Reality Check: Cinderella Never Played Golf

John SmithContributor IJuly 19, 2009

TURNBERRY, SCOTLAND - JULY 19:  Tom Watson of USA applauds after his defeat in a play off with Stewart Cink following the final round of the 138th Open Championship on the Ailsa Course, Turnberry Golf Club on July 19, 2009 in Turnberry, Scotland.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)


Another dream, another unthinkable story, another smack in the face. Wake up and smell the Gatorade.


Tom Watson reminded us yet again this weekend that golf is not a sympathetic game. The 59-year-old PGA veteran was unable to pull a remarkable victory at The Open Championship. This is just one of many remarkable what-could-have-been stories as of late that failed to come true.


Phil couldn’t win the U.S. Open after his wife was diagnosed with breast cancer, Rocco couldn’t pull off an unthinkable upset against Tiger, heck, John Daly couldn’t even win after heading out to the course after a brutal domestic dispute with his wife. Cinderella stories in golf are few and far in between.


Sure, Tiger won after his dad died—but Tiger Woods won because he was the best. Jack Nicklaus won a major in his late forties, but the Golden Bear is one of the all-time greats. Even in his age, he was among the best on a given day.


Golf is a game for winners. Winners look adversity in the eye on Sunday, winners knock down the big putt on 18, winners find the fairway when it has avoided them all weekend and winners certainly do not think about hitting the ball off the clubhouse.


Golf pushes a man’s (or woman’s) limits. It challenges them endlessly both mentally and physically. And in golf, luck will only prevail for so long. When its crunch time, skill almost always prevails.


Tom Watson made a comment more than once this week about there being something “spiritual” about his play. And it seemed that there was, but on Sundays the spirits always leave. Sunday is about skill, and this weekend, at age 59, Tom Watson didn’t have the skill to beat Stewart Cink in a four-hole playoff.


Speaking of skill, it won’t be long until a long-lost myth of a man known as Tiger Woods returns to true form. All Tiger has ever needed is motivation, and after missing the cut at The Open, it's safe to say that Tiger will be more than motivated in his next major. 


Skill always prevails.  And don’t confuse skill with talent.  If you could win on sheer talent, Sergio Garcia would be the greatest golfer to ever walk down the fairway.


Oh yeah, and as for you Tom Watson, thanks for keeping middle-aged and over America glued to the TV screen for a few days. Thanks for reminding us yet again about the true spirit of sports. It's stories like this that make sports great—even if the stories don’t always have fairy tale endings.