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July 19, 2009

Can he do it?

Watson A year after 53 year-old Greg Norman flirted with winning the Open Championship, 59 year-old Tom Watson, just two months shy of his 60th birthday, is leading the Open going into the final round Sunday at Turnberry in Ayrshire on the western coast of Scotland.

Leave it to Clear Thinkers favorite Dan Jenkins, who at 79 has provided the best commentary on the Open through his Twitter page, to put Watson's remarkable feat in perspective:

"I was Watson's age 20 years ago--still drinking a lot, practically buying Elaine's. I thought I was immortal. What's the big deal about 59?"

As with Norman, I don't think Watson can do it, but I will be pulling for him along with millions around the world. Watson's run as a dominant player on the PGA Tour ended in the 1980's when he inexplicably lost the deft putting stroke that had been the common thread through his eight major championships (5 Opens, 2 Master's and 1 U.S. Open). Watson has magically regained that stroke this week and, if it holds for one more day, he could pull off the most improbable victory in the history of golf.

One thing going for Watson -- playing golf as a youth during the winter months in his native Kansas City helped him to become on one of the best bad weather golfers of the modern era. And it will probably be blustery in Turnberry on Sunday.

Update: Watson gave it a great go, but lost in a playoff to Stewart Cink. It is Cink's first major championship. Dan Wexler does a good job summing up Watson's accomplishment.

Posted by Tom at July 19, 2009 12:01 AM |

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