TURNBERRY, Scotland – Tom Watson stood over an 8-foot par putt Sunday evening on the final hole of a mystical British Open, one stroke away from becoming the oldest major champion in history. For the first time all week, he showed his 59-year-old nerves.
The par putt never had a chance.
A little more than an hour later, neither did Watson.
Stewart Cink, who made a 12-foot birdie putt on the final hole of regulation, took advantage of Watson's missed opportunity and won a four-hole playoff by six shots.
Watson stood on the 18th tee one last time, blinking away tears. He wasn't alone in his sadness. Thousands of fans who filled the grandstands for the first time all week sat in stunned silence.
The loudest cheer was for the player who won the silver medal.
Cink, who was never atop the leaderboard all week until Watson missed his putt, was flawless in the playoff and finished off with two birdies. As he gazed at the fabled claret jug, he paid his due to Watson, the modern day King of the Links.
"I don't even know what to say," Cink said. "My hat's off to him. He turned back the clock. Just did a great job. I speak for all the rest of the people here, too."