There is but one big reason much of America will wake up early this morning and watch the Open Championship.
I’m here for that reason and to chronicle the rest.
As always, I’m following and covering not only the action on the course but Jason Sobel’s excellent live blog.
Join me after the jump.
8:26 AM EST: Rory McIlroy throws an iron to within ten feet and gets called “the young maestro.” I am going to love this TV coverage.
8:30: Angel Cabrera tees off. He could shoot a double snowman (88) today, and yet he’s still had an unequivocally better season of majors than Tiger Woods.
Bizarre to think that El Pato tops El Tigre in that respect.
8:32: The final pairing, Watson and Matthew Goggin, tees off at 9:20 Eastern.
The announcer (maybe Peter Alliss?), remarking on Watson’s age: “He’s nearly 60. But it’s like when my wife buys anything for 99 pounds or quid, it’s always 99, never 100.”
8:36: Very goosebumpy bumper ad commercial for the 2010 Open Championship at St. Andrews.
8:38: Please, ESPN, please do not ruin Tom Watson by over-covering him today. No naked ratings grab should besmirch or derail what could possibly be the best story of the year in sports.
But let Watson’s impressive achievement, regardless of age, be his own today. Let that breathe.
8:42: Cialis ad. Classy.
8:44: A reminder: Follow Dan Jenkins on Twitter. I may use his tweets as source material here.
8:45: My pick on Friday was Watson or Camilo Villegas. I’ll stand by that.
8:47: Already magical today: Paul Lawrie, 1999 Open Championship winner, plopped a 2-iron in the cup from the fairway on the par 5 No. 7. That’s a double eagle, folks.
8:49: Nothing, and I mean nothing, represents the Open Championship at its regal best like a commercial for ABC’s “Crash Course.”
8:50: A Tom Rinaldi piece on Turnberry’s wartime makeover for both World Wars: It’s supposed to be moving and weepy, but it seemed almost antiseptic. They should’ve used the veteran to introduce the piece.
8:56: Because I haven’t linked it yet: ESPN’s auto-updating scoreboard.
Low men on this day: Ernie Els, 16-year-old Italian amateur Matteo Manassero, and American Jeff Overton, all -3 for their Sundays.
8:59: We have our first golf-to-other-sport comparison: Curtis Strange says Watson’s feat so far is like a no-hitter in the seventh inning. That seems a little off.
9:04: A commercial for a bank I’ve never heard of? It must be 2009.
9:05: “The Open Championship, brought to you by RBS, IBM, BMW, and Alphabet Soup.”
9:06: Hello, Rick Reilly essay.
9:08: Okay, I still hate Reilly’s voice. But that was a well-done essay.
Two tidbits: 64 players in this field weren’t out of wombs when Watson edged Nicklaus in 1977; Watson was inducted into golf’s Hall of Fame two years before I was born. This is astonishing stuff.
9:10: The first tee announcer still sounds like Inspector Clouseau munching on cotton.
9:12: And with Brits Ross Fisher and Lee Westwood in the fairway on No. 1, there is just one pairing left to begin the final round.
9:14: The feed I’m watching just had a local ad for a golf course that may have cost $10.
9:17: Watson strolls to the tee to a splendid reception.
9:19: Fisher hits a great iron to the center of the green on No. 1.
This entire enterprise is a meta tightrope.
9:22: And Fisher sinks his birdie. He’s tied for the lead with Watson at -4.
9:24: From Sobel, eloquence:
9 a.m. ET: This is why we watch sports. This is why we’re fans. This is why we hope and dream. Why we never give up. Why we root for the underdog, the story.
This is why you went to bed last night with your heart beating just a little bit faster, like that first time you fell in love as a teenager. It’s why you woke up this morning and didn’t roll out of bed, but bounced, eagerly awaiting the day’s events. This is why you could have skipped that morning cup of coffee, already caffeinated by anticipation. This is why you’ve either turned off your phone so as not to be bothered or left it on in order to live the moment with family and friends.
This is why your memory is now working overdrive, images of Tom Watson’s career flooding back. It’s why you can’t wait to rewind that old VHS tape of Jack Nicklaus’ final round at the 1986 Masters and compare the historic relevance of each day. Why you hope your golfing buddy takes the opposing viewpoint, just so you can debate the topic at the 19th hole later on.
Forget about golf, though. This is why you’ve been wracking your brain for 48 hours, trying to come up with the most memorable sports moments of your life. It’s why you’ll be watching a golf tournament and thinking about the Miracle on Ice. And why you absolutely, positively can’t wait to see if today’s final result trumps them all.
With a victory at the Open Championship today, Watson would rewrite so many record books that, well, they’ll have to publish a new record book just to house ‘em all. He would be the oldest major champion — by 11 years — at the age of 59. He would tie Harry Vardon for the all-time lead with his sixth Claret Jug. And he would be right at the top of your greatest memories of watching sports.
This story is the sort of thing that make the Mark Twain axiom about writing (“Fiction’s harder than fact, because fiction has to make sense”) seem like the truest thing ever said.
And I’m happy to be sharing it with you.
9:31: There are multiple blimps hovering over the course. That’s weird, right?
9:32: Hello, Ross Fisher!
A miracle save from a bad lie on No. 2 rolls in for birdie; he moves to -5 and claims sole ownership of the lead. If it turns into a Fisher v. Watson duel, the age storyline’s a great one: Fisher’s wife is nine months pregnant, and Watson is older than the British Isles themselves.
9:37: Something else that should be noted: The only players without an over-par round this week are in that penultimate two-Brit group.
Fisher’s gone 69-68-70; Westwood’s fired 68-70-70.
9:41: Jim Furyk’s accuracy issues today are termed “untypical” by someone in the booth.
I can’t agree with the nomenclature, but I do agree with the point: Furyk’s gone bogey-bogey over his last two.
9:44: A leaderboard recap, because I got up during Watson’s bogey on No. 1:
Fisher leads at -5. Watson is alone at -3. Westwood and Goggin sit at -2. Stewart Cink, Chris Wood, and Retief Goosen are all at -1.
9:47: More on Cink, briefly. Last night, he tweeted a picture from inside Turnberry’s clubhouse:
This begs two questions: Has Tom Watson even heard of Twitter? And what does “me bet” mean?
9:52: A Tiger commercial for Gillette. Awkward.
9:55: “We’ll talk on the phone with Jack Nicklaus from Florida when he wakes up,” Tirico says.
(Okay, he didn’t say that. But they will be talking to Nicklaus.)
9:57: Watson leaves a five-footer for par high on No. 3. He’ll drop to -2, with Goggin (who made par on No. 3) and Westwood.
Ross Fisher has a three-shot lead on the field in the 131st Open Championship.
9:59: Nicklaus on the phone: “(Watson) makes all us old folks proud.”
10:00: From Sobel:
9:45 a.m. ET: E-mail from Luke in Atlanta:
Don’t you think if the Fish had to walk off the course with the lead on the back nine because his wife was giving birth that it would be a bigger news story than Tom Watson winning?
Honestly, I don’t think anything right now could overtake the story of Watson — win or lose — but that would certainly be something.
After his third round yesterday, Ross Fisher was asked whether he would really — really! — leave Turnberry should his wife go into labor:
“Like I said all along, if Jo does go into labor, I’ll be supporting her 100 percent,” he said. “And I won’t be here, I’ll be with her, because it’s something that I definitely don’t want to miss. You know, it will be a shame, but I guess we’ll just have to cross that bridge when we come to it.”
He’s certainly hoping that bridge doesn’t come until after finishing the 18th hole later today.
You want drama? That’s drama.
And kudos to Fisher for being honest and prioritizing his family over golf; it wouldn’t be wrong for him to stay on the course, to be sure, but it’s admirable for him to not want to if his wife is giving birth and be frank about it.
10:01: Nicklaus on what memories Watson’s success dredges up: “I don’t know that it’s brought back many memories; I can’t remember all that far.”
10:03: Nicklaus: “Win one for the old folks. Make us proud and make us cry again. I’m sure he will.”
10:04: A young guns update:
16-year-old Matteo Manassero is at even par after a birdie on No. 15; 21-year-old Chris Wood is at -2 and just beginning his back nine; I feel as if I’ve done nothing with my life.
10:12: Ross Fisher, who bogeyed No. 4 to fall to -4, is taking an unplayable drop, and will play his fifth shot from the rough at No. 5.
He’s staring at a seven. He will probably fall out of the lead by himself; he might fall behind Watson, Westwood, and Wood.
10:17: From Sobel:
For fun, go click the second link, then click a link to me, then a link to Sobel, then back to me, then back to…
Seriously, thanks for the link.
10:18: ABC breaks out Kronos Quartet in the promo for some show.
