Tom Watson: His Duel With Time

A name for all who aspire to achieve a dream, young and old, is Watson — Watson T.

The legendary golfer’s name read this way, on one caddy’s back, as Watson T, while attempting to make history by winning the 138th Open Championship at Turnberry. Some may have read it, like I did, as Watson’s Time. This came with the dawning realisation that a 59-year-old was leading a major sporting event, to the very end, and could possibly win the thing. That may have led many watching to consider the nature of time — it’s spiral nature.

One complete revolution after another the world watched, enthralled, as Tom Watson swung his signature swing, compact though go-for, which hasn’t changed a jot in three decades, so help me.

Somewhere on the back nine, on the fourth day, many of us may have ventured off, to think in a somewhat altered way. This was helped by the highly descriptive, poetic language used by the great Peter Alliss, along with other commentators in describing one of golf’s great occasions. (One presenter referred to the crests of the coastal waves as “white horses”, for example.) So by the time of the award ceremony, when eventual winner, Stewart Cink, looked to Watson and said, “You turned back the clock,” at least my mind anyway, was on an element known as Time.

Go into any natural history museum and there will be a linear time graph. It’s often shown length-wise, above or below a display, depicting one period of time after another. But what if time isn’t actually kept that way. Einstein proved it isn’t fixed. So what if time is recorded as a spiral, or is circular. It ’s not at all practical, say, to keep a garden hose stretched out. Put away properly, a hose is wound up or coiled, is time?

Hindu religionists say the voice lives on. Sound, until recently, has been recorded cylindrically: on the CD of late, on the gramophone back when. Also, in 1977, sound was recorded on the LP (the ‘Long-playing’ record).

So my question is this: Did Watson leave linear time, for a time? Did he cross some mystical threshold to arrive back somewhere, like 1977? He was already at the spot of one of golf’s most famous contests: His battle with Jack Nicklaus in their ‘Duel in the Sun’. So did Watson bump back a track or two, on like Time’s old LP, to nestle nicely into one deep groove he and Jack laid down out there, at Turnberry, all those many years ago? Or did he achieve in sleep some type of indifferentiated energy state that is boundless, to return and play that way, in the year most might agree is/was ‘09?

Whatever it was, whatever happened to have him say he was feeling “Serene” on the course, his play, or possible reach across time at Turnberry had his radar reflecting back on us, fast-affecting our pulses, which does record accurately our physical lives —  and to the minute.

The answer concerning the true nature of time might not be for us. The Grand Chronocator in the sky may be content to leave all as is, and let hard experience be our sole known guide.

In any event, Tom Watson’s historic soaring run at the Open Championship was truly awe-inspiring, a thing of exceptional beauty (yes, pain included), and positively one for the ages.