be known for the one that Watson blew rather than the one that he almost won. It shouldnt be. This wasnt Norman 2008. Last year, not even Norman thought he was going to win. He had a history of disappointment in majors and there wasnt a chance in the United Kingdom that the honeymooner was walking off with the goods.
Watson 2009 was different. Way different. He always believed that he was going to win. And he was so emphatic that he made others believe he was going to win.
Saying that the week was almost spiritual, Watson showed up Thursday morning for Round 1 after receiving a text message from Barbara Nicklaus wishing him luck. He used that as motivation to shoot a 65 that only was bettered by Miguel Angel Jimenez. Rounds of 70-71 put him in the lead and in the final group on Sunday.
The beginning and the end of the final round wasnt easy on the eyes but the middle was vintage Watson. He bogeyed the first and third holes and appeared on his way down the leaderboard. But he stuck to a game plan that says for each bogey, you must make a birdie and made impressive birdies at the seventh and 11th holes.
After birdie on the 17th, Watson stood on the 18th tee after fending off the likes of Cink, Lee Westwood, Chris Wood and Mathew Goggin. Par was the only thing Watson needed to visit the promise land and put a bow on what would be considered golfs greatest moment.
But time ran out.
During the final two holes of the playoff, the gallery was as somber as a funeral.
Their adopted Scot had fought to the end but it wasnt good enough.
Im proud of the way Tom Watson played, Cink said. Not only did he show how great a golfer he is, but he showed what a great game we all play.
Watson would agree with the latter part of Cinks statement, but not the former. Hes not into moral victories. Not at his age, not from someone of his accomplishments.
Now its going to be like Jack, Watson chided about his rival, who insists he doesnt remember a shot from the 1977 Open loss. Ill never remember what the hell club I hit anytime during the whole tournament.
It tears at your gut, as it always has torn at my gut. Its not easy to take.
After his obligations with the media Watson was finally free to leave. Over the next several weeks he will undoubtedly beat himself up over his latest, and probably last, near miss at a major championship of this caliber.
But he shouldnt.
For four days at golfs oldest championship, the fields oldest player was young again.
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  • Full Coverage - The 138th Open Championship
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    How to watch The Open on TV and online

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 5:40 am

    You want to watch the 147th Open? Here’s how you can do it.

    Golf Channel and NBC Sports will be televising 182 hours of overall programming from the men's third major of the year at Carnoustie

    In addition to the traditional coverage, the two networks will showcase three live alternate feeds: marquee groups, featured holes (our new 3-hole channel) and spotlight action. You can also watch replays of full-day coverage, Thursday-Sunday, in the Golf Channel app, NBC Sports apps, and on  

    Here’s the weekly TV schedule, with live stream links in parentheses. You can view all the action on the Golf Channel mobile, as well. Alternate coverage is noted in italics:

    (All times Eastern; GC=Golf Channel; NBC=NBC Sports; or check the GLE app)

    Monday, July 16

    GC: 7-9AM: Morning Drive (

    GC: 9-11AM: Live From The Open (

    GC: 7-9PM: Live From The Open (

    Tuesday, July 17

    GC: 6AM-2PM: Live From The Open (

    Wednesday, July 18

    GC: 6AM-2PM: Live From The Open (

    Thursday, July 19

    GC: Midnight-1:30AM: Midnight Drive (

    GC: Day 1: The Open, live coverage: 1:30AM-4PM ( Day 1: The Open, Spotlight: 1:30AM-4PM ( Day 1: The Open, Marquee Groups: 4AM-3PM ( Day 1: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 4AM-3PM (

    GC: Live From The Open: 4-5PM (

    Friday, July 20

    GC: Day 2: The Open, live coverage: 1:30AM-4PM ( Day 2: The Open, Spotlight: 1:30AM-4PM ( Day 2: The Open, Marquee Groups: 4AM-3PM ( Day 2: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 4AM-3PM (

    GC: Live From The Open: 4-5PM (

    Saturday, July 21

    GC: Day 3: The Open, live coverage: 4:30-7AM (

    NBC: Rd. 3: The Open, live coverage: 7AM-3PM ( Day 3: The Open, Spotlight: 4:30AM-3PM ( Day 3: The Open, Marquee Groups: 5AM-3PM ( Day 3: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 5AM-3PM (

    GC: Live From The Open: 3-4PM (

    Sunday, July 22

    GC: Day 4: The Open, live coverage: 4:30-7AM (

    NBC: Rd. 4: The Open, live coverage: 7AM-2:30PM ( Day 4: The Open, Spotlight: 4:30AM-2:30PM ( Day 4: The Open, Marquee Groups: 5AM-2PM ( Day 4: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 5AM-2PM (

    GC: Live From The Open: 2:30-4PM (

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    The Open 101: A guide to the year's third major

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 5:30 am

    Take a look at some answers to frequently asked questions about The Open:

    What's all this "The Open" stuff? I thought it was the British Open.

