The Hacker: Turnberry Tom showed us the old guard can still be hip

Old hackers everywhere are still creaking with pride in the reflected glory of Tom Watson's triumph at Turnberry last weekend. I know he didn't win but let's not bother with trifling details.

The 2009 Open will be remembered as his and his alone. No offence to Stewart Cink but if Tom, at the age of 59, hadn't stepped into the role as sensation machine once Tiger Woods had missed the cut, it would have been a pretty hum-drum affair.

It ranks as one of the mightiest sporting efforts and, inevitably, has drawn golf's critics out of the undergrowth. This proves it's an old man's game, they gloat.

An old man's game? They don't know the half of it. If Watson was a member of our club he'd almost be in the junior section. Certainly he would be comfortably under the average age and wouldn't yet qualify for the veterans. We have nine members over 90, at least one of whom plays twice a week.

The membership profile at most clubs is top heavy in the wrinkly department and they would probably struggle financially otherwise, in their bar takings in particular.

Many clubs have had to reduce or cancel the generous discount they used to give the over-65s because there are far more of them than the 30 and 40-year-olds with young families and mortgages who struggle to pay the annual subscriptions.

Tom also provided another reason why aging golfers are flourishing. Countless artificial hips would have been twitching in time to the one Tom had fitted an astounding nine months ago.

If it wasn't for the skill of the hip and knee replacement surgeons our courses wouldn't be anything like as busy, and Tom is a joint or two behind many old golfers.

At our club, Eirian has paid five visits to the operating table and has received three hips (one a replacement of a replacement) and two knees and still plays a mean game off 20. His wallet contains the address of a scrap dealer next to his organ donor card.

The assistance of medical science is part of the reason that old golfers are staying active longer. And even when the legs go, the golf buggy will carry you on for years.

Tom, of course, has the advantage of having someone else carry his clubs for him but what really separates him from his contemporaries is that he is a golfing wonder. If the vast majority of ancient hackers were confronted with the Ailsa course from The Open tees they would have to give up the game forthwith.

It would be impossible to tackle those carries or weave a way through that fearsome rough without losing a wheelbarrow full of balls.

Can he do it again? He'll continue to do well on the Seniors tour but Turnberry, alas, is the one major course that he finds ideal and even he will have packed up before The Open returns there.

But the gallant Mr Watson has already done us a power of good and what unites all us old fogeys is the indomitable spirit that drives us onward and the sad realisation that, whatever it is we're pursuing, some younger sod is likely to nip in and nick it at the end.

peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Fans hold up a scarf at West Ham vs Liverpool
footballAfter Arsenal's clear victory, focus turns to West Ham vs Liverpool
New Articles
i100... she's just started school
New Articles
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
New Articles
i100... despite rising prices
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam