Photo Credit AP

Photo Credit AP

I’m giving myself a two stoke penalty for breaking my rule of posting only on Mondays. But Tom Watson’s performance at Turnberry deserves at least one poetic response.  So I offer the following:


From the tee at eighteen
He looked down towards the home hole
Like a pitcher with a one run lead
Looks toward home plate needing one more out.

As he drove his ball
We knew what the magic number was
When the camera showed a safe white speck
We exhaled in unison and subtracted one.

Now it was an eight iron to the green
Or was it a nine?
A question to be answered twice
The first time by Watson alone.

He was thinking nine but hit the eight
And as we watched with growing anxiety
The ball bounced hard and rolled too far
We held our breath and subtracted one.

Again a choice: to chip or putt
“One of the best chippers of all time”
The words of an old pro in the booth
But the third stroke would be a putt.

From off the green the ball raced up
Then by the hole a good eight feet
He said he had seen grain
Down to one, we saw trouble.

Once more a putt to win the Open
But this was not a kid with a dream
This was a Champion Golfer five times over
Yet now we feared the worst.

While he took two short practice strokes
We lost interest in counting
And as the ball rolled weakly off his putter
We lost all hope as well.

“I made a lousy putt,” Watson’s words
“Then it was one bad shot after another”
A self-stated epitaph marked the close:
“The Old Fogy Almost Did It.”

And so the golf writers lost their story
To an illustrious sage from an earlier time
It wouldn’t be about Watson winning or losing
But how he had played the Game.

And did he ever!

Leon S White
July 22, 2009

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