tclakin

Cheating History

In Uncategorized on July 20, 2009 at 4:03 pm

Do you believe in miracles?? Nope.

Do you believe in miracles?? Not anymore.

We were all cheated by the Golf Gods yesterday. We were conned, swindled, double-crossed, bilked, and bamboozled. We were, every last one of us golf fans, mugged by Stewart Cink – left shaken, wondering about What Could Have Been.

It’s not Cink’s fault that he so brazenly stripped from history one of the greatest sports stories of the last 25 years, and perhaps golf’s greatest ever. But that doesn’t make it any easier not to blame him.

And blame him, I will. I’ll blame him for sinking that birdie putt on 18. I’ll blame him for hanging around the leaderboard while all other threats to Tom Watson’s victory so graciously fell away. I’ll blame Cink for being the Wrong Guy at the Wrong Time and, for me, he’ll always carry that label – though he is, by all accounts, one of the nicer guys on the PGA Tour.

I can’t help it. I wish he had lost, and I blame him because he didn’t.

But, come to think of it, maybe it’s not his fault…

Ah, rat farts!

Ah, rat farts!

Perhaps the real blame should land squarely on Old Tom’s shoulders. He was, after all, a simple blown par away from capturing the Claret Jug and front page headlines across the country. Had he only chosen a 9-iron, instead of an 8, on his second shot on 18, Watson would in all likelihood be on a plane back to the US right now with a huge smile on his face. But he didn’t. He pulled out an 8 and proceeded – with surging adrenaline and history’s mounting pressure – to blast his shot right onto, and then over, the 18th green.

Wait a minute, maybe it’s Watson’s caddy I should be blaming…

Sure, it has to be his caddy! He’s the one responsible for Watson’s brutal performance on 18, right? A great caddy would have pulled Tom aside, laid a calming hand on his shoulder and told him, “Hey, you’re one good shot away from re-writing history. Here’s the 9.” Then, Watson would have calmly approached the ball with a cool head and a loose grip, and rocketed a perfect shot 10 feet from the hole, and then —

Ah, what’s the use?

The only person I have to blame for this whole catastrophe is myself.

Tom Watson's win would have been something out of the movies

A Watson victory would have been something out of the movies

I mean, what kind of clear-headed individual actually lets himself believe that a 59 year-old Tom Watson, fresh off his last major win in 1983, could come to Turnberry and win the 2009 Open Championship? That kind of thinking is at best romantic, and at worst, foolish. There was just no way this was going to happen. It was too unbelievable, too momentous, too immaculate. It was Field of Dreams type stuff. I should have known better. Nothing like this ever happens outside of Hollywood.

So blame me, if you blame anyone. Blame me for wanting sports to be magical again. Blame me for seeing in Tom Watson a little piece of anyone who ever wanted to slow the passage of time. Blame me for wanting a miracle.

Unfortunately, the perfect story can never be written. It’s impossible.

But, oh, what a good one this would’ve been.

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