Stewart Cink said he didn't feel any extra pressure as the defending champion this week. (Getty Images)
Ex-defending champ Cink reflects back on his year as Claret Jug holder
Stewart Cink wasn't happy with the way he played, but enjoyed his week as defending champion and is still reveling in the satisfaction of his breakthrough triumph last year at Turnberry.
ST. ANDREWS, Scotland (PA) -- Deposed British Open champion Stewart Cink had no hard feelings about relinquishing his title at St Andrews on Sunday.
The 37-year-old from Georgia physically handed back the Claret Jug on Tuesday, but after finishing well down the field on Sunday he said the actual act of winning at Turnberry last year was far more important than the historic trophy itself.
"I had the Claret Jug for a year and it was time to give it back. I didn't have a hard time giving it back at all," he said. "I really believe the satisfaction you get from the triumph of winning is what you want.
"The jug is representative of that feeling, but it's the satisfaction you want and that is why I am happy,” he explained. "Although I didn't play quite as well as I did last year, it was a great week here and the galleries were very receptive and I appreciated that."
Cink admitted he hadn’t been playing well, but said when he started the tournament he didn’t feel any additional pressure as title holder.
"A lot is of made of being a defending champion from a competitive point, but it means nothing," he added. "There is no target on anyone's back, it is not like I had to protect anything, I started at the same level. It is all ceremonial being defending champion, but as far as the competitive part of it there is no difference.
"It was frustrating I didn't play a little better, but it's not been a good year on the course,” he summarized. "But I played four rounds and I enjoyed myself thoroughly, and it was great to walk up the last fairway -- the best place to walk up in golf."