Yesterday, old guys around the world held their collective breath and said mental prayers. There was a man out there doing something that, by rights, he should not have been able to do - something he should have given up any hope of doing years and years ago. After four days of golf at the highest level - after four rounds covering twenty eight thousand, eight hundred sixteen yards of territory, his last putt came up less than a foot short of victory and a sixth Claret Jug - the prize at The Open. And then, in the most heart rending and pathos inducing anti-climax I've seen in a long, long time, his exhaustion and his heartbreak were there for the world to see in a four hole playoff that was just too much for the 59 year old man to navigate.
He lost it on the 72nd hole - and he knew it. The playoff was almost a forgone conclusion. The 36 year old man was going to walk all over the 59 year old. The old man was spent. He hit it short. He hit it left. His legs were just gone. 59 years old and 72 holes of golf in fours days under cold and windy conditions had made it so that the four hole playoff was just more than he could manage.
Tom Watson just ran out of gas.
It's a good thing in a way. Golf equipment stores would have had a run on equipment as every 60 year old man who's ever given up the game because he knew that THAT dream was gone would have suddenly found a new urge to get out there and hit it. Hospital emergency rooms would have been filled to overflowing with unfit old men who'd bent and strained any and every muscle in their bodies. And worse.
No, Tom Watson did all of us a favor. He lost with grace and style and said, "I'm old but I ain't done yet" but he didn't say it so loud that everybody in the whole damn world heard him. It was more like he was talking to himself - and that's just fine.
He did great. I'm happy he was there at the end. And it would have been historic, had he won. But I HATE to think of what it would have done to ME if Tom Watson had won the British Open.