A sixty year old Tom Watson, 25 years removed from his 5th British Open triumph will take a 1 stroke lead into the final round this year in search of his sixth claret jug. This a truly phenomenal story. Watson, has driven the ball fantastic all week, has holed a bunch of putts, and his unmatched links savvy has allowed him to hang atop a leaderboard of the best young men his sport has to offer.
If Watson can keep his emotions under control, and hole putts like he has the first 3 days, he will have a chance to achieve a victory so remarkable, its difficult to put in perspective. It certainly would go down as one of the greatest accomplishments in sports history. This is a man who last won a major when Reagan was in office, and Tiger Woods was six years old. An all time player reminding us his greatness hasn’t left him.
I’ll try not to allow my brain to explode, and first allow the tournament to unfold tomorrow. There are several world class players right in striking distance. Ross Fisher is just 1 back at 3 under. Westwood and Goosen are in great position at 2 under, along with Cink and Furyk just 3 off the pace. I said yesterday someone would post even par with a good round early and be right in the mix for sunday, and that player was Bryce Molder; who shot a 3 under 67 to get to even par for the championship. That 67 was the best round of the day by 2 shots, and vaulted Molder from a Tie for 53rd at the start of the day, to a tie for 8th just 4 back. Thats why they call it moving day people.
This is how major championships play out. Conditions were just as difficult as day 2 with a stroke average above 73, so if you can hang on for pars then your going to keep yourself in the championship. Look at the leaderboard and it will come as no surprise the names of the players that remain from the start of the day. Furyk, Cink, Goosen and Westwood, did exactly what they wanted, grinding out rounds of 70 or 71 to put themselves in prime position to win tomorrow with a good round. Remember, a round of even par 70 gained 3 strokes on the field today. Guys such as Stenson, Cabrera, and Singh also can’t be ruled out just 5 or 6 shots back.
The tournament is going to be wide open tommorow, and anything can happen in links golf played under windy conditions. Players will tell themselves that -3 under should at least get them in a playoff, so everyone around even par knows if they shoot under par they are going to have a good chance to win the golf tournament.
As for predicting the outcome, there are too many good players up there to name a favorite. I like Fisher’s game a lot and with a gun to my head I’d pick him. But Furyk and Goosen are U.S Open champions, and Westwood should have a major on his resume. It’s going to be very interesting to see who steps up on the back 9 tommorow, and if old Tom can hang on.
I’ll be back to rap up the tournament with some final thoughts after the champion is crowned. I hope the people who don’t watch golf tune in to see something potentially special. A 6o year old has a chance to win at the pinnacle of his sport. I don’t care if you like golf or not, it’s something you want to witness.
If he falls apart, you can turn it off if you want.
For all the golf junkies out there
Enjoy the weekend.