ABOUT ME

 

Nick Ragone is an author, attorney and public relations executive in New York City. He earned a bachelor’s degree in history and political science from Rutgers University, and is a graduate of the Eagleton Institute of Political Science at Rutgers University (undergraduate) and the Georgetown University Law Center.

He is the author of three books: Essential American Government, Everything American Government, and President's Most Wanted. Nick is a regular contributor to the Fox News Channel and Fox Business, the PIX11 Morning Show, and has a weekly appearance on the popular Raph Bailey Radio Show.  He co-anchored PIX11's five-hour live inauguration coverage with Jim Watkins and Kaity Tong.

Nick is a contributor to Donklephant.com, one of the most influential political blogs on the web, and  has written for US News & World Report, The Star-Ledger, Real Simple Magazine and RealSimple.com.  Nick has been quoted in over two dozen stories on politics, the presidency, and public relations.  In December of 2007, Nick was named one of PR Week's 40 under 40 to watch, and in May of 2008 was featured in "Profiles of Success", a book about public relations. Nick lives in Jersey City, NJ, with his wife and two children, and spends what little free time he has obsessing on the Mets.

Nick can also be found on Facebook. http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=740817853


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« Fly me to the moon | Main | Maria or Erin? »
Saturday
Jul182009

Can Watson hold on for one more day? 

I didn't think anything could top Greg Norman's magical run at Royal Birkdale last year where he came within a whisker of winning his third Open Championship.  It seemed incomprehensible that a 53 year old part time golfer, who had been snake bitten more times than should be humanly allowed, could turn back the hands of time for one last chance at major glory.

It was an other-wordly performance, and even though he didn't win, it ranks as one of the great performances in golf history.

Should Tom Watson somehow manage to win the Open Championship tomorrow, it will rank as one of the greatest performances in sports history. Actually, it almost doens't matter if he wins or not; the fact that a 59 year old is leading the world's oldest golf championship after 54 holes already rates it as one of the all-time great sports moments. A victory would put it in a category of its own.

I'll be pulling for Watson as hard as I physically can. Regular readers of this blog know I'm a golf nut; my oldest and fondest memories are playing and watching the game, and my first idol was Tom Watson. Arnie and Jack were before my day; Trevino wasn't my cup of tea; Miller seemed too unlikeable, and Norman was too much a choker to idolize.

Watson was my guy. My earliest memory watching the sport was the Nicklaus-Watson duel in the sun at Turnberry in '77. I remember that my dad, a Nicklaus guy, was traumatized by the loss, but respected the heck out of Watson for his class and talent.

I remember the chip in at the 17th at Pebble in '82 to steal another major from Nicklaus, followed by victories at the Open championship later that summer and again the following year. And I remember being devastated when Seve holed that put on the 72nd hole at St Andrews to deny Watson his third straight Claret Jug. Little could we know that it would be his last, best chance at winning another major.

Sure he would tease at the Olympic Club in '87, the Masters in 1991, and even the US Open in 2003, where he was in contention after 36 holes, but it was just that -- a tease. Watson lost his nerve with the flat stick in the summer of '84, and was never the same golfer after that, even though his ball striking actually improved with age.

To see his supple swing -- still on plane and past parrellel at age 59 -- is too watch a thing of beauty. In what sport can a 59 year outplay 30-somethings in the prime of their career? It would be as if Joe Theisman threw five touchdowns against the Giants last year, or Steve Carlton tossed a three-hit shutout against the Mets (ok, bad example).

And he's not doing it with smoke and mirrors. Sure, he's dropped a few bombs, but he's mostly done it with insanely pure ball-striking. Sergio Garcia, one of the great ball-strikers in the game, commented after their Friday round that he had never seen such crisp iron play in his life. You can't win five Open Championships without striping the ball, and Watson is still striping the ball after all these years.

All of Scotland will be rooting for Watson tomorrow. Sure, they love Westwood in the British Islses, and this young kid Fisher will have a huge following, too, but they absolutely revere Watson over there. He represents everything that's good about the game, and the Scots appreciate it. Should he win tomorrow, they just may may annoint him king.

Footnote:  He held on for 71 holes. And he hit two perfect shots on 18, only to be done in by poor luck and a balky putter.  It was a devestating loss, no doubt, but there's no question that Tom Watson owns a special place in golf -- and sports -- history with his amazing performance.

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