After watching the British Open for the past few days, I have even greater admiration for Tom Watson.   I wasn’t much of a Tom Watson fan during his playing days … I much preferred rooting for Jack Nicklaus.  But, what he accomplished the past few days is simply remarkable.

The thought of a 59-year old person winning a major championship, regardless of the sport, is mind-boggling.  He would have been at least 10 years older than any champion.

Just think … Tom is more than 25 years older than Tiger Woods!  Yes, he was out there competing his heart out against the younger generation.   All he did was a get a par-4 on the 18th hole.  He made a nice drive into the fairway on the 18th.  He then hit a solid 8-iron right into middle of the green.  Unfortunately, it went off the green.  He still only had an up-and-down to capture the championship.  But, he putted his 3rd shot too far … and a tough 8-foot to make the par.   As we all know, he missed the putt … then played poorly in the 4-hole play-off.

But, imagine what he accomplished.   He’s going to make so many more athletes in the their late 30’s to late 50’s, especially golfers, think they can can continue to compete at a higher level.  He opened many eyes and ears.   This will have a positive effect on older athletes.

The thing I admired the most is how he handled the defeat.  He could have sulked and complained.   Instead, he handled it with incredible grace and dignity.   The mark of a great champion is not just how they win, but also how they lose.  Tom Watson taught many us how to do this in a world-class manner.   He is already one of golf’s all-time greats, but he can now walk away with his head held just a higher.  He is champion and he is one who provided us memories that we will not forget for a long, long time.