Friday, July 24, 2009

Tom Watson Gentleman and Golfer

He needed a Watson Par on the last on Sunday but came up short. We started calling any non-routine par, but especially one out of the khack or off a tree or out of a bunker a Watson Par. We marked the card with a capital W, the guys in Chicago I played with and I - in honor of our Tom. That's how we played! Oh how we wished that he had one more on Sunday 19 July, 2009. So many hearts were broken. We would all have given him one.

Reports say that maybe he had only one hour's sleep on Sunday night, but Monday he showed in London and played a practice round at Old Sunningdale. Today he played one of the top rounds after giving himself Wednesday off before the Senior Open.

There is true love for the game and more importantly respect. He shows us with actions not hystrionics what he feels and what he stands for without an entourage of media hacks, publicists, trainers, a chef and bottle washer. Certainly without a tossed club like a petulant boy. A true gentleman with respect for all human beings - showing us that he is not in any way bigger than the game.

Perhaps forgotten in the past 30 years of sports superstardom was a stand that Tom Watson took at his beloved Kansas City CC. Arthur Block of H & R Block, a Jew was denied admission into the club. Tom Watson on humanitarian grounds resigned his membership over this discriminatory act. A humanitarian stand. Eventually Mr. Block became a member and Mr. Watson was reinstated into the club, but his position was taken immediately and on gentlemanly grounds.

In many ways Tom Watson is a very admirable man. Only he can know what he feels about all of the events of the past week, but one thing he has done is to talk to us every single day and answer every question. In America today on TNT's pathetically abbreviated coverage of the MasterCard Senior British Open, Mr. Watson's interview with the elegant and stylish Jim Hueber was unedited. Mr. Watson never hesitated nor calculated an answer and as always, Jim (a most under-rated announcer) asked some rather pointed questions rather than lobbing puff-balls.

My hat's off to you, Mr. Watson.

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