Ross Fisher’s wishing for a requiem for this bad dream: He’ll have a chance at seven on No. 5.
Ross Fisher’s triple bogey putt dies just left on No. 5; he taps in for a quad and falls from -4 to even, from a two-shot clearance to a two-shot deficit. An absolute heartbreak for Fisher.
10:24: He follows that up with a tee shot that makes birdie unlikely on No. 6.
10:29: Let’s do these leaderboard updates at the top and bottom of the hour:
Watson and Wood (and Westwood, who puts in birdie as I type this) are at -2. Cink, Goggin, and Goosen are at -1. Ross Fisher is even. A gaggle of golfers are at +1.
10:35: Chris Wood looks like a stick with arms and a paintbrush for a head.
10:37: Do the odds on the likelihood of a “TW” from Stanford and two guys with “wood” in their surnames being on the first page of the leaderboard without Tiger Woods’ involvement.
When you finish that, please settle the national debt, because you’re clearly really, really good at high-level math.
10:39: From Sobel:
10:34 a.m. ET: You know the long-standing live blog rule: Make me laugh and your e-mail gets in.
From Adam in Memphis:
If Chris Wood doesn’t win, then he’s got to be the frontrunner for the caddie scholarship, right? As long as he stays away from the judge’s niece.
So he’s got that going for him … which is nice.
I’m not sure there’s a way to work Matteo Manassero into this analogy without getting a strongly worded letter from Silvio Berlusconi.
10:43: ESPN has approximately 231 people covering this tournament, I believe.
10:44: Westwood eagled the par 5 No. 7 to move to -4 and take a two-shot lead.
Watson’s on in two and will have a 20-footer to match that feat.
10:47: Dan Jenkins is a legend:
Women say men don’t know what labor is like. Ross Fisher, whose wife is due any moment, just gave birth to an 8. They’ll call the child Quad.
There is no balm strong enough for that burn.
10:49: Watson’s eagle curls a few feet away from the hole; Wood misses his par on No. 14.
Westwood will retain sole possession of the lead for at least a few minutes.
10:52: Wherever this feed is from, it has absolutely exquisite local commercials.
And by exquisite I mean execrable.
10:56: Manassero finishes with a bogey on No. 18 and a 69 on Sunday. The 16-year-old British Amateur champion ends his Open just one shot back of the clubhouse lead.
And he doesn’t need to shave yet. What a life.
11:00: Manassero’s post-round interview is awkward to the nth degree.
And yet I already like him more than Ricky Rubio.
11:05: Peter Alliss’ voice defies accurate description.
I’ve been trying and backing things out for the last five minutes.
11:06: A score check:
At -4: Westwood. At -3: Watson. At -2: Goggin. At -1: Cink, Wood, and Goosen. At even: Swede Richard Johnson.
11:20: In the last 14 minutes, things happened.
11:21: But I’m not live blogging Sobel for nothing!
11:13 a.m. ET: After getting over his lengthy 40-foot birdie putt on 16, Chris Wood steps away and reassesses the situation.
He finally hits it and it’s rolling toward the hole and … it barely misses.
Wood remains at 1-under. This kid has a beautiful putting stroke, though. At that height, I wonder if he’s using about a 36- or 37-inch putter.
His height, for the record: 6’5″.
11:11 a.m. ET: Nice bounce-back for Stewart Cink on No. 11.
After making bogey, he comes back with birdie on the next hole to get back to 1-under-par.
He’s back in a share of fourth place.
Cink is lurking ominously.
11:06 a.m. ET: Might as well mention Luke Donald’s name for perhaps one of the first times all week.
With a birdie on the par-5 17th hole, Donald is now at even-par playing the last. If he can make par here, he would be the first player in the clubhouse at even-par or better.
Might not want to leave for a little while — well, for a few minutes, at least, until Chris Wood finishes up.
Luke Donald’s just polished off his 67, which ties for the Sunday best with three others, and sits in the clubhouse at even par 280.
A red number wins it now.
11:26: I wasn’t going to say anything about it, but, well, Dan?
Chris Wood, contending after tying for fifth last year at 20, was a soccer player before he blew out a knee. Now he’s blown out his hair.
His picture is not a particularly attractive one.
11:30: From my faithful acolyte:
11:15 EST – Stewart Cink birdies the 11th to move to one under. Stewart Cink! Yellow Jacket! And you thought we wouldn’t be able to homer this thing up in any way.
