Stewart Cink’s preparations on Irish Links courses in the week leading up to the British open Championship at Turnberry stood him well as he won his first major championship.

Ironically, it is the same type of preparation that is much preferred by the man he beat in the four-hole playoff, Tom Watson.

Cink hit the west of Ireland to ready himself for his Claret Jug challenge and played Lahinch Old, Ballybunion and Doonbeg to steel himself for the test of Turnberry.

"I have felt very confident all week. I played some links golf in Ireland last week and that was very good relaxation and preparation. I also found something in my swing," Cink told the Guardian after his famous win.

This is the 36-year-old’s first major win and as much as the golfing world will be happy for the Huntsville, Alabama native, it will also be heartbroken for the 59-year-old Watson, who was one par away from becoming the oldest man to win a major and causing one of the greatest sporting stories of living memory.

However, a missed par putt on the 72nd hole opened the door for Cink, who birdied the last to go two under par, and the 6ft 4in golfer capitalized by winning the playoff comfortably.

"It is a great disappointment," Watson told press afterwards. "It tears at my guts, just as any defeat tears at my guts. I put myself in a position to win and couldn't do that at the last hole. Then I played one bad shot after another in the play-off, I didn't do what I had to do to win.

"This is right up there with 1994, when I played really well here at Turnberry and came away with nothing as Nick Price won. It is disappointing. I will take a lot of nice things from this week but it is still disappointing to do the things I did and still lose the golf tournament."