After watching the British Open for the past few days, I have even greater admiration for Tom Watson. I wasn’t much of a Tom Watson fan during his playing days … I much preferred rooting for Jack Nicklaus. But, what he accomplished the past few days is simply remarkable.
The thought of a 59-year old person winning a major championship, regardless of the sport, is mind-boggling. He would have been at least 10 years older than any champion.
Just think … Tom is more than 25 years older than Tiger Woods! Yes, he was out there competing his heart out against the younger generation. All he did was a get a par-4 on the 18th hole. He made a nice drive into the fairway on the 18th. He then hit a solid 8-iron right into middle of the green. Unfortunately, it went off the green. He still only had an up-and-down to capture the championship. But, he putted his 3rd shot too far … and a tough 8-foot to make the par. As we all know, he missed the putt … then played poorly in the 4-hole play-off.
But, imagine what he accomplished. He’s going to make so many more athletes in the their late 30′s to late 50′s, especially golfers, think they can can continue to compete at a higher level. He opened many eyes and ears. This will have a positive effect on older athletes.
The thing I admired the most is how he handled the defeat. He could have sulked and complained. Instead, he handled it with incredible grace and dignity. The mark of a great champion is not just how they win, but also how they lose. Tom Watson taught many us how to do this in a world-class manner. He is already one of golf’s all-time greats, but he can now walk away with his head held just a higher. He is champion and he is one who provided us memories that we will not forget for a long, long time.