Characters at Sawgrass
We all have experienced the saying “It’s a small world” … especially on a golf course. You’re out-of-town and play golf and get paired-up with strangers … and by the 5th hole you’ve become old friends who have a bunch of mutual friends.
Well, maybe I’m exaggerating … but not much. The weirdest of those type of experiences I’ve had was 25 years ago at the TPC Sawgrass Course – the site of this week’s Players Championship. As I introduced myself on the first tee, one of my playing partners said that he knew a girl from my hometown … I asked her name … it was my wife’s maiden name. Seriously.
But, it got weirder. The other player in our 3some, said that this TPC was his favorite course and he played it whenever he was in town. However, he said that it was difficult and that he usually lost a lot of balls. He proceeded to unzip the huge storage compartment on the side of his golf bag that usually held a jacket … but he had it full of golf balls … 50 balls … maybe a 100.
It was a difficult golf course. But not crazy hard. You needed to be in control … but not perfect. I thought it was fair and fun. Actually, I expected it to be much more diabolical.
We had nice weather and a good time. My wife’s buddy was a decent player … but the other fellow was not. After 9 holes, he refilled the side of his golf bag in the Golf Shop. I’m not making this up. He was not a slow player … though he lost a ball on almost every swing. I’ve never seen anything like it. And, he enjoyed every minute of it.
The island green on the par 3 17th hole is fun. And very playable. But we weren’t playing in a tournament. If you’re leading the tournament and that’s your 71st hole … wow … that would be a very difficult shot.
You would need the happy-go-lucky attitude of that guy with the bag full of balls … but a lot more talent.
These PGA Tour guys are ridiculously talented. It will be fun watching them navigate the course this weekend. Will Bryson DeChambeau keep it going and over-power the TPC? He could. He’s not just long … he’s in control of his irons … and he has a great short game. But what he really has is confidence. He totally believes in his technique.
Do I recommend his technique? No. He’s a mad man … the mad scientist of golf. He’s golf’s Dr. Frankenstein … and also the monster Dr. Frankenstein created.
The famous story is a warning about meddling with nature and the dangers of being obsessive. The monster came back and ruined the Doctor’s life.
We’ll see. DeChambeau is certainly playing amazing golf. Will it destroy his body? How about his personality?
I wish him well … but I hope he’s not the future of golf.
We meet interesting people on the golf course … I like unique people … even guys who lose a 100 golf balls during a round … but they’re human beings … not created monsters.
GM/Head PGA Professional