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Turnberry Playoff


I can’t watch. I hoped, but didn’t expect, Tom Watson to win. I kept my emotions in check. But when he hit his approach to 17, needing to birdie the par 5 and then par 18 to win, I couldn’t control myself anymore. Lee Westwood, a hole ahead, was at -2, as was Stewart Cink, in the clubhouse. Watson was also at -2. But Westwood was in trouble on a fairway bunker and ultimately made bogey to finish at -1. Watson got his birdie at 17 to move to -3. A par would win. A bogey would put him in a playoff with Cink. And I started wishing retroactively that Cink had missed his birdie put on 18 twenty minutes earlier, for if he had, Watson would have a two stroke cushion and a bogey would win. Instead, Watson needed to par 18 to avoid a playoff.

Watson hit a good drive, but then, sigh, he put too much into his approach to 18, which hit the green and rolled over. I was slamming the table in frustration, disappointment, fear. Gail told me to leave the room. I said he would probably hit it 8 feet past and need an 8 foot putt to win. That’s what happened. Still, maybe he’d make it. He didn’t. My heart sank. It wasn’t even close. A poorly struck putt.

I then did leave the room. My greatest golf-watching disappointment in decades. I didn’t want him to fall into a playoff. Everything would favor the younger and better-rested Cink. Under almost any other circumstance, I would love to see Cink win, but not today.

It’s a four-hole playoff at the Open, then sudden-death if necessary. I went back to the TV to see their putts on the first playoff hole. Cink parred; Watson bogeyed. I don’t think I can watch anymore though.

As I wrote last night, golf was created to dash hopes. Too painful.

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