Watson at the British Open: what does it take to be a winner?
days the almost 60 year old Tom Watson, a great star of golf in the 1970s who had not won a major in 26 years, incredibly led the British Open, right up to the last hole. If he held par on the last hole, he would have been the oldest golfer, by more than ten years of age, to win a major tournament. Jeff in England, who had been following the tournament from the start, sent some e-mails about it.
Subject: WHOEVER WOULD HAVE HAVE GUESSED
It’s too exciting. Can hardly breathe. Watson leading by one from Westwood and Goggin with three holes to play and a good tee shot on the 16th. But now a terrible birdie putt puts him in danger.
Big choke from Watson when it counted. He had it, it was his and he blew it. Now trailing in playoff against a young confident player. Doesn’t look good for Watson.
I’ve got it on now.
LA writes: (after the second playoff hole):
Whoa. Watson saving par on that longish putt, I didn’t think it was going in, and then it did!
Jeff writes (after Watson had lost the playoff):
Subject: THERE’S A MOMENT WHEN ALL OLD THINGS BECOME NEW AGAIN BUT THAT MOMENT HAS COME AND GONE
Watson had his chance and blew it big time. It was his victory for the taking on the 18th. But he didn’t believe in himself and he got found out.
I felt that lack of his self-belief all day but his competitors mucked up giving Watson the big chance and giving me the illusion that he would win it anyway.. But he wasn’t up to it.
The playoff was a joke and I turned it off after a while.
Did it come down to one easy putt that he missed on the last hole? . Is that what your criticizing him for? I mean, he stayed up there for 72 holes, so he had the will to win through all that, and then, what? He let his concentration slip on that one putt? What are you saying his failure consisted of?
Subject: AND FAILURE’S NO SUCCESS AT ALL
He had two putts to win it. Not one. All he had to do is put the first putt near the hole not in it. But he didn’t.Instead he left it just a bit too far from the hole. The second he totally blew it wasn’t even close, I could have done better.
His concentration wasn’t the problem, it was something far deeper, it was a lack of self-belief. I was feeling it all day long as I watched him. The previous three rounds he had it, today he didn’t.
A magnificent effort for a 60 year old warrior yes. But he failed at the last. Due to lack of self-belief.
One of the greatest sportsman for self-belief was Mohammed Ali. Which is why he was able to beat Foreman and Frazier (two out of three). Self-belief in sports is not everything but it is the most important thing.
Recently Andy Roddick played Roger Federer in the final at Wimbledon. It was so close that it went on nearly forever but at no moment did I feel Roddick had the self-belief to win and I was proved right.
The best example of this in a film is the great film about pool with Paul Newman and George C. Scott and Jackie Gleason, “THE HUSTLER.” Newman, the young pretender is slaughtering the champion Gleason but despite this Scott (a mafioso and shrewd gambler) says to Gleason: “Stay with this kid, he’s a loser. And he is proved right. All of Newman’s bluster doesn’t fool Scott. He recognises lack of self-belief when he sees it.
Jesus too had self-belief and though he seems to momentarily lose it as he cries out MY LORD MY LORD WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME, he ends by commending his spirit into God’s loving hands. He had doubted, yes as man doubts but he overcame his doubt. His belief in his own being and mission are at one with his belief and trust in his heavenly Father. True self-belief is unselfish though it can appear to be the opposite. True self-belief includes a certain amount of doubt and recognises that doubt is wise to have but must be fought.
Now it would be a bit harsh to call Watson a loser. But he was a choker today on the final regulation hole and it reflected the lack of self-belief that was deep inside of him.
I’ve never seen you being so tough on anyone.
“Self-belief in sports is not everything but it is the most important thing.”
I agree totally.
“THERE’S A MOMENT WHEN ALL OLD THINGS BECOME NEW AGAIN BUT THAT MOMENT HAS COME AND GONE”
Great subject line. And you’re even using Dylan’s most recent album. You are really on top of your game today. You’re in a position to be the oldest Dylan paraphraser to win a Major.
Subject: HE LOST THE WAR AFTER WINNING EVERY BATTLE
The truth is that he could have won it due to the problems with the other golfers who were not the strongest bunch around. Watson was not really winning the battles, rather his opponents were losing them. That scenario can be an illusion set up by the devil so you think you are “ok.” But you are not and you will get caught out when you can least afford to be.
Posted by Lawrence Auster at July 19, 2009 04:34 PM | Send
So in the end Watson had to beat the devil in himself so to speak and he wasn’t up to that battle. Not that many of us are. That ole devil is plenty tough as we all know. Strikes at the most crucial times. In the strangest ways and at the strangest time. Often when you think He/She is not around.
As the Devil (Ken Spacey) says near the end of The Usual Suspects: “The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was making people think he didn’t exist.”