From the Rough

Golf without discretion

The media is still holding a grudge against Stewart Cink for his British Open victory

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Being a full-fledged member of the golfing media, I can tell you first-hand that we (the media) sometimes hold grudges against certain players we dislike. For whatever reason, I think most of those grudges are due to a player rubbing us the wrong way, skipping an interview, or giving us worthless quotes.

Sure, we’re all meant to be unbiased observers, but I can tell you almost everyone out here secretly roots for a player on tour each week. Tom Watson is a tour favorite to some, so you can probably the way certain members of the media felt when Stewart Cink beat Watson in the British Open playoff.

More specifically, some were ticked because Cink ruined their feel-good story. I can understand their frustration in writing about Cink for their weekly or daily publication, but at some point you have to get over the fact that Watson was beat by a guy who went 2-under in a four hole playoff.

It’s not like both played like dogs and Cink won by the skin of his teeth. So why in the world after nearly a month a members of the media still grilling Cink for his reported restroom stop prior to the start of the playoff?

I was reading some quotes from yesterday’s press conference and noticed a very hot set of questions about the restroom stop. Granted, I know Cink stopped to allow Watson to get to the tee before he did with the hopes of walking up to a less raucous crowd, but I know for a fact that it wasn’t gamesmanship. Cink isn’t that kind of guy.

Here’s the set of questions via ASAP Sports quote website (sic’d):

Q. I read somewhere that you somewhat froze out Tom Watson on the first hole of the playoffs. You took a little bathroom break to I guess calm down the crowd. Could you put it in your words how that transpired?

STEWART CINK: I wasn’t really trying to calm down the crowd. I just really didn’t want to be the one standing on the tee when Tom walked up and to hear that huge roar of applause. There was probably 70 people standing way around the tee because it was way out on the course.

I wanted to be the last one to walk out there. Because I knew they were going to be for Tom. It didn’t take a genius to figure that out. And so I just took a little bathroom break and it took me an extra 30 seconds, maybe a minute, to get there.

And it was, I don’t know, I felt like that was the right thing to do competitively at the time. I wasn’t trying to ice anybody. I wanted to be the second one there.

Q. Kind of a semi-related question. You were asked about this at Turnberry playing a foil to Tom and what a story. How do you think it will be viewed historically five, ten years from now is it awkward at all? You tried to get your first major. You finally get your first major and it’s kind-under kind of unusual circumstances for a guy like that to be the opponent.

STEWART CINK: I think the word “unusual” doesn’t fit in the sentence. It doesn’t do justice to what the scenario looked like at the time. No hard feelings or anything at all because I understand from a sports fan’s view that that was the greatest story maybe in sports in the last generation that was trying to unfold right there.

I think many years from now people will look back and they’ll remember that Watson almost won the Open. And it might take them a second, but I think they’ll remember that I ended up being the winner.
I could probably solidify my own presence in that tournament by winning a few more big tournaments down the road. But as long as I have my Claret Jug with me, that can’t be taken away from me. I’ve never really been one that gets into what the others think too much.

So I know in my heart what happened that weekend and I played really well and I was very proud. If they don’t remember me at all, I’ll remember it.

Q. Did you have much of a relationship with Tom before that, and have you talked to him much at all since Turnberry?

STEWART CINK: Haven’t talked to him much at all since except — well, after it was all done when we were headed up towards the room, we met him and his wife on the stairs. And it was my wife and I and our kids, and Tom and Hilary Watson.

And Tom always so nice. He stopped and had a smile on his face. And he shared a quick story about one of the experiences he had with the Clair jug when it was in his possession. And it was really — it was almost like a moment of diffusal, because obviously when you’re playing against someone in a playoff like that, it’s man-to-man. It’s like an adversary thing. Someone’s got to win, someone’s got to lose.

He was very gracious on the 18th green. And I remember kind of looking at it and telling him, “Can you believe this thing, your name’s on there five times.” And he was really respectful. But that meeting on the stairs was really nice. It was two or three minutes, but it was just enough for him to communicate to me without saying it in words, well done, pat on the back and go enjoy it.


Written by Jonathan Wall

08/12/2009 at 9:27 pm

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  1. […] bathroom break before the playoff at the British Open. Darn media! Always stirrin’ stuff up! [From the Rough] • Nice profile of Kevin Roman, one of the 20 club pros who are competing this week in the […]

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