Thursday, July 16, 2009

Can Watson win? Never say never

Can Tom Watson win this British Open?

Logic says no.

He's 59 years old, his putting stroke gets shaky under pressure and he has 54 more holes to play at Turnberry, where the conditions aren't likely to be softer than they were Thursday when Watson surged to the top of the leader board for much of the day.

Golf, as anyone who's ever played it knows, isn't logical.

Want to hit it a long way? Swing easy.

A 300-yard drive and a six-inch putt count the same on a scorecard.

So, yes, Watson can win this weekend.

It's not likely. Last year, 53-year old Greg Norman teased us by leading after three rounds only to stumble coming in. He played beautifully but it wasn't enough.

Watson is a different case. He's won five British Opens, three Senior British Opens and comes alive in Scotland.

If the weather turns nasty, as it can quickly do, it may work in Watson's favor. He's one of the all-time great bad weather players. At 59, the larger question may be whether his old bones can hold up to the conditions, not if his game can.

Not that he needed to but Watson reminded us again Thursday of what a special player he has been through the years.

If he fades from the scene this weekend, that's okay. He's given us a thrill already.

But wouldn't it be something if Watson has a little magic left after all these years.