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A Watson Hangover

by Jeff Skinner

Forgive me, but I’m still drunk from The Open and the latest vintage of Tom Watson’s golf game.  I guess I’m not the only one either as the web, papers and television are still filled with pieces on Watson and Stewart Cink.  Cink is a deserved champion, but Tom Watson was, and still is the story.  Watson has said that he is still smarting from The Open but thousands of e-mails he has received, particularly those from servicemen, have helped him realize again, that golf is not life.  Golf is still just a game.  Watson appeared to all of us as a humble, ordinary guy with extraordinary golf skills.  After The Open on Sunday, he didn’t sulk or hide out in his suite at the Turnberry Hotel that is named after him for his win in 1977.  He took his wife for a meal at a family restaurant in town and was as accommodating as he could be.  He signed autographs, posed for pictures and visited with all the staff at the restaurant.  Would you expect anything else from him?
Watson’s performance at The Open has rekindled the debate on which generation of golfers was better: Today’s group led by Tiger or the 70’s and 80’s group led by NicklausJaime Diaz explores the question in Golf World. He raises the point that Tiger may not have the same level of competition that Jack did.  Diaz writes:
“The argument goes that Woods has it easier than Nicklaus did when it comes to racking up majors, because of the greater number of proven winners and presumably tougher, hungrier and more well-rounded competitors that the Golden Bear faced. For all their vaunted depth, today’s players, the theory goes, suffer from a general decadence: too much prize money lowering the urgency to win; too few moments atop leader boards leaving them relatively callow under pressure; and too many equipment advances that keep increasing distance, accuracy and spin while lulling them into a one-dimensional style of power golf that is ill-suited to the demands of major championships, particularly those played on a links.”
For my money there isn’t any group that compares to Jack, Trevino, Miller and Watson. Maybe I’ll feel differently in a few years if some of these current players step up and become multiple major winners and take a certain golfer down on a Sunday or two.  But for now, Jack and the boys rule.

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