It’s not …..

July 9, 2007 -

Whether you win or lose; but how you play the game.

One of my golf heroes, showed his mortality, yesterday. Tom Watson had the US Senior Open in his grasp until the 11th. hole at Whistling Straights, where he made a double bogey-7, and then folded like a house of cards. It was hard to watch. Watson has gone on record as saying that he really wanted to win this event (we can, all, want something, too much sometimes) and it (the USGA Championship) was what he coveted, above all else.

Tom Watson has won 8 Major Championships during his brilliant career. He does not “choke”, but he is a human being, and just like the rest of us, is prone to moments when things go wrong. It’s just that when things unravel for him, he is in front of 30,000 spectators and millions of TV viewers.

I will remember the 43 he shot on the back 9; but what will be indelibly etched in my mind, is what a wonderful gentleman, Tom Watson is. He spoke to reporters afterwards, in his honest and thoughtful way. He tried on each and every shot (even after it had become a foregone conclusion) and he gracefully acknowledged the crowd after making a double bogey on the last hole. Tom Watson showed us that even in defeat, you can be dignified. That tomorrow, the sun will come up; and that “no matter whether you win or lose, it’s how you played the game, that matters”.

6 thoughts on “It’s not …..

  1. smg says:

    I honestly felt sorry for Tom Watson after the tournament. We have all been in that situation, only not on such a grand scale. He is truly a gentleman and a tribute to what this game is all about.

  2. Karl Spackler says:

    Watson is a class act. I can some what recall when he lost to Johnny Miller at the AT&T at Pebble in 1994. Tom was in the group in front of Johnny. He had a 2 shot lead on the 16th tee. It was over. He could not lose to a TV announcer. Tom choked his way in. A lot of guys would have left and not say a word. Tom answered all questions and comments, tracked down Johnny and gave in a handshake and a hug. Then told him with a big smile to get back in the booth.

  3. admin says:

    Good blog; Karl. That (they way he behaved at Pebble after losing out to Johnny Miller) is another great example of Tom Watson’s class and dignity. I think that too often, we get caught up with “winning”-but there are moments (like the one you shared) that will stick with us long after, we remember; “who won”.

  4. shivasirons says:

    Golf breeds good behaviour. Let’s hope that never changes. Another great moment of sportsmanship came at the 1969 Ryder Cup Match (in those days the US dominated which only magnified how gracious this act was). Jack Nicklaus conceded a generous two foot putt to Tony Jacklin on the last hole at Birkdale to halve the Ryder Cup contest (they were in the last match). The score was 14-14 and it is the first tied match in the history of the competition. Jack Nicklaus took a lot of heat from his teamates for doing this; but said ‘I don’t think you would have missed that putt, but in these circumstances, I would never give you the opportunity.’ Class. Great sportsmanship. Dignified. Golf.

  5. Karl Spackler says:

    Last week at Tigers tournament. The host let all Military in for free. A small gesture going a long way.

  6. admin says:

    You bring up a very good point, Karl. Tiger (because of his father’s military career) feels a real sense of saying “thank you” to our troops. Something that we should ALL DO more often. Regardless of one’s political views (and man, am I getting sick of the people who only have neagtive things to say about this great counrty), we should always understand that without a military and armed forces, that we would be defenseless. That these brave men and women, TRULY UNDERSTAND THE MEANING OF SERVICE TO COUNTRY. They are patriots of the first order; heroes, in fact. We should not only be grateful that they protect our way of life, but they do so in a way, that seldom gets the crdeit, that they so richly deserve.

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