I play golf in a club whose average age is probably 60. We played a Stableford tournament yesterday, and when we came into the clubhouse we watched Tom Watson, still leading the British Open, hit a beautiful 8 iron into the 18th green. But, perhaps landing a foot too far into the green, the ball ran off the back, nestling up against a skirt of rough. He opted for his putter and sent the ball 8 feet past the hole. He has made a thousand 8-foot putts in his career. What’s more, he’s a 59 year-old, five-time Open winner – nerves of steel, right?
Lo, a collective gasp went up in the clubhouse of 60 year-olds, when Watson, like all of us amateurs sitting there watching him, decelerated his putter and pushed it slightly leaving his par putt short and right of the hole, taking the Open to four extra holes with Stewart Cink, a 6-foot-4 whippersnapper. And, to the chagrin of every member of the Phalen Park Men’s Golf Club, Watson collapsed in the playoff, handing the Open Championship to Mr. Cink.