Boy, wasn’t that something special? I loved this following sincere salute from the winner to what has to be one of the most impressive runner-up finishers in history:

“I’m proud of the way Tom Watson played,” Cink said. “Not only did he show how great a golfer he is, but he showed what a great game we all play.”

Yes, indeed! Watson really did shine his unique light on what a great game we all play. He walked his talk and swung his authentic swing. Nothing more or less.

For me, Tom Watson played golf in The Open Championship (a.k.a. The British Open) with more spirit, ease and grace than I have ever seen at a golf major. Of course, his accomplishment in almost winning at almost 60 years old was amongst the greatest achievements in golf ever. But, combined with the sheer beauty of Turnberry (image by Katie Dawkins), he demonstrated what golf in the zone of ease is all about.

The fellow who won is the fellow that I follow on Twitter, @stewartcink or just Stewart Cink to the rest of you. 😉 He deserves much credit, even if it was in the role of “spoiler.” Cink sunk that wonderful birdie putt on the 72nd hole despite Paul Azinger’s attempt at an announcer’s curse as he said something like, these are the kinds of putts where you find out how much heart you have. “Let’s see what you’ve got, Stewart.” And Stewart nailed it.

And then there was Tiger showing us his shadow side. I’m not talking about his performance, but rather his petulance. There’s no excuse for throwing clubs, particularly for someone who is a real role model for so many people. I appreciated this post from The Average Golfer blog: Tiger Woods Needs a Lesson from Tom Watson.

But nothing could spoil the specialness of how Tom Watson played golf over those four days. Sure, it broke my heart that he missed the putt to win. I was literally shocked. But we’ve all done that. I guess it’s just part of the game. So, I’ll just let that be yet another lesson to me.

Thanks, Tom. Thanks, Stewart. And THANK YOU, GOLF!


Addendum1: More on Tom Watson from Tom Friedman in the NYTimes: 59 is the New 30. Great stuff.

Addendum2: More on Tiger Woods mis-behavior from Rick Reilly writing on Tiger Woods Needs to Clean Up His Act