Sunday, July 19, 2009

Golf is played by humans

Sometimes the miraculous golf shots of Tiger Woods become expected. What creative, courageous shot can he pull of to salvage par, a birdie, or the tournament. This year's British Open did not have Tiger in the final field. Yet an old man taught us about humanity. Who would ever have thought that Tom Watson would take the lead on the first day of play and then relinquish it on the final putt on the final hole. Who would've thought in this day of weight lifting, chiseled athletes playing the refined game call golf and old man would hold sway.

I am proud of the way Tom Watson played. I am proud in the style with which he accepted the loss. He is a true champion, even more so now than in his hey-day. Tom proved that age is only a barrier if you let it be. Tom proved that even the aging can summon the ghosts of the past and relieve the excitement and the elation of the competition.

I am sure many professional sports writers will say a man of that age shouldn't be competitive. I am sure they may even say that the sport suffered because an old man could be competitive in such an event as the British Open. I say they are wrong. I say that on this day the true character of a man was on display for all to see. I contend that he faced odds few of us encounter and over came those odds to the very end when perhaps age did play a part in adding to the pressure of that final putt. Some may say it is a shame, he came so close. I say Tom Watson proved that the human condition is magnificent, that on a given day from the ashes of age rose a man who overcame and while he didn't triumph on the course his spirit triumphed on a day of wind and sun to show us again the reason we are such unique beings.

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