Not often are you the villain in any individual sport for winning. Sure, everyone hates the Yankees or Lakers due in large part to their success but it’s rare that you find a golfer. Stewart Cink has gone from obscure, to British Open champion, to villain, all within the span of one playoff hole on Sunday.
Cink is coming off his biggest win of his PGA career. That didn’t stop the British tabloids from running headlines such as “Stewart Ctink”. Still for Cink, his first major’s victory will is sweet, regardless of the storylines of 59 year old Tom Watson coming from out of nowhere to lead the British all weekend, only to miss an 8 foot put on 18 to put him in a one hole playoff with Cink.
Many say that Cink is one of the nicest guys on the tour, and no doubt he shouldn’t be frowned upon for giving it his all on Sunday with a two continents rooting against him and for the fossil that is Tom Watson. Stewart Cink joined 680 The Fan in Atlanta on Monday to relish in his victory and to shed some light on how he felt being the most hated man in sports for a brief period of time.
On how difficult it was playing against such a legendary story:
“It would have been tougher playing with him (Waston) in regulation just because the crowd was totally behind him. It was a little different than being paired with Tiger (Woods) where the crowd frenzy is behind him but this was more like a warmth from the heart that was behind Tom Watson and everyone wanted the story written a certain way. Unfortunately for a little of people I stepped in there and wrote it a different way.”
On what it felt like to hold the trophy in his hand when it was all said and done:
“It was the most satisfying thing I can ever remember doing in the game of golf, there’s no question of it. Last year at the Ryder Cup was very satisfying, holding the Ryder Cup after finally having won after three losing efforts. But this time, it was something that I polished off myself. It was really special. In a playoff, to perform the way I did in the playoff, I really didn’t hit any bad shots in the playoff, it was really just, I couldn’t have written it any better.”
Stewart was asked about his strategy entering the playoff:
“He (Stewart’s Caddy) said ‘how do you want to play this?’ because he knew we had four shots, and I’ve watched a lot of football and the prevent defense as far as I can see only prevents winning. I didn’t want to go into the prevent defense there on that hole and end up doing something crazy. I told him that I wanted to play it like we were tied. Try to be aggressive and keep the accelerator down. I just think that’s the best way to get the job done. Keep pushing all the way to the finish.”
On how he was handling the emotions of watching Watson’s game unfold ahead of him on Sunday:
“I knew that everyone was going to have their struggles out there. I made some bogeys, I made some birdies, but I knew that everyone was going to be making a few bogeys and a few birdies so I didn’t really get too involved with the roller coaster (of emotion). That’s one thing that I really don’t know how to explain but I just had a sense of calmness and evenness about me all week, especially Sunday.”