    What you call it has historically depended on where you were. If you were in the U.S., you called it the British Open, just as Europeans refer to the PGA Championship as the U.S. PGA. Outside the U.S. it generally has been referred to as The Open Championship. The preferred name of the organizers is The Open.

    How old is it?

    It's the oldest golf championship, dating back to 1860.

    Where is it played?

    There is a rotation – or "rota" – of courses used. Currently there are 10: Royal Birkdale, Royal St. George's, Royal Liverpool and Royal Lytham and St. Annes, all in England; Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland and St. Andrews, Carnoustie, Royal Troon, Turnberry and Muirfield, all in Scotland. Muirfield was removed from the rota in 2016 when members voted against allowing female members, but when the vote was reversed in 2017 it was allowed back in.

    Where will it be played this year?

    At Carnoustie, which is located on the south-eastern shore of Scotland.

    Who has won The Open on that course?

    Going back to the first time Carnoustie hosted, in 1931, winners there have been Tommy Armour, Henry Cotton (1937), Ben Hogan (1953), Gary Player (1968), Tom Watson (1975), Paul Lawrie (1999), Padraig Harrington (2007).

    Wasn't that the year Hogan nearly won the Slam?

    Yep. He had won the Masters and U.S. Open that season, then traveled to Carnoustie and won that as well. It was the only time he ever played The Open. He was unable to play the PGA Championship that season because the dates conflicted with those of The Open.

    Jean Van de Velde's name should be on that list, right?

    This is true. He had a three-shot lead on the final hole in 1999 and made triple bogey. He lost in a playoff to Lawrie, which also included Justin Leonard.

    Who has won this event the most?

    Harry Vardon, who was from the Channel Island of Jersey, won a record six times between 1896 and 1914. Australian Peter Thomson, American Watson, Scot James Braid and Englishman J.H. Taylor each won five times.

    What about the Morrises?

    Tom Sr. won four times between 1861 and 1867. His son, Tom Jr., also won four times, between 1868 and 1872.

    Have players from any particular country dominated?

    In the early days, Scots won the first 29 Opens – not a shocker since they were all played at one of three Scottish courses, Prestwick, St. Andrews and Musselburgh. In the current era, going back to 1999 (we'll explain why that year in a minute), the scoreboard is United States, nine wins; South Africa, three wins; Ireland, two wins; Northern Ireland, two wins; and Sweden, one win. The only Scot to win in that period was Lawrie, who took advantage of one of the biggest collapses in golf history.

    Who is this year's defending champion?

    That would be American Jordan Spieth, who survived an adventerous final round to defeat Matt Kuchar by three strokes and earn the third leg of the career Grand Slam.

    What is the trophy called?

    The claret jug. It's official name is the Golf Champion Trophy, but you rarely hear that used. The claret jug replaced the original Challenge Belt in 1872. The winner of the claret jug gets to keep it for a year, then must return it (each winner gets a replica to keep).

    Which Opens have been the most memorable?

    Well, there was Palmer in 1961and '62; Van de Velde's collapse in 1999; Hogan's win in 1953; Tiger Woods' eight-shot domination of the 2000 Open at St. Andrews; Watson almost winning at age 59 in 2009; Doug Sanders missing what would have been a winning 3-foot putt at St. Andrews in 1970; Tony Jacklin becoming the first Briton to win the championship in 18 years; and, of course, the Duel in the Sun at Turnberry in 1977, in which Watson and Jack Nicklaus dueled head-to-head over the final 36 holes, Watson winning by shooting 65-65 to Nicklaus' 65-66.

    When I watch this tournament on TV, I hear lots of unfamiliar terms, like "gorse" and "whin" and "burn." What do these terms mean?

    Gorse is a prickly shrub, which sometimes is referred to as whin. Heather is also a shrub. What the scots call a burn, would also be considered a creek or stream.

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    Four players vying for DJ's No. 1 ranking at Open

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 18, 2018, 8:41 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Four players have an opportunity to overtake Dustin Johnson for world No. 1 this week.

    According to Golf Channel world-rankings guru Alan Robinson, Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm each can grab the top spot in the world ranking.

    Thomas’ path is the easiest. He would return to No. 1 with either a win and Johnson finishing worse than solo third, or even a solo runner-up finish as long as Johnson finishes worse than 49th.

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    Twenty years after his auspicious performance in The Open, Rose can get to No. 1 for the first time with a victory and Johnson finishing worse than a two-way tie for third.

    Kopeka can rise to No. 1 if he wins consecutive majors, assuming that his good friend posts worse than a three-way tie for third.

    And Rahm can claim the top spot with a win this week, a Johnson missed cut and a Thomas finish of worse than solo second.   

    Johnson’s 15-month reign as world No. 1 ended after The Players. He wasn’t behind Thomas for long, however: After a tie for eighth at the Memorial, Johnson blew away the field in Memphis and then finished third at the U.S. Open to solidify his position at the top.