I received an e-mail Sunday afternoon from a friend who said that watching Tom Watson lose the Open Championship the way he did was the most disappointing thing he'd ever seen in sports.
It certainly felt that way.
A day later and the disappointment is lingering like a hangover.
Nothing against Stewart Cink, obviously, who has been a very good player for a long time and, if you've ever been around him, you'd be very happy for him because he's a really good guy.
Plus, he won the championship as much as Watson lost it. Consider this: Of the players who started the final round within five strokes of the lead -- there were 13 of them -- only one broke par.
Still, this was Watson's moment. The first three days it was a sweet story about a 59-year old guy hanging around at Turnberry, rekindling memories of his glory days. Then it became Watson's tournament to win.
When his tee shot on the 72nd hole found the fairway, I thought he would win. When he missed the green long, I still thought he would win. When he had an eight-footer to win, I thought his chance had passed.
When it went to a playoff, I confess I quit watching. I didn't want to see it end the way it did -- plus I was out of town and had a long drive home. (In the spirit of full disclosure, I did listen to it on the radio where the brilliant British announcers didn't attempt to hide their disappointment).
The fact Watson lost the playoff by six strokes to Cink doesn't matter. When it went to a playoff, the outcome seemed preordained.
It had taken so much for Watson to get there and, given the chance to finish the story, he couldn't. The emotional impact had to be immense.
In his post-game media session, Watson talked about how the loss "tears at his gut."
He wasn't alone.
Monday, July 20, 2009
Posted by Observer Sports at 10:26 AM