Garcia, Westwood still chasing major title after British Open champ Cink finally has hisBy Robert Millward, AP
Monday, July 20, 2009
Cink finally has major; Garcia, Westwood must wait
TURNBERRY, Scotland — Stewart Cink finally broke a tiring Tom Watson at the British Open to find that elusive major title on his 50th attempt.
For Lee Westwood it stayed just out of reach in his 47th and Sergio Garcia got nowhere near in major No. 41.
While Cink’s one-sided playoff victory over five-time champion Watson stopped a fairytale ending at Turnberry, it meant he went home with the famous claret jug after a long wait for one of golf’s top titles.
“How much I needed it I don’t know,” said Cink, whose first major was the 1996 US Open. “I’m not sure I really thought much about whether I was good enough to win a major or not. I knew I’d been close a few times but I never really heard my name tossed in there with the group of best ones not to have won.
“So maybe I was starting to believe that — that I wasn’t one of the best ones to never have won a major.”
Even before Cink captured his Open title, the dubious honor of the best player not to have captured one of the four top prizes in golf belonged to Garcia.
The Spaniard came close 10 years ago when he finished one stroke behind Tiger Woods at the 1999 PGA Championship as a 19-year-old.
That performance suggested he might become Woods’ biggest rival. While the American added 12 more to take his total to 14, however, Garcia is still waiting for his first.
At 1 under halfway through the tournament and four shots off the lead, he appeared well positioned to make another challenge here, two years after he lost a playoff to Padraig Harrington at Carnoustie. But a third round 76 ended his chances.
“I had a couple of good rounds to start with then unfortunately I had a bad day yesterday,” Garcia said of his 6-over 76. “Today was a weird day. It was the kind of day when, every time I got myself going, I screwed it up on the next hole. I couldn’t ride the momentum. Every time I made a birdie I made a bogey on the next hole.
“I’m fairly positive. I would love to have played much better. But there are a lot of positive things I can take away from the first two days.”
Westwood got a lot closer to the Open title here and, like Garcia, was considered one of the leading contenders.
In contention throughout the tournament after a 68 and two 70s, the 36-year-old Englishman led going to the 15th hole. But he bogeyed three out of the last four holes and his eagle putt at 17 rolled up to the cup but stayed agonizingly out.
That left him at 2 under and his tee shot on No. 18 landed in a deep fairway bunker with the flag fluttering in the breeze a long way in the distance. But he produced one of the best shots of the championship from the sand and managed to find the green, 60 feet from the flag.
A shot behind Watson at that stage and knowing that Cink was already in the clubhouse at 2-under, he went for broke and his birdie attempt rolled 10 feet past. He missed that, too, and wound up with a 71, 1 under for the championship with no chance of even a playoff.
As it turned out, Watson bogeyed the last hole. If Westwood had played safe, rolled his birdie putt close to the pin and finished 2-under, he would have been in the playoff too.
“I’ve gone from frustration to sickness now,” Westwood said after finishing tied for third behind Cink and Watson.
“I figured — I thought I’d have to hole it, to be perfectly honest. I didn’t see Tom bogeying the last, since he’s such an experienced player. But he obviously got a bogey there.
“You’ve just got to keep working,” said Westwood, who also finished fourth at the 2004 British Open at Troon. “I’m putting in the hard work at the moment, and it’s obviously paying off because I’m getting closer.”
Tags: 138th British Open Golf, British open, Events, Lee westwood, Men's Golf, Pga, Scotland, Stewart cink, Turnberry