And I was almost cheering for Cink, too.
Speaking of homer updates: Camilo Villegas is at +2 with a hole to play, and Mark Calcavecchia finished at +4 284. Go Gator.
11:33: Matteo Manassero does not need a razor. Mathew Goggin needs one badly.
11:34: ABC just got the shot of the tournament: Watson, alone, with the sea behind him and the wind whipping.
Could someone screen-cap that, please?
11:36: And Peter Alliss leaves the coverage. He was fantastic.
11:37: Kate Walsh, still in Cadillac commercials for no discernible reason.
11:38: Let’s reset the scoreboard:
Lee Westwood and Mathew Goggin share the lead at -3. Tom Watson is a stroke back at -2. Stewart Cink, Retief Goosen, and Chris Wood remain at -1. Luke Donald is the clubhouse leader at even.
11:40: Oh, wait: Watson just jarred a putt from distance on No. 11 to the delight of the crowd.
It’s a three-way tie at -3.
11:41: Maybe I should do more scoreboard updates.
Cink rolls in a birdie and moves to -2.
11:43: Trouble for Watson off the tee at No. 12: He may be in some thick stuff.
Goggin whacks one in the fairway.
11:47: Watson apparently says “Thank you for the good lie” to a woman whose leg his drive hit.
Tirico reiterates it and makes it a borderline sex joke. Classy!
11:51: Chris Wood’s bogey on No. 18 gets him into the clubhouse at -1 279.
Luke Donald can go home now.
11:52: Watson’s remarkable No. 12: Tee to rough, rough to fringe, fringe to within three feet with a beautifully measured putt.
His par isn’t a gimme, and no Watson putt really is. But he’s still playing excellent golf.
11:56: Watson pures his putt, and Paul Azinger spends 20 seconds deconstructing it.
11:58: Those who believe Watson will fade don’t have recent history on their side: He’s -4 on the last six holes this week, with just one bogey.
Goggin’s -3 over that stretch; Westwood’s even mark on it includes a double bogey.
12:01 PM: I’ll leave my scoreboard updating to Sobel:
11:54 a.m. ET: Tom Watson and Mathew Goggin each make par on No. 12.
With six holes to play, we have a three-way tie at the top.
Cink is two back at -1. Donald’s in the clubhouse at the same mark. Time for grit-your-teeth pars.
12:07: From feed to gorgeous HD, because, finally, the family’s up.
12:09: From Jenkins:
Stray thought: Watson was born in 1949, along with Meryl Streep, John Belushi, Billy Joel and Bruce Springsteen. Now back to the golf.
12:10: Watson’s in the second cut on No. 14 after parring No. 13.
Westwood’s putt-chip from off the green on No. 14 is safely within a few feet, leaving a short par putt.
Goggin’s in the fairway on No. 14.
12:12: From Sobel, playoff rules:
12:03 p.m. ET: Just a reminder …
In the case of a tie after 72 holes, a four-hole playoff will commence on Sunday afternoon. The player with the lowest total score on those four holes will be the winner.
If there’s still a tie after that, sudden death will be used to break the deadlock. There have been seven four-hole aggregate playoffs in Open Championship history, the first of which occurred in 1989. The last four-hole playoff was in 2007, when Padraig Harrington defeated Sergio Garcia at Carnoustie.
12:08 p.m. ET: An addendum to that last note: The four playoff holes would be Nos. 5, 6, 17 and 18.
Yeah, I have nothing to add.
12:13: Westwood cleans up for par.
Watson snaps his second shot to about 50 yards. An up-and-down from the fairway remains if he’s to stay tied for the lead.
Goggin’s second gets lost in the wind and lands in a bunker. In a related note, Goggin looks a little like Daniel from Lost, if he never ever shaved.
12:18: Watson pitches to within eight feet. Tough putt for par.
12:21: Watson’s putt goes just right. Never quite broke.
He’ll bogey and fall to -2, one back of Westwood and Goggin.
12:22: Westwood’s tee shot on No. 15 lands on the green but feeds into a deep back bunker.
Neat ESPN graphic shows that no one’s sunk the shot out of the bunker from there today.
12:25: And he hits it low, giving him a difficult 12-footer for par.
Gogging’s already finished his bogey at No. 14.
12:26: “Stewart Cink was touted as the guy who was going to give Tiger trouble for a little while.”
Really, ‘Zinger? When was that?
