Tom Watson as you may have heard was one putt away on the 18th hole today from becoming the oldest player ever to win an Open at 59 years of age. That putt on the 18th went wide of the hole creating a playoff that Tom Watson never made a challenge on and his opponent Stewart Cink won his first major.
What was truly amazing was Tom Watson was able to play at such a high level over 4 rounds at that age and nearly come out a winner. This would have been a miraculous accomplishment. Even Jack Nicklaus when he won the Masters back in 1986 , a tournament I remember like yesterday , admitted that on some of those putts on the back 9 of the final day when he was making that charge he could barely see the hole he was putting for just because his eyesight was not as sharp as when he played years back in his youthful 20’s and 30’s. He was playing on instinct and what he knew already about the course. He was a mere 46 years of age then.
You know around our household I have mentioned on one occasion that both my wife and I are waiters. She is a bit younger than I , still in her early forties , while I am 50 and today we are talking. I say to her you know on Friday I did 31 covers or thereabouts and Saturday I did 37 covers and I have no energy during the day to do much. I was hanging on tonight just to do my shift and get out of there earlier than the previous two nights and get my day off tomorrow.
She , who has to get up at 5AM , says to me you know I feel the same way. I know there are things I have to do around the house but I just have no energy. I totally understand and here is why…
When you do something as mentally and physically tiring as wait on tables when you get older it wipes you out. Don’t get me wrong we have two energetic young boys too that keep us on our toes , but really that is not such a big deal as having to run your ass off for 6 hours without a break. And I am not saying we are set to be put out to pasture either but as you get a bit older the recovery time after a big shift is a bit longer than a couple of decades ago.
Now I get back to that putt by Tom Watson that he missed on the 18th. You could tell that if it was 1977 again he would have got that putt no problem. If Michael Jackson had the energy he had in his early 20’s when he did the Thriller Album he would still be with us. He tried to do something he couldn’t do again unless he was taking something prescription wise to give him a chance at reliving his past glory. His body was not ready to do what he did almost 30 years ago. Elvis was the same. Wayne Gretzky said one time the reason he was retiring was he noticed the first thing to go was his hands. Meaning his hand reflex and handling of the puck I guess was not the same as it once was , prohibiting the things he used to do so effortlessly before which were now becoming a struggle.
I noticed after Saturday night when my shift was over that my back was aching a bit and I was tired. You know I am still a killer waiter but I need time to sit back and recuperate afterwards. I know my body cannot handle it. My back I have to be careful of. When I bend down to pick something up at work I am practically kneeling to pick it up to protect my back. Sometimes I get so hungry at work that around 10ish I have to get some bread to munch on.
So here is my point that I am trying to make. If you happen to be waiting on tables into your 50’s and 60’s you may not hole the putt at the 18th either but you can still be one of the best on any given day.
What would also make it special is not that you would be doing a good job without much effort but that others will look at you and say holy cow that guy started waitering before I was even born and I have to run to keep up with that guy or girl. Sort of like Stewart Cink and others felt like today trying to keep up with Tom Watson.
It would be nice as long as I remain capable and healthy of doing the job that when I am 59 , others will look at me and say wow that guy can still carry his section.
I hope I am able to do that……………….