There goes "The Story" once again

By: Matt Barnes
By: Matt Barnes

First, it was Kenny Perry. Then, it was Phil Mickelson. This time, it was Tom Watson. Man, the game of golf is cruel to us.

As you may know, I am a huge golf fan. I watch every tournament and in fact, my college friend and I select two golfers every week in a yearly contest to see who ends up with the best score. But as well as a golf fan, I'm also a TV sports anchor and with that comes the hopes of showing viewers the best story. For the third major in a row, that didn't happen.

Let me explain. Let's start with the Masters. With Tiger and Phil well away from the lead in the final round, the prohibitive favorite to win became Kenny Perry. The folksy, down-to-earth Kentucky guy who everyone loves on tour. Every golfer we interviewed on Sunday was hoping Perry could pull out the victory. It would be his first major and would make him the oldest ever to win a major championship at 48 years old. But as you know, it was not to be. Instead, Angel Cabrera won in a playoff, dashing hopes of golf fans and journalists of seeing history be made. That and being able to tell the great story of how Perry, one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet, had reached the pinnacle of his career.

Now fast forward to the U.S. Open. The story coming in was no doubt Phil Mickelson. His wife Amy had just been diagnosed with breast cancer, setting off a swarm of support for the Mickelson family. And while Phil wasn't sure if he should play or not, Amy told him to, even saying she would like a U.S. Open trophy by her hospital bed. For 3 rounds, Phil was in the hunt, teasing all of us of whether or not this dream would come true. In the final round, he was within striking distance but as we've seen 4 times before, he finished in second place, this time to Lucas Glover. No knock on Glover but man, seeing Mickelson raise that trophy and winning for his wife would have been special.

That brings us to the British Open. Honestly, there wasn't a big story coming into the tournament. But after Round 1, one emerged quickly. 59-year old Tom Watson, shooting a 65, as he "turned back the clock" (anyone else tired of that saying?) and proved old guys could still play. Many, including myself, didn't think he would last very long at the top of the leaderboard. But he proved me and a lot of others wrong. With steady play and some brilliant putts, he had a one-shot lead on the tee of the 72nd hole. As I watched him walk to the 18th green, I started feeling chills, thinking about how lucky I was to be seeing this historic moment. Not only would Watson break the record of oldest person to win a major, he would obliterate it by nearly 11 years! After a birdie putt that went by the cup, I hadn't given up hope. Instead, I started thinking about how I would introduce this story on air on Sunday and how I would tell my kids about this remarkable weekend. And then he hit his par putt....

Of course, Stewart Cink went on to win in the playoff and yet again, "The Story" was gone. Just like Cabrera and Glover, I'm extremely happy for Cink. He's a great golfer who I always felt would win a Major. Plus, I follow him on Twitter and I'm loyal to the people I follow. But Watson was what we ALL wanted to see. Mickelson is what we ALL wanted to see. And yes, Perry was what we ALL wanted to see. But alas, it was not to be. So who will be "The Story" in the PGA Championship in August? Who knows, but with the way this year is going, don't expect "The Story" to have a happy ending.

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