July 19, 2009

Tom Watson_5eff1.jpg

He had it right in his grasp and came oh so close. History that is. Tom Watson almost did the unthinkable today when he just fell short and lost in a four hole playoff at the British Open in Turnberry, Scotland. The odds had him at something like a 1000-1 long shot to win it before the tournament started and boy did he ever smash that betting line apart. And it all came down to the last hole of the Open. Just par the hole and take the trophy. His tee shot was great, but then he hit his second and third shots a little too hard on eighteen and he missed his 10-foot victory putt which made him lose his one stroke lead---forced the playoff and poof--lost his chance at history. it happened that fast.

In his presser he was really disappointed because he knew he had it in his hands and all competitors for the most part do not like to finish second in anything even if they're almost 60. It still was a remarkable run and one that should make us take notice and tell us that anything is possible in life. Watson was also coming off of a hip replacement this year which made it even more improbable that he had a chance to win a major. Just walking 18 holes in one day is tiring, but to do it for four straight days was simply remarkable.

Tom also should be recognized for his civil rights stance when he quit a Club because they refused to allow Jews to become members.

Which brings us to Tom Watson, one of the greatest golfers of his generation and whose heroic, but unsuccessful charge for the Claret Jug at age 59 will be long-remembered. Tom is a rock-ribbed midwesterner from Missouri, a native of Kansas City, and like his father, who taught him golf, was a lifelong member of the National Golf Club of Kansas City.

In 1990, the Club refused membership to someone because he was Jewish. Quietly, without fanfare, Watson immediately quit the Club, but made his reasons why known privately. Not until the Club dropped its exclusionary policies did Watson rejoin.

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