Monday, July 20, 2009

Stewart Cink - The Open Champion

What a thrill. I mean what an incredible thrill.

Congratulations to my fellow Florence Golf and Country Club junior golf program alum, fellow Ping Pro-Junior teammate for two years running, and fellow Dixie Junior tournament traveler (thanks to his mom Anne for all the rides to the really fun tourneys), Stewart Cink for capturing his first, and certainly not last, Major Golf Championship by winning The 138th (British) Open yesterday in a play-off with... Tom Watson?!? What, is this 1977?

Stewart's head must be spinning still. Again... Tom Watson in a playoff? We use to play "You be Jack and you be Arnold and you be Tom" on the putting green at FGCC low these many years ago (of course, Stewart always won the Coke or quarters we were playing for). Simply amazing.

Saturday I did the 15 hours drive/move. I don't have a TV or cable yet so I went to the local golf course early Sunday morning to watch the final round in the restaurant. I had every intention of watching sports history made by Tom Watson. I was in the definite minority among the folks in the restaurant as all were rooting for Tom.

I am so very happy for Stewart.

Our 4 hole scramble tourneys we held each Friday during the summer junior sessions at FGCC really paid off for Stewart at Turnberry. But, instead of winning a sleave of golf balls he won the Claret Jug plus 1.2 millions dollars. Not a bad upgrade.

So, again, Congrats Stewart! Couldn't happen to a nicer guy.

Here is a picture posted on his Twitter account (he has nearly 600,000 followers):

Stewart Cink (stewartcink) on Twitter


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The 2009 Open Championship - Outside chance brings Cink inside group of major winners

Perhaps fittingly, Cink became just the second American to win at Turnberry -- Watson was the first 32 years ago.

“I never have dreamed that I would go head to head against Tom Watson in a playoff for a major championship,” Cink said. “That would be beyond even my mind's imagination capabilities. … The same Tom Watson that won this tournament in, what was it, '77, the same guy showed up here this week. And he just about did it. He beat everybody but one guy. And it was really special. I never thought in my wildest dreams I would be playing against Tom Watson.”

To reiterate -- never in his wildest dreams did Cink see himself battling Watson for a major. But that’s what happened at Turnberry, and can anyone truly expect Cink -- one of the all-around good guys on TOUR -- to feel guilty about his greatest accomplishment ever on the golf course?

“I'm engulfed by the joy, for sure,” Cink said. “I can understand, though, the mystique that came really close to developing here and the story. But in the end, you know, it's a tournament to see who lasts the longest. It's a survival test out there, as you look at the scoreboard with the winning score being 2 under. It's a survival test, and I don't know what else to say.

“I don't feel ashamed. I don't feel disappointed,” he added. “I'm pleased as punch that I've won this tournament, and also proud of the way Tom Watson played because he showed not only did he show how great a golfer he is, but he showed what a great game we all play, the longevity that can exist, for a guy to come out and compete.

“We thought Jack Nicklaus hung the moon when we won the Masters at 46. This is 13 years on from that, if I'm correct, right? Thirteen more years of age. So it just says a lot about golf.”

Cink’s climb to the top - Golf - Yahoo! Sports:

"From the improbable surge of a golden great to the turbulent gusts bursting in off the ocean, to sickness he briefly feared was the deadly swine flu, Cink met it all with an unflappable mood and a cheery disposition."

British Open: Stewart Cink's win tarnished by Tom Watson's defeat - ESPN:
"TURNBERRY, Scotland -- One of golf's truly great guys turned out to be the bad guy.

Even Stewart Cink recognized that in the gathering darkness Sunday night at Turnberry, where you could hear a Claret Jug drop.

Tom Watson was the story here, a par away from perhaps the biggest happening in 149 years of the game's championship history. And there was the nice guy, Cink, with cold blood in his veins, stepping on a Hall of Famer's neck and not letting go until he sucked the life out of Scotland."

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