I needed Tom Watson to win the British Open. Not because I had money on the tournament or any vested interest in Watson. I needed Tom Watson to win the British Open because I’m watching other parts of my childhood fade away.
Notice all of the irony here: when Tom Watson won his first Masters, Farrah Fawcett was Jill Monroe every week on Charlies Angels. Walter Cronkite was telling us “the way it is”, Ed McMahon was sitting at Johnny’s desk, and Michael Jackson was still part of The Jackson’s and just a few months away from recording “Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground)”.
Now Farrah is gone. Walter is gone. Ed McMahon is gone. Michael Jackson is gone. And he was 50. 50!
And if Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson are old enough to die, so are the baby boomers who grew up watching them. We’re not ready to think about stuff like that, but we have to now.
This is already going to be remembered as the summer the 1970s died. Back when I was in the 6th grade with a tv in my bedroom, a nerf hoop on the back of my closet door and a Juliette model stereo tuned to Q-104. My room was painted blue with burnt orange shag carpet and I had posters of Dr. J and Pat Sullivan on the wall. I talked to my girlfriend, Kathy Driggs on the phone nearly every night. With a long telephone extension chord my dad got so I could take the phone to my room for privacy.
But I don’t want those days to be 30 years ago, at least I don’t want to feel like they’re 30 years ago. I want to remember them like I’ve always done, like they were yesterday.
So when Tom Watson walked down the fairway of the 18th at Turnberry, leading The British Open, I got a lump in my throat. Suddenly, it felt like 1977 again, and I needed him to make that darned 10 foot putt.
If people could will something to happen, I think every over 40 man in America would have caused that Titleist to drop in that cup like there was a string attached to it.
We needed something good to happen for one of our memories of the 1970s.
But it didn’t fall. And it’s 2009. And our childhood is literally beginning to pass before our eyes.