Tom Watson's Historic Open

It’s interesting to see what can happen when the tour guys play a real gamey test like Turnberry. To see
some of the games real shot makers given a chance to show their goods… Tom Watson certainly has enough
experience to play the types of shots such a classic course requires…

It was nice to see Calc up there too…

See what the weekend brings…

It’s interesting to see that when these guys spray the driver over there, they might even lose a golf ball rather than
have a half decent lie and be able to spin the ball from nowhere land. Tiger couldn’t get away with his usual “off
the planet” drivers and took an early exit.

Didn’t he use mostly all irons last time he was winning over there?

I hope everyone enjoyed that wonderful Open…
Exciting, dramatic, historic… everything you could want as a spectator.

Although many are disappointed by the outcome hoping Watson could have pulled off one of the greatest feats in sports history… I say this…

We all got to see this kind of story because this is much closer to what golf should be.

This is a golf course that allows an experienced player like Watson to compete head to head with the younger stars regardless of age.

Fine shot making, strategy, meticulously managing of the golf ball through the hazards and pitfalls of Turnberry is what made the week exciting.

Watson himself said post interview that even The Masters doesn’t excite him anymore due to the way the course is set up… so long.

It’s something to think about.

As the game turns it’s back on the historic courses that made golf a wonderful player’s and spectators experience … I think it’s much sadder to see golf change to the bomb and gouge game than to see Tom come up ever so short in his historic attempt.

If The Open had followed suit of the American trend, we wouldn’t have seen what we did this week, and for that I am thankful… because golf this way is much more interesting.

Tom didn’t lose The Open on 18 although he may have felt he did. He lost it on the third playoff hole with an errant tee shot… because errant tee shots should be penalized… in the same way it sent the other TW packing his bags on Friday.

Cink hit all the fairways in the playoff, and 3 of 4 greens including two birdies. That’s why he won, and rightfully so.

I think there is a much bigger lesson here for all to contemplate.

Yep, amazing stuff…weather wasn’t awful, greens were not lightning fast, and still 2 under par was your champion. Accuracy needs to count for something, it used to. Even though they say Nicklaus was awesome from the rough, he didn’t just line up and go bombs away each hole. He knew fairways were the golden rule but had enough strength and talent to escape the rough when he actually found it. It makes no sense that the highest ranked golfers in the world Woods, Singh, Mickelson are statistically near last in fairway accuracy percentage.
Tiger even lost a ball !!! I don’t know when the last time Tiger lost a ball was- probably at another British Open a few years back at Muirfield.
We saw at Turnberry on the whole bad lies for missed fairways- we saw greens releasing and not stopping on the spot- we saw tricky little bunker shots around the green- just enough penalty to encourage good shots and hurt a poor shot.
Links golf is great stuff. Anyone who can control their ball in all situations has a shot at winning. 59 year old legends and even a 16 year old Italian amateur.
It’s great to see golf played without wedges in the hand and not the normal he who holes the most putts wins.
I wish Watson had won and matched Vardon’s 6 victories- but what a story anyhow.

I was in Watson’s corner the whole tournament and was truly disappointed as everyone else that he didn’t pull it off. But, I really think he lost it on 18. Donald Ross said that every hole should present a different problem for the golfer. On TV, the problem with 18 looked like it was the making the correct decision on the line of play based upon the amount of trailing wind and hardness of the landing area. The more you aim at the pin; the more you bring the trouble short left and long into play. The more right you play of the pin; the more the humps and bumps come into play to slow your ball down.

Similar to Lag’s long game emphasis, I think mental and short game mistakes should be penalized as well. His second shot on 18 was a fractional mental mistake to me. He had The Open in hand if he could make par with an 8-iron from the 72nd fairway. Tom could have chosen a more conservative line, played for the front right of the green and take on last challenge of two putting from 35 feet. So I give that a .25 of a shot mental mistake where Tom took the designer’s bait and played boldly. Now on his third shot he didn’t hit a very good approach. Whether it was the wrong club, the wind, the lie or the pressure of the situation I don’t know. I give this another invisible .5 of a shot short game execution mistake plus he wouldn’t have to think about any of these conditions if he played to the front right of the green. Then his putt from 8 feet was a pretty feeble attempt and give this a rating of a .5 shot mistake. These mistakes add up to 1.25 shots in my scoring book and are where The Open was lost. Too bad, it would have been one of the greatest golf stories scripted right before our eyes.

