Cook Not Stewing Over Loss

By Art Stricklin
July 28, 2008
John Cook reacts after missing his birdie putt on the 16th hole during first round of the 2008 U.S. Senior Open Championship at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colo. on Thursday July 30, 2008. (Copyright USGA/John Mummert)

words of a friend to overcome last week’s disappointment in losing in a playoff at the Senior British Open. That’s because he fired an opening round 4-under-par 66 at The Broadmoor East Course.

After letting a back-nine lead slip away at Royal Troon this past Sunday, Cook said the words of his good friend Tiger Woods helped him grabbed the early lead under sunny, hot conditions.

"The deal was, I was supposed to call him if I win the tournament, text if I lose," said Cook. "So Monday morning, I got the text from Tiger."

The two former neighbors exchanged between 10-15 messages Monday when Cook landed in Colorado to prepare for the Senior Open.

"It was a pep talk, mainly. Some private stuff between us, but mostly telling me to keep my head up," added Cook.

He certainly did that, with a birdie putt of only 6 inches on the first hole, which led to 33s on both sides of The Broadmoor layout.

"It’s a different week, different tournament, another major championship," said Cook.

Other than the text messages from Woods on Monday, Cook said he was also greatly helped by a Tuesday practice round with Greg Norman, who knows plenty about overcoming on-course golf disappointments.

"You inspired me on Tuesday," Cook told Norman as they passed in the media interview area after the round.

"We had a good walk. I got up and struck the ball nicely and I said, ‘OK, new week, let’s just get at it again,’" said Cook.

Along with his opening-hole birdie, on the par 4 10th, he found five more of them.

"The way the altitude works in the morning, the ball travels not like sea level, but not what you’re figuring," he said. "As the sun comes out, the ball really goes a long way and you have to adjust during the day. That’s what makes this course interesting."

After turning 50 in late 2007, Cook won his second Champions Tour event at the AT&T Championship in San Antonio.

This year, he has 10 top-10 finishes on the 50-and-older circuit, yet he is still looking for his first 2008 win. He had it in his grasp last week, heading into the back nine with a three-shot margin. But he bogeyed the last hole to fall into a playoff with Bruce Vaughan.

"It still hurts, but the fans have been very understanding out here," said Cook. "They play golf, they know it’s tough. It’s not like I was trying to lose.

"There is nowhere to hide, especially in Scotland where there are no trees, only gorse. It was a tough, tough course."

Cook still has 54 holes left at the tough Donald Ross designed Broadmoor layout, but said Woods’ texts and his toughness should be enough to pull him through.

"Tiger is a great friend. He knows what I want to do out here," he said.

After a one-week delay, Cook is still hopeful the victory phone call can be made from Colorado Springs come this Sunday.

Art Stricklin is a freelance writer whose work previously appeared on

Follow the USGA
Become a Facebook Fan of the USGAFollow us on Twitter @usopengolf
World Amateur Golf Ranking
WAGR Counting Event
Partner Links
AmEx image
AmEx image
AmEx image
AmEx image

The USGA and Chevron have committed to using the game of golf to encourage students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines. This commitment has led to the creation of extensive golf-focused STEM teaching tools, and has resulted in charitable contributions to support golf-related programs through Eagles for Education™

At U.S. Open Championships the Chevron STEM ZONE™ is an interactive experience highlighting the science and math behind the game of golf through a variety of hands-on exhibits and experiments.

The partnership has also produced educational materials such as the Science of Golf video series and a nationally-distributed newspaper insert which are provided to teachers as tools to enhance existing curriculum in schools. These lessons teach the science behind the USGA’s equipment testing, handicapping, and agronomy efforts.

For more interactive experiences featuring golf-focused STEM lessons, visit the partnership homepage.

Chevron image

Rolex has been a longtime supporter of the USGA and salutes the sportsmanship and great traditions unique to the game. This support includes the Rules of Golf where Rolex has partnered with the USGA to ensure golfers understand and appreciate the game.

As the official timekeeper of the USGA and its championships, they also provide clocks throughout host sites for spectator convenience.

For more information on Rolex and their celebration of the game, visit the Rolex and Golf homepage.

Rolex image

IBM has partnered with the USGA to bring the same technology, expertise, and innovation it provides to businesses all over the world to the USGA and golf's national championship.

IBM provides the information technology to develop and host the U.S. Open’s official website,, as well as the mobile apps and scoring systems for the three U.S. Open championships. These real-time technology solutions provide an enhanced experience for fans following the championship onsite and online.

For more information on IBM and the technology that powers the U.S. Open and businesses worldwide, visit

AmEx image

Lexus is committed to partnering with the USGA to deliver a best-in-class experience for the world’s best golfers by providing a fleet of courtesy luxury vehicles for all USGA Championships.

At each U.S. Open, Women’s Open and Senior Open, Lexus provides spectators with access to unique experiences ranging from the opportunity to have a picture taken with both the U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open trophies to autograph signings with legendary Lexus Golf Ambassadors in the Lexus Performance Drive Pavilion.

For more information on Lexus, visit

AmEx image
American Express

Together, American Express and the USGA have been providing world-class service to golf fans since 2006. By creating interactive U.S. Open experiences both onsite and online, American Express enhances the USGA’s effort to make the game more accessible and enjoyable for fans.

For more information on American Express visit

AmEx image