As with everyone else who follows golf, if you had told me four days ago that Tom Watson—and not Tiger Woods—would be leading the 2009 Open Championship on Saturday night, I’d have said you were crazy.
The guy is two months shy of sixty, and—aside from his Olympia Fields opening day performance at the 2003 US Open—hasn’t contended for years. And yet here he is—just 18 solid holes from his record-tying sixth Claret Jug, and a new record for oldest man to win a Major. Tom Watson is 13 years older than Old Tom Morris was when he won his sixth.
My brain says he can’t do it—that the younger talent will break through; Goggin, Fisher, Westwood or Goosen. And yet, each of those had a chance to take the lead on Saturday. But it was Tom Watson who played steadily, avoiding mistakes for the most part, and making some clutch putts.
One of the most amazing things on the telecast today was when they showed the younger Tom at Turnberry in the Duel In The Sun. His swing then doesn’t look a whole lot different than it does today. And age doesn’t seem to have diminished his distance. He’s hitting them 290+ when he wants to. Late in the round, he reached the green of the par five in two.
I want that swing.
Tom Watson already is a god in Scotland. Can you imagine what the crowds at Turnberry will be like tomorrow? Half of Scotland will be there. They’re probably coming in on trains and standing in line right now.
Good luck and God Bless Tom. History and the World Await.