Sunday, November 09, 2008
Outside the tee box, but inside the ropes, I volunteer as a walking scorer on the PGA and LPGA tour. In the late 1990's at the Canon Greater Hartford Open, I had an unknown young player named Chris DiMarco in an early round.
At the tough 14th, he hit a solid 3-wood to the top of the hill, some 60 feet above the tee, on the right side, avoiding the huge maple tree that blocks the approach from the left, and finding the only flat lie on the fairway. The second shot is 60 feet downhill to a long, narrow green guarded by that tree and traps right and left, that slopes fairly severely from back to front. After some discussion, he selected a club and hit a beautiful, high 7-iron that landed not more than 10 feet right of the pin, which was all the way back, bounced high in the air as if it had hit a cart path, went over the green, down the slope, and stopped 20 yards away next to the small stream, in foot-high fescue that mower blade has never touched.
Finding the ball was an accomplishment, as the gallery is not allowed back there, but the next shot was a minor miracle. It floated high in the air, landed gently on the fringe, and trickled slowly, slowly down the hill, stopping 20 feet below the hole. His uphill putt broke ever so slightly to the left, crossed the cellophane bridge on the right side of the cup, and came to rest 6 inches dead behind the hole. He tapped in his bogey, and as he left the green he turned to his caddy and said quietly, "I hit 5 good shots on that hole".
Epilogue: the next time I played the TPC at Cromwell, I hit a drive the best I could up the middle, hit a blind 3-wood shot over the hill, and as we walked to the green I could see my ball 3 feet short of the front pin placement. I made the putt. Yes, Chris, it is a funny game