It will be a waste if Tom Watson’s “losing” performance yesterday eventually drifts into golf history’s dustbin. Most of the time, for most second places, that’s fair enough. Not this time.

Tom Watson obviously thrashed a trainload of highly-priced butt yesterday, but the story line in my newspaper this morning said his performance was UNEXPECTED! Why is that? Because he is 59? Or his name is not Tiger Woods (whose early exit was truly unexpected)?

Why did most of the golfing planet assume that Tom Watson could not average par for four days on a course like Turnberry? Isn’t that what Tom Watson has done most of his life? Was it merely a statistical anomaly?

Tom told us in a post-championship press interview that he entered the Open believing he had a chance to win. If he had said the same before the championship, most of the planet would have dismissed it. Tom Watson also told us he does not, and will not, compete as a ceremonial participant. People who know Tom Watson will tell us he does not float around in a cloud of self-delusion.

A player, especially Tom Watson, who can play par golf at a course like Turnberry, has a chance to win, particularly if he is experienced, highly intelligent, fears no opponent, and is battle tested by the likes of Jack Nicklaus. Tom Watson’s competitors, especially other champions, must know that he, as a champion, is outside the box where the unexpected instead is a genuine possibility, both in Tom Watson’s mind and spirit, and in reality if he has decided to enter a contest.

Tom’s second place at the Open deserves a timeless memory in the annals of golf lore as a great highlight. That is partly, but only partly, because he is almost 60 years old, but more, it is because he has proven, better than anyone else today, his championship fighting spirit is ageless.

Those are some good insights Mashie…

I have not played the course, so to understand that line from the fairway on 18 is a fair observation… it was a tough chip up the hill… not his best, but under the circumstances, not the worst effort. Of course it wasn’t the miracle shot either that we saw from Mize or even Watson himself at Pebble… which I saw in person with my own eyes.

To Watson’s credit…
The fact that NO ONE beat Tom Watson for 72 holes in this major championship is one of the greatest human feats of all time. Nothing changes my feeling about this… whether he actually won the event or not… What he DID is AMAZING enough for me… If he is not “The Man of the Year” in every sports publication that covers golf he certainly should be.

Golf is golf…

Watson played the 18th like a champion would… a great drive and flushed his iron right at the pin landing it into the front portion of the green… it looked like he had a lot of green to work with… he certainly knows this golf course… so it’s hard to second guess the line he took… maybe he pulled the shot some? who knows… but we have all seen worse shots from players over the years hitting into the bleachers or grandstands.

The ball rolls over… that’s golf… his execution was more than acceptable if not fabulous.

It was a tough up and down… and I’m sure the moment got to him a bit on 18 with the putt to win… in 1977 he would have canned it …

He had a chance to win on 18 yes… but he lost it in the playoff with the hooked drive on the third playoff hole…

If he hits that fairway… different story… he probably hits first and if he sticks one in there… that changes things for Cink considerably. We know he had choke in him from past efforts.

The great thing about this whole scenario is that it shows that a golf course CAN BE SET UP TO PUNISH the errant drives…

Tiger and his “I hit it all over the park crap” goes home on Friday AS HE SHOULD!!!

Golf SHOULD be a game of ball placement… exactly what Watson did all week…

This course was set up perfect for a major test… accuracy, accuracy, accuracy with lots of options to allow players to express their personal strengths and styles…

This is why we got to see a 59 year old legend come into the final round with all the experience and beat all the young guns.

2 under par wins the event without the greens having to be tricked up to something stupidly fast and undulating…

This is great stuff… and what Watson did was more impressive at 59 than any of the majors he won as a younger man…

Most all the guys his age are either retired even from the Seniors tour…or talking about how good they used to be…

Watson loves golf… plays the game for all the right reasons, and gave us one of the greatest displays of passion and courage that any golfer has ever mustered up including Tiger…

One of the greatest spectacles in sports I have seen… nothing short of wonderfully inspiring to millions…


There was a good Watson interview on The Golf Channel a couple of nights ago. Hopefully it will be replayed ( over and over).

Not only was Watson good to see and hear, he has an instructional DVD out and he gave some swing tips. And it reminded me of the earlier days of the Golf Channel when they had stuff I enjoyed more than their present content.