Cink wins Open play-off


The Open Championship In Association With Nikon

The Tom Watson Open fairytale so nearly turned into reality at Turnberry tonight.

Watson (59) literally came within an inch or so of becoming the oldest Open and major champion of all-time.

But it wasn't to be, his old putting woes returning to haunt him on the final green when a missed seven footer put him in a play-off with fellow Amrican Stewart Cink instead of being re-united with the Claret Jug. 

If it had dropped the crowd would have gone berserk and Watson would have claimed his sixth Open title 32 years after winning the epic Duel in the Sun against Jack Nicklaus at Turnberry.   

It was a golden opportunity for Watson but the squandered chance cost him dear, Cink taking full advantage in a rather one-sided play-off to secure his first major championship.

Full credit to Cink but you've got to think that this Open will be remembered as the one Watson lost rather than the one he (Cink) won.

A triumphant Cink, one of the quiet, unsung stars of golf, admitted: "I knew most of the crowd would be on Tom's side and it's not the first time I've gone under the radar ...though that might change now.

"I grew up watching Tom play and turning back the clock like he has this week is amazing. This stuff doesn't happen and I'm so happy to be part of it."

It was a rather flat and disappointing finale to an otherwise amazing week in which Watson incredibly rolled back the years to prove he's still a major force even though he's fast approaching his 60th birthday and receiving his bus pass.

Clearly there's such a thin line between sporting glory and failure. Just ask England's Lee Westwood and Chris Wood who both would have featured in the play-off too but for critically bogeying the last hole.

It was a gritty effort by both but Westwood in particular will be kicking himself all the way home as he will probably never get a better chance of holding aloft the Claret Jug.

Wood, on the other hand, almost certainly will. Last year at Birkdale he won the amateur's Silver Medal and finished fifth, this time coming tied 3rd with Westy. Surely his time will come.

But at the end of the day the powerful Cink (4th round 69 & -2 total) held sway and Watson and the huge galleries rooting for him were left to reflect on what might have been...