Win or lose the Open Championship, the Scots adore links-loving Tom Watson like no other
I don’t think there is a soul alive aware of the Open Championship not pulling for Tom Watson tomorrow at Turnberry.
And looking at the leaderboard, the good news for Watson is that it’s hard to believe anyone is capable of really blowing the field away by a few shots and stealing the title from him. With the Sunday weather shaping up to be rainy and windy, it sets up well for Watson, who is all too capable of shooting a 71 or 72 and walking off with the Claret Jug. I’d be more worried for Watson if we were looking at idyllic Duel in the Sun weather where a guy like Retief Goosen or Lee Westwood could rattle off a 66 or 67.
But I think if Watson shoots a 71 he goes home with the jug and we all have a story that is even better than the Tiger-Rocco duel from Torrey Pines.
But win or lose, this is just another reason why the Scots love the links-loving Watson, who based on my experiences at golf clubs all around Scotland is the most beloved player there - more so than other Open Champions like Jack Nicklaus or even any player in the U.K. like three-time winner Nick Faldo.
Practically every local club you go to, and I’m not just talking about prestigious Open Championship clubs, they’ve got a story about Watson stopping by for a round and the pictures to prove it. I’m not sure how many clubs Watson has visited in his many visits to Scotland, but if you said “all of them,” I probably wouldn’t bet otherwise.
During my recent trip to East Lothian, members of Longniddry Golf Club showed me an old photo of Watson giving a demonstration at the golf course while in town for the Open Championship at Muirfield down the road. And he’s a regular fixture at the spectacular North Berwick West Links. I’m pretty sure Tiger Woods will probably never visit Longniddry or other little clubs of similar caliber, but that’s also why he’ll never be as revered as Watson over there either.
And listening to Watson speak such high praise of Turnberry this week, calling it not only “beautiful” but “spiritual” too, the man is going to be immortalized like no other golfer no matter what happens Sunday.
But should he pull off the unthinkable tomorrow, they’re going to have to change the Ailsa’s 18th hole nickname from “Duel in the Sun” to simply “Watson.”
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