April 16, 2011

As I head out to Superstition Springs today to hit some balls at the range today you can sure I’ll be trying to avoid having swing thoughts similar to those that unglued Kevin Na on the ninth hole at Thursday’s opening round of the Valero Texas Open rolling around in my head:

Want to feel a little better about your golf game? Please, read on. Playing in the Valero Texas Open, Na was cruising along at 1-under for his round when he approached the ninth tee box. It was at this point that things took a horrible turn for the worse.

After blowing his tee shot into the woods and finding his ball hidden in a patch of brush, thorns and limbs, Na and his caddie, Kenny Harms, decided it wasn’t worth blasting it out. So they went back to the tee, where Na proceeded to knock his second shot well right again, back into the woods.

Reload time. After hitting a provisional, Na and his caddie found his second ball. But feeling the pressure, he decided to hit from the woods. Bad idea. Na’s next shot hit a tree, ricocheted off his leg and went behind him. That’s a penalty stroke.

But from where his ball was resting, he couldn’t hit his next shot, so he took an unplayable. And that’s where Na came unglued, proceeding to hit the ball deeper into the woods with every shot, at one point almost hitting while his caddie was in front of him. I wish I was kidding.

Finally, after 12 shots, Na got out of the woods. It took him another four shots before he carded his 16 and went from 1-under to a 11-over on the scorecard. At least Na can rest easy knowing he didn’t come close to the worst one hole score in golf history, which the PGA Tour noted is a 26 from Tommy Armour in 1927.

Watching the video, while I feel for the guy I have to say I’ve been there before – and many times. Difference is, you don’t expect professionals to become so unhinged that they resort to stupid shot attempts – especially when they have a caddy with them offering their own advice to help them think rationally. I especially liked the whiff (I think it was Na’s 10th attempt) – that was pretty special.

Like many a Goodboy past I’ve been there, done that. Too bad Na couldn’t take advantage of Goodboys rules (no, not the one where you’re encouraged to bring alcohol with you onto the course, but that might have helped!). If Na was playing at a Goodboys Invitational, the highest score he could take would be double par – an 8. Also, with our Goodboys equivalent to the Marquis de Queensbury rules in effect, if you hit your ball into the woods you can just retrieve your ball, assess yourself a one-stroke penalty, and take a drop where you went in as long as your lie isn’t improved.

That’s where our dear, departed Goodboy friend “Doc” Frechette used to excel – he’d hit the ball deep into the woods and give himself a drop of, say, thirty yards or so ahead of where his ball went in. Or he’d take his drop and ever-so-casually give the ball a kick with his foot or nudge with his club a few yards forward to make sure he had a perfect lie. Great memories.

UPDATE:Na followed up his (+8) 80 round on Thursday with an uninspiring (+5) 77 round on Friday, restating that old golf adage that you can’t win a tournament on Thursday, but you can sure lose it. To one who is known as one of the slowest players on the Tour I can only say, better luck next time, Kevin, and pick it up a little, will ya?

Filed in: Goodboys by The Great White Shank at 00:41 | Comments (0)
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