News From Terre Haute, Indiana

On & Off the Course

July 25, 2009

On and Off the Course: One for the ages … well, almost!


I would say that saddest part of Watson’s near miss in the history books was the decision to hit an 8-iron instead of a 9-iron into the 18th green on the 72nd hole. His game plan, experience, and smooth swing with his irons had faced the gauntlet of Turnberry and had carried him through, until that last approach. It was really that, more so than the putt, that put him back a stroke and into a tie with Stewart Cink. That 8-iron, and the unpredictable bounces of a links course, set up a chip from the back of the green. If he had hit a 9-iron, it would have landed short, bounced on, and made for a relatively easy two-putt. Game over. Everybody goes home with a smile on their face and warm memories of the day. Instead, a mentally and physically tired 59-year old man had to face a four-hole play off against one in his prime, hungry for his first major championship. And he just didn’t have anything left in the gas tank.

The good news though, is that Stewart Cink was the winner. Ranked 33rd going into The Open Championship, Cink makes the third winner of a major in 2009 outside of the top 30. (Angel Cabrera was 69th going into the Masters, and Lucas Glover was 71st before the U.S. Open.) This was no fluke either. Cink made some changes in his game and was well prepared for this tournament. One of the first things he did was put his belly putter away. He had been very adept on short putts with the belly putter, but struggled with mid-range putts. Going to a conventional putter put more feel for distance in his hands. He also had help in switching back to a conventional putter from Dr. Morris Pickens, the same sports psychologist who helped Lucas Glover.

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