I didn’t want Tom Watson to win the British Open yesterday.
Watson had already won five British Opens. Would winning a sixth make a material difference in his life? I doubt it. Last week he was a golfing great, this week he’s a golfing great. Nothing changes because he lost.
Stewart Cink, on the other hand, has been playing golf for nearly 20 years without a major tournament win. It is likely that his win yesterday will be his one and only major victory, and that it will make a large difference in his life. He may never rise to the level of golfing great, but now he will always be Stewart Cink, British Open champion.
I’m happy for him. Am I the only one?
While Watson’s age made his challenge interesting, and gave a lift to many of his aged viewers, I am more comfortable in a world in which the old yield the floor gracefully to the young.
There was an accidental aspect to Watson’s moment in the sun, as if it was all unexpected, even by him, which contributed greatly to his appeal. In this he bears no resemblance to Lance Armstrong, the latest in a string of greats incapable of ceding the spotlight to others.
Armstrong returned to the Tour de France after setting every cycling record worth having. The only records left for him are those not worth having: most narcissistic, biggest megalomaniac.
Yet we root for him. Even the French!
We like to say we favor the underdog, look out for the little guy, but in practice we often prefer Goliath to David.