Cink won, but the rest of us lost with Watson

BY foxsports • July 21, 2009

It was with heavy heart and moist eyes that I watched the playoff for the 138th Open Championship.

It might have been one of the saddest things I've ever seen in sports.

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By the time Tom Watson, his legs shot, butchered the third playoff hole — handing the Claret Jug to Stewart Cink — and then sent his tee shot on the final hole sailing into the stands, I wanted to run out onto the Turnberry links, throw down a white towel and whisk him away.

It was over and everyone knew it and Tom Watson didn't deserve to have to endure another moment of humiliation.

Those four holes will rank in the annals of sporting cruelty along with leaving Willie Mays in center field when he could no longer shag a fly ball, letting Joe Namath heave interceptions for the Rams or, worst of all, standing by while the great Ali was pummeled by unworthy hacks like Trevor Berbick.

This was, of course, not the way it was supposed to end.

Thomas Sturges Watson was to author a real-life fairytale and the greatest story in golf — a 59-year-old winning a sixth British Open and his first major since 1983. A story so immense it has no equal.

And in doing so, he was to single-handedly prove to us that the years can not always weary our heroes.

That despite their weathered brows and sagging skin, their failing eyesight and the atrophy of those once-toned muscles, it's the heart of the champion which beats within which truly separates them.

And so when Watson strode to the 72nd green through the wind and sunshine of a pleasant Sunday on the Scottish coast, standing on the precipice of sporting immortality, by God, he was walking for all of us.

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