Tom Watson admitted that defeat was a bitter pill to swallow after coming so close to becoming the oldest player at 59 years of age to win a major golf championship.
The American legend needed to merely par the 18th hole at Turnberry to claim his sixth British Open title and ninth major of his incredible career. But faced with a tricky eight-footer for victory, Watson by his own admission hit a “lousy putt” and handed Stewart Cink the chance of playoff victory. Watson cut a weary figure in the four extra holes and eventually finished six shots adrift of his fellow American, but fully aware of how close he had been to creating golf history. “It would have been a hell of a story, wouldn’t it “It tears out your gut like it’s always torn out my gut,” he added.
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“It’s not easy to take. I put myself in position to win and didn’t do it. Watson went on to pay tribute to his playoff conqueror, who was winning his first major title. “Stewart did what he had to do and I didn’t give him much competition. “But what I take from this week is a lot of warmth – the crowds were just wonderful to me all week – and a lot of spirituality. And it was good fun.” It was an anti-climactic end to an incredible tournament and Watson was asked by a reporter to sum up the week. “The Old Fogey Almost Did It,” he quipped. Watson, who has said that next year at St Andrews will be his final British Open, now heads to Sunningdale for the British Seniors Open later this week.