Waking Up The Echoes: An Underdog in Scotland

July 19, 2009 | blog | By Mike Sullivan

There’s no more exhilarating story to follow than that of the underdog on the verge.

In the early 80s, Apple computer was an intriguing little computer company with a lot of potential, but when Apple’s“1984” commercial” directed by Ridley Scott captivated the world on the ’84 Super Bowl, everyone knew Goliath was in for a fight.

In 1966, Texas Western, now the University of Texas-El Paso, made their way to the NCAA basketball National Championship game against Adolph Rupp’s University of Kentucky team. For the first time in history, Texas Western started five African-American players and against a powerhouse like Kentucky, the experts gave them no chance to win. But they did, 72-65.

In 1980, nobody gave the US Olympic hockey team a realistic chance to beat the Russians, or for that matter the Fins in the Gold Medal game, but we all remember“The Miracle on Ice.” Nobody gave Buster Douglas a chance to knock out the invincible Mike Tyson in 1990, but he shocked the world anyway. In 1986, at age 46, the thought that Jack Nicklaus could shoot 30 on the back at Augusta National to win his sixth Masters title was the stuff of fiction. But we all know how that turned out.

And now, this weekend, 44 days shy of his 60th birthday at 1,000-1 odds, Tom Watsonstood over a 9-foot putt at Turnberry to win the 138th British Open Championship. Not the Senior Open – THE Open.

It was mesmerizing. It was spectacular. And in the end, like many, many other underdogs, Tom Watson came up a little short.

History will show that Watson missed a par putt on 18 by a foot and went on to finish second behind American Stewart Cink who played beautifully in the four-hole playoff and birdied 18 to win his first major.

There are plenty of lessons to go around after a performance like Watson’s. The relativity of age. The strength of heart. How quickly an underdog can capture the imagination of the world. Still, of all of the lessons, the greatest is that when you’re the underdog, everything is possible. Sure, there’s no guarantee for success. No assurance that good fortune will smile on you on a given day. But for those willing to put in the time, the work and the fidelity to a worthy purpose, the day will come when the underdog becomes the top dog.

Wanna bet Tom Watson plays the PGA Championship next month?


Mike Sullivan

President at LOOMIS, the country’s leading challenger brand advertising agency


We challenge underdog brands to think differently. We help them find their voice, and urge them to blaze new trails to make sure they stand out from the pack. Whether you need an agency of record or support on a project, we are here to help you win.