There’s a scene in Tommy’s Honor where Old Tom Morris is asked “What have you brought this laddie here for?” The question from Willie Park, the reigning Open champion, is in reference to Young Tom Morris. Young Tom showed Park why he was brought to the 1867 Open at Carnoustie by beating him in a playoff. Old Tom’s play was beginning to fade at this stage of his life, as short putts got the best of his game.
I couldn’t help but remember this scene as I watched 20 year old Tom Lewis play in the first round of today’s Open, paired with 61 year old Tom Watson. Lewis may not be Watson’s son, but his parents named him Tom in Watson’s honor. Watson seemed thrilled with his namesake’s performance, a 65 that tied Thomas Bjorn for the lead.
It’s a long way from the first round to the claret jug, and a bet on Tom Lewis is an overwhelming long shot. But for a moment on the 18th green today, we may have caught a glimpse of 1867 and the smile of Old Tom at Young Tom’s performance.