June 1, 2009

Three Feet Can Seem Like Three Miles...When You Think About It

We've all had those little three or four footers on the green that look so easy that they hardly merit any attention at all. How many times have you walked right up to one of those yard-long putts for a double bogey and slapped it right in the hole with one hand? If you're honest with yourself, probably more times than you care to remember.

That's an easy putt. Nothing to it...so close you can give it the ole Happy Gilmore slapshot if you even bother to putt it at all.

And we've all missed that same length putt, so don't feel one bit superior to Tim Clark, who missed a similar length putt to capture his first PGA Tour win on Sunday evening. Someone said to me yesterday as we watched the tournament that he would make that putt every single time. I asked in reply if he would be so sure about that if he knew how many people were watching (millions) and how much money was on the line (millions) and how he would finally have a chance to break a little streak that had no doubt gotten in his head. Sure, he says, I wouldn't miss it.

So I asked him why he four-jacked from six feet in a tournament last year. He changed the subject and I got a laugh at his expense.

Ask Tim Clark about missing a shorty today, and he probably won't be laughing. Clark had yesterday's Colonial won, or so it seemed, in the playoff when he knocked his ball tight to about 3.5 feet on the second playoff hole. Problem is, he didn't make that putt and he didn't win the tournament, and now he's haunted by his 0-185 record in the PGA.

Coulda, woulda, damn it all to hell, shoulda.

In this case, it really is fair to say that Tim Clark wins that tournament if he plays his usual game.

But golf is an unusual game, as anyone who plays often will tell you.

Bottom line, and Clark said so himself yesterday, he should have made that putt, like every Sunday amateur makes that putt for double-bogey. But Clark thought too much about it, gave it more credit than it deserved and guided the ball to the hole accounting for every micron of break, real or imaginary, and ended up making it slide just wide left. Maybe he should have slammed it home and let the ball rattle the cup three times back and forth on its way down. Maybe.

That's something he'll have to think about for at least another week and probably a lot longer than that.

1 comment:

  1. I make 100% of three-footers for double bogey, 99% for bogey, 97% for par and 95% for birdie. When it's for a lot of cash or a title, the percentages are out the window.

    I want to meet the liar who states he NEVER misses three-footers...


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