The ride Tom Watson took us all on five years ago was one we, like the rest of the sports world, will never forget. At the time, he was 59 years old, playing in yet another British Open Championship – a major tournament he’s won five times in his legendary career.
This time it was at Turnberry, site of Mr. Watson’s win in 1977. He was 1 shot off the lead after the first round. Tied for the lead after the second round. And then all eyes, if they weren’t watching already, turned towards the historic drama that came that weekend. Could he do it? Could he become the oldest major champion?
For us at Adams, we were wrapped up in all the possibilities from a business perspective as his major equipment sponsor, but more so, we were watching like everyone else … as fans of golf and great admirers of Mr. Watson and what he was on the verge of accomplishing.
The final round Sunday was filled with nerve-wracking moments and exhilarating highs as he charged into the back nine to recapture the lead on 17 with a short birdie putt. Onto the Par 4 18th – Mr. Watson hit a beautiful hybrid off the tee to set up a short iron shot into the green. His perfect 8 iron landed hard and rolled off the back of the green, “I hit the shot I meant to,” he said. “When it was in the air I said, ‘I like it’.” He went on to bogey 18 and then head into a playoff with Stewart Cink where he would end up losing his bid for his ninth major title.
“It would’ve been one hell of a story, wouldn’t it?” he would ask in his post-round interview.
As with most weekends we watch our tour pros and prepare for possible wins. We like to congratulate them with a print ad or a web banner to mark their special occasion. We were ready to go with the same materials for Mr. Watson’s potential victory at Turnberry. He didn’t win that Sunday, but he did provide all of us a chance to witness a special part of golf history and show us that triumphant victories are still possible no matter your age. It was inspiring. So, instead of a “win ad” we thanked Mr. Watson the week after that Open Championship with a tip of our cap to the man that has taken us on many, many incredible and inspiring rides through the years.