Tom can’t hold on as Cink seizes championship

July 19, 2009

The storybook ending was so close.

Tom Watson held on longer than anyone expected, but it just wasn’t meant to be at another Sunday at Turnberry. He hit what looked like the tournament sealing shot with an 8 iron in to the 18th, only for it to land too far and bound through the green into short rough. Watson used the flat stick but over compensated for the speed, and blew it 8 feet past.  His par putt for the championship, was a dishearteningly dreadful effort. It looked like the emotions of the surreal moment were too much for him.

It’s too bad too. For 71 and a half holes, he played beautifully, with the patience, savvy and smooth rhythmic swing that won him 5 British Opens and 8 majors in the prime of his life. This week, well past his prime, he outlasted a lot of talented young men at the top of the sport, and reminded the world that he is one of the greats to ever play.

Tom, we enjoyed the ride.

Westwood had the tournament in his grasp and stumbled, Goggin fell apart late, so did Furyk. Fisher lost it with one bad hole. Watson stood firm and made alot of putts this week, he just couldn’t make one more.. Give Cink credit. He hung in there just outside the lead, and managed to keep it under par. And when he gave himself a birdie look on the 72nd hole, he stepped up and and made the type of putt you have to make to win a major. Tiger did it last year at the Open. Cabrera’s 15 foot parr save at The Masters. Lucas Glover’s birdie at 16 at Bethpage. The list goes on.

The last time Cink, stood over a more important putt in the major was 2001 at Southern Hills. He 3 putted for double bogey, missing out on the Retief Goosen playoff by 1 stroke. Another world class player who the day did not belong to. Of the top 7 players on the board to start the day, Cink was the only one to break par with a 69, and that 1 stroke proved enough to win the title.

Weird year in the majors, with endings that leave us asking what could have been.  But what it is, ladies and gentleman is the first major for a deserving player, and person Stewart Cink, who now is validated as the fine talent that he is.

Even if its not champion everyone wanted.

1 major left this season. The way this year is going, I’m thinkin Lee Janzen could be my early favorite. Any other names to dredge up from golf’s past?

Until next time junkies,



Watson will take lead into final round

July 18, 2009

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.


Tiger falters; Watson charges back to lead

July 17, 2009

Who could have seen this coming?

Mid-way through the 2nd round Tiger Woods has shockingly fallen apart, and looks to be in extreme danger of missing the cut for just the 2nd time as a pro. He was 7 over in a stretch of 6 holes from 8 to 13, looking as out of sorts as you’ll ever see the #1 player in the world. Wind has picked up today at Turnburry making conditions far more difficult than day 1, and Tiger has hit some wildly loose shots. He lost a ball on his way to a double at 10, and made a mess around the green at 13 for another double.

Meanwhile, just as I write this post, Tom Watson, at 59 years of age, holes a 60 footer on 18 to a furious roar, that puts him tie for the lead at -5 under, and in the final group tomorrow afternoon. Watson was the story with his 65 yesterday, but with 4 straight bogeys from 4-7, the story looked over. The 5 time British Open champion, stormed back however, making birdies on 9,11,16 and a bomb moments ago on 18 for an even par 70. Unbelievable story, 32 years after winning here to be tied for the lead thru 36. Only in the game of golf my friends.

Watson will join Steve Marino in the final group tomorrow, who not many know as a household name, but that won’t be the case for long. Marino has alot of game, and is capable of putting home some low numbers, so dont be surprised if he hangs in there.

Other players to watch as we head into the weekend are Vijay Singh and Retief Goosen, major champions at 3 under. Ross Fisher is also a player to keep an eye on, he was right in the championship at Bethpage with a few holes to play. Westwood at 2 under. Furyk, Cabrera, Kaymer, and Sergio are all right in the mix at 1 under. All these players will be pleased with their position, as the leader board weeds itself in the 3rd round, anyone still under par Saturday night will likely be in excellent position headed into Sunday. Of course much is dependent on the weather as always at The British.  But anyone really at +2 or better is in pretty good shape going into tomorrow. Someone goes out early at 3 over par, its calm, they shoot 67 and post Even for the tournament. The rain and wind comes out and all of the sudden the lead is at 3 under at the end of the day. You never know.

Tom Watson is now the oldest player ever to lead a major. Wow

Check in later with more…


Five picks not named Tiger to win British Open

July 15, 2009

The third major of the season gets under way tomorrow at Turnberry in Scotland. Conventional wisdom says that Tiger is due to win his first major since the U.S Open last year; and part of me  feels he will indeed win the tournament. He’s won his last tournament before all 3 majors so far this year, and seems as precise off the tee as he has been in years. His putter  held him back at The Masters, and U.S Open despite finishing in the top 10 in both. And British Open greens typically aren’t as severe as the other majors. Still, Tiger had never played Turnberry until this week, and this is golf people; I never bet on 1 guy against the field. Here are 5 guys who I think could win not named Tiger:

Steve Stricker: Has two wins this year include last week, and could easily has four. Had trouble closing tournaments early in the year, including the Bob Hope, and at Riviera…but has time after time been in contention on Sunday afternoon. Really good driver of the ball, and an excellent putter, Stricker is in as good a form as anyone heading into the tournament.

Hunter Mahan: He’s coming off a near miraculous comeback at Tiger’s tournament, closing with 62 for 2nd place. Saw him in person at the final round of the U.S Open alongside Phil, and he was extremely impressive tee to green. If not for a couple costly 3 putts, he would have had a good chance to win. As complete a young player as their is out there, this guy will win atleast 1 major in his career, even if its not this week.

Martin Kaymer: Winner of the last 2 European tour events, Kaymer at 24 is one of the top young players worldwide. Is he ready to win a major? maybe not, but we didn’t know Ben Curtis or Todd Hamilton were until they did. It will be very interesting to see if he can carry the momentum into this week. 

Zach Johnson: Like Stricker, has 2 wins this year as been in the mix in a bunch of tournaments already this year. Tremendously accurate player, especially off the tee, his game revolves around controlling is trajectory, which you must do in British Opens. Alot depends on the weather for him though, he can have trouble moving the ball left to right if he has to.

Henrik Stenson: Final round 66 to win The Players Championship this year was a thing of beauty. This guy has already demonstrated he’s one of the top players in the world finishing 3rd in last years Open, with a backdoor top ten at Bethpage. No one will be surprised if he wins a major very soon, so why not this week?