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Watson makes up for Tiger-less Open

July 20, 2009 - Per Peterson
It would’ve been nice to see 59-year-old Tom Watson win the British Open on Sunday. He didn’t, but the Professional Golf Association, the TV network that carried the tournament and the advertisers who paid millions for spots during this weekend’s major owe him. With Tiger missing the cut (gotta love the sound of that), the chances of anyone but hard-core golf enthusiasts tuning in Sunday were slim. Casual golfing fans always track Tiger on TV, especially on Sundays. Tiger is to golf what LeBron and Kobe are to the NBA — they give casual fans a reason to tune in. Watson did just that Sunday, coming within an 8-foot putt from becoming the oldest player ever to win a major championship. Whether it was nerves, or simply a bad read, Watson’s putt didn’t find the bottom of the cup and he went into a playoff with Stewart Cink, who ended up winning after sinking a 12-foot birdie putt on the final hole of regulation. Both finished at 2-under. ‘‘I made a lousy putt,’’ Watson said Sunday. ‘‘Then in the playoff, it was bad shot after another.’’ But we all tuned in to watch anyway, even after the bad shots piled up. And the golfing world — those who run the business and the companies who advertised during tournament — should be thankful Watson had it in him to at least come close to making history. There was no Tiger in the mix Sunday, but there was a Tom, who, for at least a weekend, turned back the clock and gave us no other option but to watch.


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