How this season's Premier League title race has echoes of a certain Open championship

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Leicester City, Tottenham and Arsenal's dreams of landing this season's Premier League title have certain similarities of Tom Watson, Stewart Cink and Lee Westwood pursuing the Claret Jug.

A story that has its element of romance with the chance of a fairytale, along with one contender showing they can be in the mix for big prizes and one that ought to be in the mix for the big prizes.

Sounds a lot like this season’s Premier League title race doesn’t it? But those words could also be similar to the 2009 Open Championship at Turnberry.

It’s not often that two sports go hand in hand, in fact football and golf rarely do, but probably in the strange way my mind works I can’t help but be drawn to the parallels of two very different events.

The contenders in 2009: Tom Watson, Stewart Cink and Lee Westwood.

In 2016: Leicester City, Tottenham and Arsenal.

Yes, there are some differences but like with Tom Watson, it seems that the majority are behind Leicester City to win the big prize.

It will be something that will be remembered for a lifetime, a stand-out moment in sporting history.

Tottenham, they are Stewart Cink. A gradual progression that could culminate in a crowning moment, a huge statement to show how much they’ve improved and one to show they aren’t just handy, but in fact very good.

Arsenal, they are Lee Westwood. Everyone says they are good enough to win the big prize, they get themselves in position to on enough occasions, but for some reason just can’t seem to finish the job.

This Premier League season has seen Leicester start the season well, it was noted, then they prolonged their good start to be in and around the Champions League places now they are firmly in the title race, and people are wondering if such a long shot can prove to be such a historic champion.

Tottenham have gone under the radar a little, playing good football with much to be admired. There have been a few stand-out results here and there, including one or two slip-ups, but overall impressive and have come into the race a little under the radar.

For Arsenal it’s a case of surely this is their time? The best opportunity they can have to win the title, at the start of the season it would set up perfectly for them, they would be right in contention – at times in the driving seat - until the midway point of the season, and a couple of poor moments contribute to a couple of poor results and it just gets away from them.

Tom Watson finished the first round at Turnberry a shot off the lead. It wasn’t out of the ordinary for a more senior player, especially one of his calibre having lifted the Claret Jug on five previous occasions, to be close to the leaders at the end of round one. Stewart Cink also showed promise at the start, while Lee Westwood put in a solid performance to keep himself in contention.

The second round would see Watson hold his own to be tied for the lead – again not a surprise to see someone perhaps a little unexpected to be up there at the halfway stage – Cink would fall back just a little but would still remain in contention while Westwood also held his own to keep in touching distance.

The third round, and Watson does enough to hold a lead going into the final round, now the chatter really is about whether the Open Championship could see one of its most unexpected and historic victors – with Watson in line to become the oldest Open Champion. Westwood is still there in touching distance, and Cink is among those that very few have talked about, three shots back, meaning one last push could make it over the line.

Cink would strike with a strong finish to put himself in with a real chance, Westwood would have a long putt to effectively win on the final green, two for a play-off, but would fluff his lines and three-putt, while Tom Watson would be on the 18th tee knowing that par would make history.

The first shot of his would be great, the second shot – going into the green – would look pleasing on the eye only to make an unfortunate bounce to leave a difficult third shot just off the back. That bounce would prove costly as he would bogey the hole and Watson played off with Cink. But Cink would have too much in terms of energy, and momentum.

While Cink deserved his accolade – the wonderful achievement of lifting the Claret Jug and becoming a major champion for the first time – his achievement perhaps doesn’t get the recognition it deserves, given how close Tom Watson came to writing his own fairytale.

It feels as if it would be that way if Tottenham were to pip Leicester to the Premier League title given how close they are to such an historic triumph.

Leicester have had the good start, had all the talk of whether they could stay there, and now the talk is whether they really can win it, but be wary of the cruel bounce that Watson had.

Spurs have some degree come in under the radar. The way they play is pleasing with many likeable characters, and they would need a strong finish in order to overturn Leicester’s lead.

Arsenal – it feels like they have fluffed their lines already, a familiar tale. They could come back into things again, but there will always be that feeling they could slip up just once more.

Does this say that Tottenham will win the league? No. It’s just one of those nagging sporting comparisons from a different game that I can’t seem to get out of my head. But one would hate Leicester City being prevented from a historic title success for the bounce of the ball having an unfortunate consequence.

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