Thursday, July 16, 2009

Rooting For The Underdog

Most of you know that I am an avid golf fan. When I was a DA in Queens I used to play a few times a week at Forest Park, but since the move to DC I have pretty much shelved golf as my work/life schedule does not allow me to get out and play more than a couple times a year. Nonetheless, I always watch major championships. This week is the Open Championship (aka the British Open) at Turnberry in Scotland.

After the first round Tom Watson is one shot off the lead at five strokes under par. Watson, holder of five claret jugs, is fifty nine years old. Watson is exactly twenty two days younger than my Dad. And while Watson will not win this week, I can't help but root for him to at least finish in the top page of the leaderboard come Sunday.

Anyone who knows golf history knows of Watson's second Open win in 1977. The "Dual in the Sun" as it is now known was played when I was only a few days old, also at Turnberry. Watson played the final 36 holes with Jack Nicklaus who was at that time the Tiger Woods of the golf world. Both competitors played exceptional golf for those two days, but as the final pair came to the 72nd green, the Scottish crowd roared for Watson who had a short putt for the win. Nicklaus rose his hands to hush the crowd for his younger foe. Watson sunk the three footer for the win and gave a modest double fist pump. The two men shook hands and as they walked together to the scorer's tent Nicklaus threw his arm around Watson's neck in a show of sportsmanship and pride that we just don't see in modern sports.

Reminds me of a poster my folks gave me when I was a kid that showed a losing football team walking off the field. The caption read:

How a man wins shows some of his character; how he loses, shows all of it.

Go Tom.

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