In 2009, Alabama native Stewart Cink won one of the most exciting British Opens ever in a duel with five-time champion Tom Watson.
Born in Huntsville and raised in Florence, Cink practiced his craft in the Alabama heat before moving east across state lines to compete for Georgia Tech.
While Cink was just joining the PGA Tour in 1997, Watson was supposedly winding down after being on the Tour for 26 years. But as events unfolded 12 years later, it was obvious the 59-year-old Watson still had something in the tank.
As the legendary 2009 showdown on Scotland’s Ailsa Course of the Turnberry Resort heated up over the first 71 entertaining holes, Watson was trying to become the oldest player to win the British Open by 13 years.
Cink birdied as Watson bogeyed on the 72nd, sending the competitors into a four-hole playoff. There, Cink gulped down any nervousness that may have been affecting him and delivered. He defeated Watson by six strokes in the playoff to win his first major title and keep Watson from making even more golfing history across the pond.
Cink entered the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in the Class of 2018. H&A
Cover photo courtesy Times Daily (Florence)