In almost every war movie ever made, there's a moment when one of the soldiers shows his mates a photo of his girlfriend and talks about how they're gonna get married and start a family when he gets back home. He's smiling when he says it, all full of hope and promise, and you know right at that moment: yep, that dude's dead.
I got that same sort of feeling when watching Lee Westwood card a 67 in increasingly bad-weather conditions Thursday at the Open Championship. While Rory McIlroy posted a 63 in conditions about as rough as those inside a domed arena, Westwood fought swirling winds and increasing rain, and were it not for a couple late putt-yips, he'd have been even closer.
Thing is, we've been down this road with Westwood before, so many, many times. People give Phil Mickelson grief for his inability to close, but Phil's Mariano Rivera compared to the frustration Westwood has endured in major after major.
Don't believe Westwood is snakebit? Take a look at his last four top-5 finishes in majors:
• 2008 U.S. Open: 3rd
• 2009 British Open: T3rd
• 2009 PGA Championship: T3rd
• 2010 Masters: 2nd
Those are the four most famous majors in recent memory: Tiger Woods' playoff win over Rocco Mediate, Stewart Cink's playoff win over Tom Watson, Y.E. Yang's last-second win over Tiger, and Mickelson's Masters triumph. In other words, Westwood was right there for four of golf's biggest moments over the last two years — and couldn't close the deal in any of them. Ouch.
Realistically, Westwood, still hampered by a calf injury, probably won't be as deep in the mix this weekend, especially given the weather that's likely to roll in. Still, to get that close again and again and again, only to fall short ... that's got to wear on a fella, you know?