12:27: Westwood misses the par and cleans up.
And the three-way tie shifts back to -2.
12:29: Ross Fisher misses a birdie putt. He’s at +2 after No. 15.
That phone call from his wife can’t come soon enough.
12:32: Westwood in the fairway at No. 16.
Watson and Goggin both unlikely to birdie No. 15: Watson’s on but long, Goggin’s bunkered.
12:37: Watson’s birdie had no chance; he’ll have a five-footer for par.
Westwood’s in some rough behind the green at No. 16.
Goggin’s recovery is long, and his par putt wide.
12:40: Some Sobel:
12:29 p.m. ET: From ESPN’s Stats and Information Dept.:
Lee Westwood might not be “the best player to have never won a major,” but he’s certainly in the discussion. Interesting that Phil Mickelson was 0-for-46 in majors before breaking through at the 2004 Masters. Westwood entered the 2009 Open Championship … you guessed it … 0-for-46 in majors.
Here are the numbers for Mickelson when he won his first one …
• Event: 2004 Masters
• Age: 33
• World Rank: 8
And for Westwood, should he win …
• Event: 2009 British Open
• Age: 36
• World Rank: 17
These things are always estimations at best, but I would think that a victory today would move Westwood either into the top-five on the OWGR or very close to it.
Westwood, to an admittedly casual eye, has been around and close to a few majors of late. But he doesn’t blow up as spectacularly as Mickelson does, nor does he win as many PGA TOUR events.
12:42: And maybe the reason for that is near-misses like his on No. 16.
His par slides maybe an inch wide. And Westwood bogeys the hole.
And Tom Watson once again has the lead to himself at the Open Championship.
12:45: From Jenkins:
Westwood bogeys the 16th. Tom Watson leads the British Open with three to play. Three holes from being the champion geezer of the century.
And he’s helped by shots like Goggin’s second on No. 16. That one’s cozy with some vegetation.
12:47: And Watson is safely on the green at No. 16.
12:49: From Sobel, a Stewart Cink update:
12:42 p.m. ET: Stewart Cink with a birdie putt on the par-5 17th for a share of the lead … and he misses.
On a hole that I believe is yielding more birdies than pars today, that’s like giving one back to the field.
Yes, indeed: 30 birdies to 25 pars, says the official Open Championship site.
12:51: Watson can’t hole it from 35 feet.
And he leaves himself a knee-knocker.
12:52: The “Mathew Gaggin” jokes are forthcoming.
He makes his second straight bogey and falls behind the clubhouse lead at even.
12:53: Watson makes his par. Two more and he may claim the Claret Jug.
Meanwhile, Cink has just over ten feet for birdie on No. 18.
12:54: Or maybe the inscription will read “Lee Westwood.”
A marvelous, magic iron from deep stuff to the green on No. 17. He’ll have an eagle putt.
12:56: Or perhaps Stewart Cink!
A clutch birdie from him, flat stick held high in triumph, on No. 18, and the clubhouse lead!
12:59: Jenkins with his typical brilliance:
Cink birdies 18 to tie Watson for the lead. Does that lime-green hat of his glow in the dark?
It’s only 6 PM in Ayrshire. They have a little time.
1:00: Westwood’s eagle fails to break.
He taps in for birdie. He, Cink, and Watson are all tied for the lead.
1:02: Watson’s second shot on No. 17 was barely long.
He’s in the fringe and will probably chip, but he’s got an outside shot at eagle and a good shot at birdie. The saga continues, friends.
1:04: Westwood’s in a bunker on No. 18.
His tee shot ran and ran and ran.
1:07: From Sobel:
12:58 p.m. ET: Is Mathew Goggin out of it? Maybe, maybe not.
At even-par with two holes to play, he still has a chance, but will need at least a birdie-birdie or eagle-par finish to be in the mix.
Going to have to be birdie-birdie; his eagle on No. 17 doesn’t fall.
1:08: Watson has 18 inches for birdie after a soft eagle putt.
And he holes it.
Tom Watson has a one-shot lead entering the 72nd hole of the 131st Open Championship.
1:10: Westwood won’t say die.
He hits a brilliant bunker shot and is on the green, albeit with a very difficult birdie putt. But he can still put pressure on Watson.
1:13: Tom Watson is three shots from what was on Wednesday unfathomable, his tee shot resting comfortably in the fairway on No. 18.
Westwood’s putt goes long, and he can at best make par.
1:17: And Westwood’s par goes wide.
He will not win the 2009 Open Championship.
1:19: Watson is behind the green, in some light rough.
Up and down and he will hoist the Claret Jug.
1:21: Poor Stewart Cink.
1:22: Watson’s chip: Much more than he wanted.
He’ll have six or seven feet for the Open Championship.
1:23: Goggin has one last moment.
His birdie putt curls around the cup and misses. He finishes his 73.
1:24: Watson leaves his par short.
We will have a playoff for the Open Championship.
1:32: Go search for Tom Watson on Twitter. I’ll wait.
1:35: Paul Azinger went to the community college in my county.
This does not prevent me from wanting to punch him.
1:41: And we’re back.
Both guys are in the fairway.
1:42: Tirico: “Stewart Cink, who has a half-million followers on Twitter…and Watson, trying to win one for the old guys.”
In Watson’s defense, he’s just started texting. He has a couple of months to go before Twitter.
1:46: Cink’s approach shot trickles into the left bunker.
Watson’s bounces into one of the two on the right.
1:49: Cink raises half a beach from the bunker. Ten feet for par.
Watson’s shot catches the lip of the bunker. Forty feet for par.
1:52: Watson misses his par, makes his bogey. Cink puts his par in.
Scoring: Cink is even, Watson +1.
1:54: Oh, yeah, that Sobel guy:
1:29 p.m. ET: Heard in the press room …
“Stewart Cink is about to be the most hated man in the universe.”
He’s a tough dude to hate, but as a historian of the game himself, Cink is well aware that a playoff victory certainly wouldn’t have the same effect as one from Tom Watson.
Uh, doesn’t exactly mean he’s gonna let the old-timer win, either.
I really feel bad for him. What Watson’s done, though, isn’t incomplete without a win: He got to where he needed to be, to a putt for the win, and yips betrayed him just as they would have a younger Watson.
The good guys and the stories don’t always win.
1:58: And that win is looking ever more unlikely.
Cink is in decent shape on No. 6. Watson is off of the rough and has a really tough uphill shot to go to get to the green.
2:00: Watson, from nowhere to within eight feet. My goodness.
2:03: Watson makes his par. What an unbelievable recovery.
2:04: Cink won’t let it slip away on this hole, though.
After leaving himself three feet, he knocks down a teeth-grinder.
Watson gets up and down at 6, but Cink two-putts for par and keeps a one-stroke lead. Why do I have that Jack Fleck kind of feeling?
I’m not sure that’s entirely fair. But accurate? Sure.
2:09: Watson’s well left on No. 17. Cink is not.
2:10: All Watson could do with this is recover to the fairway.
2:14: And he can’t even do that. The dream is on life support for Tom Watson.
Cink is on the green.
2:16: Watson’s fourth is behind Cink’s second. Both on the green.
2:19: Watson will make, at best, bogey.
2:20: Cink will make, at worst, par.
2:21: Watson makes a double bogey 7. Cink jars a birdie.
Scoring: Cink -1, Watson +3.
2:22: Ways Cink can lose this: Earthquake, physically picking up his ball and throwing it at the hole, sudden outbreak of golf flu, the incineration of all of his clubs.
Barring that, nothing.
2:25: Cink’s in the fairway. Watson sprays right.
It’s time to think about the worst year for majors. With the PGA to go, we’ve got Cabrera, Glover and Cink. Goes along with a recession.
Your PGA Championship winner: Sergio Garcia.
2:30: Yeah, so, uh, some stuff is happening, and…
Cink’s second shot is marvelous, to within three feet. Watson’s fourth is just as good.
2:34: Watson makes his bogey to a roar of approval.
Cink sinks his birdie and becomes the champion of the 131st Open Championship.
2:36: From Sobel:
2:34 p.m. ET: Stewart Cink holes the birdie putt, shares a warm handshake and some words with Watson, an embrace with his caddie and he is the 2009 Open Championship winner.
Anticlimactic, to be sure. But a sweet moment for Cink. He earned it.
2:52: Cink is accepting the trophy and praising Watson.
The little smile Watson and Manassero just shared was classic.
And now, I’m out. It was a privilege to watch a wonderful performance from one of the greatest golfers of all time and a greater triumph from a talented athlete making good on his promise, and I’m honored to have been part of it, even as a spectator.
Thanks to Jason Sobel and younglefthander of Souvenir City for the links, and thanks to you for reading.