ST ANDREWS, SCOTLAND // The Claret Jug is not the only new thing in a British Open winner's life, just ask Stewart Cink, the 2009 champion. "It stayed with us a lot. When we travelled a lot of times it was there," the affable American told reporters after his title defence ended after shooting a final-round 74 yesterday to finish on one over par. "We did all kinds of stuff with it, everything you can imagine. We took it around town, we had pictures with it. It was in a commercial. We poured barbecue sauce out of it," the world No 38 added, drawing laughs from the media huddled around him curious to find out how life changes after winning a major.
It is not just the kudos of winning the world's oldest major that comes with victory at the Open though. "You earn a little more respect from your peers when you win a big tournament, but's it not like guys who don't talk to you suddenly start speaking to you all the time," he said after posting a one-over-par four-round total of 289 following a frustrating final-round 74. How about his advice for a first-time major winner Louis Oosthuizen?
"Anybody who wins a big tournament for the first time I would say just enjoy it. Thoroughly enjoy it, everything you can about the whole year," the 37-year-old said. "Enjoy every minute you have as Open champion. Even though this tournament's been going on for 150 years, there's relatively few people in the world who can claim that title. "Some people may not appreciate how special it really is. It deserves to be treated with respect and it deserves to be had a lot of fun with."
Cink said holding the jug was of huge importance, he still prefers the feeling that comes with finishing top of the pile. Since his Open triumph at Turnberry last year over veteran compatriot Tom Watson in a play-off, the four-time Ryder Cup player has struggled for form, recording just three top 10 finishes in 2010. "The satisfaction and triumphant feeling you get from winning is what you really want. The jug is a representative of that feeling, but it's that satisfaction you want. That's what I'm after," he said.