Monday, January 26, 2009

We've all been there with Stricker

We’ve all been where Steve Stricker was Sunday afternoon.

Maybe not that exact spot – the 10th tee at the Palmer Course at PGA West trying to win the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic on a wind-blown Sunday – but in that place where everything comes apart.

In case you weren’t watching, or turned your head when it happened, Stricker had lost a three-shot lead over Pat Perez when he triple-bogeyed the par-4 seventh hole.
Then it got worse.

With the wind ripping on the watery 10th, Stricker stepped away from his tee shot a couple of times. When he finally hit his tee ball, what was intended to be a draw into the breeze was instead a nervous cut that got caught in the jet stream and sailed out of bounds to the right.
That was the one, Stricker said later, that hurt the most.

Then, if you’ve ever played golf, you know what happens next. The wind is howling left to right, the left side of the 10th hole looks like Lake Michigan and, the dreaded smother hook arrives.
If there’s such a thing as a good eight, Stricker eventually made one at the 10th hole. By the time he finished the hole, he was four strokes behind Perez, the eventual champion.

“I just got out of sorts a little bit on those couple of shots,” the ever-gracious Stricker told reporters afterward.

In a tournament that had video-games scores through the first four rounds, Stricker’s collapse was a jarring reminder that golf’s little demons can strike anywhere, any time.
If you’ve played much golf, you already know that.