By Miles Evans
ST ANDREWS, Scotland (Reuters) - The 2009 British Open was the fairytale with the unsatisfactory ending, the 59-year-old Tom Watson pipped at the post by Stewart Cink in the ultimate near-miss for the older generation.
Does the affable Cink begrudge the fact Watson's glorious failure will always be remembered more than his own first major win? Not a bit of it.
"I understand that was the situation. It totally makes sense," said a sodden Cink after making the short journey from the Old Course clubhouse to the press tent through driving rain and a howling gale on Wednesday.
"But in no way has it taken anything off what I felt from last year and the joy I've been able to have being the Open champion has been almost indescribable. It's just fantastic.
If anything Cink says his fellow American's performance added to the romance of a great occasion at Turnberry 12 months ago, when the veteran went down the 72nd hole with a one-shot lead only for Cink to outclass him in a four-hole playoff.
"If I hadn't won the tournament last year in that way, with Tom being involved, it wouldn't have been such a special event, that just made it even more special, that 59-year-old legend Tom Watson was involved till the very end.
"So I'm not tired of hearing it. I don't feel like he's taken anything away from me."
Cink has enjoyed having the famed Claret Jug for the year. No polished trophy cabinet for the 37-year-old Atlanta resident, he put the silverware to much more constructive use.
"The first thing that went in it, I reserved the right to put in Guinness. That's my beer of choice, not that I drink a lot of beer. The kids drank Coca Cola out of it. We had some wine in it. We basted some barbecue with it."
Cink admitted the emotion of the moment got to him on Wednesday when before the champions dinner he had to hand back the trophy to the R&A.
At Watson's suggestion the two practiced together on Tuesday, and Cink senses he could rise to the occasion again.
"It's very similar to last year where I really had nothing going at all until, 'Boom, Turnberry'. I'm hoping this year we can say, 'Boom, St Andrews'."
(Editing by Tony Jimenez)