The Open Championship has been a high point of the British sporting calendar for 150 years, but few have been so memorable as in 2009. After four heady days on the fabled Turnberry links (one day it went see, the next it went saw) Tom Watson, an all-time great but nearly 60 and with an artificial hip, faced an eight-foot putt to become not just the oldest but also the most successful (along with Harry Vardon) player in Open history. The golfing world held its breath. History hung on the roll of a small white ball.
As drama it verged upon the magical. Surely he couldn't prevail; surely he couldn't falter. But this was only one of hundreds of such moments. Robert Winder followed them all, from the start of the qualifying process to the dramatic last gasp. Here he traces the thrills and spills of a resonant sporting drama, listens to the players and administrators, and describes the many ways in which the Open truly is open: the world, to the elements, and to the neverending outrages of fortune.
Robert Winder was literary editor of the INDEPENDENT for 5 years. He has written two novels.