Thomas Aiken


TURNBERRY, SCOTLAND - That pristine ogre known as golf has struck again, choosing a gorgeous setting by the Irish Sea to unleash its full and singular meanness upon a cherished 59-year-old man.

It enticed him for four days of enchantment. It ushered him to the 72nd hole with a one-shot lead in a British Open and a chance to broaden earthly possibility. It brought Tom Watson down that No. 18 fairway to deeply felt applause, and then it threw in a blaring roar when his well-struck 8-iron approach on an 8-foot putt smacked down and bounded onto the green.

Then, as that ball pranced across the green on Turnberry's storied No. 18, golf ushered Watson to the very brink of becoming...