Goggin recalls Watson's near-miss at 2009 Open

Fri Jul 10, 2015 2:51pm EDT
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By Andrew Both

(Reuters) - The man who played with Tom Watson in the final round of the 2009 British Open believes, perversely, that a good putt on the penultimate hole may have cost the American an astonishing victory and a place in the record books.Watson, then 59, agonisingly failed to make history as the oldest major winner after he bogeyed the final hole at Turnberry, before losing a playoff to compatriot Stewart Cink.

With his Australian playing partner Mathew Goggin looking on, Watson hit an eight-iron approach at the par-four 18th that ran through the green and the tightly-mown fringe, his ball not stopping until it had reached a collar of thicker grass.

The American veteran then decided to putt instead of chipping, even though it was not a difficult chip shot uphill and into the wind.

But he hit a mediocre putt that ended up eight feet beyond the hole, from where he failed to sink the par putt.

Goggin recalled that Watson also putted from off the green at the 17th hole, with much greater precision than he did at the 18th.

"He hit (his second shot) through the green (on 17) and decided to putt it," Goggin said in an interview with Reuters. "It wasn't perfect grass (but) he putts it down stone dead through two or three yards of fringe.

"So the next hole (18) he's got a little bit more fringe (to negotiate). If he had hit an average putt on the hole before he probably would have chipped that (third shot at the 18th) and won.

"But because he hit such a good putt the hole before he probably had more confidence in (his putting) than chipping."   Continued...

Australia's Mathew Goggin tees off on the 14th hole during the first round of the 2013 U.S. Open golf championship at the Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pennsylvania, June 13, 2013. REUTERS/Adam Hunger