Watson, Goggin paired on Sunday
The highlight of Mathew Goggin’s 2003 Open Championship was playing alongside Tom Watson. On Sunday he’ll do it again.
The highlight of Mathew Goggin’s 2003 Open Championship was playing alongside Tom Watson. On Sunday he’ll do it again – this time in the last group in the final round at Turnberry.
Goggin carded a third round of 69 today to finish three under par, one shot behind Watson after the 59-year-old fired a 71 to stay in the lead by a shot and maintain his remarkable bid to become the oldest winner of a major championship by some 11 years with a sixth Open title.
“That was probably the highlight of the Open for me, playing with Tom Watson in the third round in 2003, because he’s such a great player and such a great champion, especially at the Open,” said Goggin, a Tasmania-born 35-year-old.
“It was also shocking just how good he was. I mean, it was ridiculous. I played with him and I’m thinking ‘You know, he’s getting on in years and not playing so much and he’s just smashing it around this golf course’. I was really impressed.
“He was really good to me and I had a really great experience. It was definitely a highlight of the Open for me.”
Aside from three birdies, the highlight of Goggin’s round today was an impromptu display of his athletic prowess on the 16th.
After playing his approach to the elevated green, Goggin realised the wind could blow his ball back into the burn guarding the front of the green and therefore ran all the way up the fairway to mark his ball, earning rapturous applause for his trouble.
Asked how long it had been since he ran that far, the world number 58 admitted: “It’s been a long time. I was knackered after I did it, too.
“It probably wasn’t a very good idea. I hit an 8-iron from about 175 yards and it seemed like plenty of club, it was riding the wind. I was really kind of staring it down thinking I hit a great shot.
“But when it landed where it did I was a bit shocked, and it just looked like it wasn’t going to stay there, so I just had to make sure.”
Goggin is yet to win a tournament on the US Tour, letting slip a three-shot lead going into the final round of the Memorial in 2008, although that was not his worst experience of Muirfield Village.
Playing on the Nationwide Tour in 1999, Goggin stayed with Jack Nicklaus’ son Gary at the family estate, intending to play Muirfield Village the next day.
“I missed the cut, Gary missed the cut,” Goggin explained. “We stayed at the Nicklaus estate there on the left of the ninth hole. And it was my birthday, I think, or might have been Gary’s birthday.
“Anyway, as Australians do, we can drink too much sometimes. The next day we were all excited about playing Muirfield, and we got to about eight or nine holes and we just quit because we were too hung over.”
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