Golf Doesn't Get a Hollywood Ending in Turnberry

Let's face it, we Americans want and expect Hollywood endings... we want uplifting, idealistic stories where the protagonist gets what he wants. We'll even go so far as to remake acclaimed European films, keeping most of the plot details but changing an ambiguous finish to one that's more cut & dry, succinct ... and happy.

We didn't get the Hollywood ending at Turnberry this year. We got four days of compelling golf... and Tom Watson; an odds defying protagonist who, ultimately, couldn't quite bring it home. And we got Stewart Cink; a likable but unlikely champion, clearly miscast in the roll of villain.

If the 2009 Open Championship had been a French movie, we'd surely have made some changes for an American audience. We'd have cast someone swarthy and smug ...probably Rory Sabatini in the Stewart Cink role. Then of course, we'd have that interloping challenger defeated at the last minute, in a playoff that came down to the wire. Our protagonist would kiss the Claret Jug and make an inspiring speech with rousing music in the background. Instead, after three magical rounds, our lovable protagonist lost to a affable underdog in a dodgy lime golf shirt, depriving us of our Hollywood ending by overshooting the green and subsequently losing a four hole playoff... in a series of lackluster shots.

My own tournament this weekend was substantially more satisfying. I played in the O'Shea Open which takes place each year at Kelley Greens a scrappy 9 hole course in the gorgeous coastal town of Nahant, MA. Our team - unlikely champions for a number of reasons - won in a playoff. Much to the surprise of everyone, including ourselves.

And there's your Hollywood ending.