With Tom Watson and Fred Couples battling it out on the final day, the season-opening Mitsubishi Electric Championship provided some fantastic drama. While the 50-year-old Couples was aiming to win his Champions Tour debut, Watson was trying to capture his first title at the ripe age of 60.
This time age outlasted youth in a duel which Watson dubbed, “young kid versus old fart.” It came down to the last hole, where Watson, who is still one of the best ballstrikers in the game, hit a beautiful pitching wedge to four feet. After Couples missed his 15-foot birdie attempt, Watson calmly tapped in his for the win. (Good thing it wasn’t a 6-8 footer — he’s known to struggle with those.)
But in standard Freddie style, he didn’t seem bothered by the runner-up finish. Instead, as he walked off the green, he asked, “Who won the football game?”
With other big names like Hale Irwin, Mark O’Meara and Jay Haas, along with Corey Pavin, who, like Freddie, turned 50 last year, 2010 might be a compelling year for the 50+ crowd. Watson’s performance at Turnberry last summer proved glory is attainable at any age. Now, add Freddie, who has always been a fan favorite, to the mix — things can only get more interesting.
I’m just really looking forward to the US Senior Open at Sahalee, where Freddie is returning to his hometown area and serving as the honorary chair of the tournament.