In Thomas Boswell’s online chat on Monday he was asked:
What do the PGA tour professionals think about hole 17? Valid test or silly gimmick? To someone who doesn’t play very much golf, it looks like it belongs on a miniature golf course, not a professional event.
Here’s his response:
It’s a wonderful hole. The pros like it. It is on THEIR course — “The Players Championship.” If they didn’t want it, they’d change it.
Also, most golf fans have no sense of how accurate the pros are. They can routinely land a short-iron shot in a space the size of a car. You always have the option to hit to the middle of the green and have a 30-40 foot putt. For them, that’s an easy option. Sure, a few gag on that shot, but not many. Tiger played away from the hole on 17.
Sergio went for the “sucker pin” on the right side at a time when he didn’t have to gamble at all — he was tied for the lead. Fundamental mismanagement.
My two-cent psychology is that, subconsciously, Garcia didn’t want to face Woods in a playoff after bad-mouthing him. He wanted to “win it or lose it” right there at 17. Stick it close, as he did in his previous Players win and make birdie from short range. He’s a poor putter. He wants to win with his high-quality ball-striking. That was his chance.
But it was STILL a foolish gamble because it brought all Garcia’s previous chokes, pratfalls, misadventures, bad breaks and career full of excuses into play. He just disintegrated with another ball in the water at 17 and his tee shot at 18.
Fascinating implosion. Be interesting to see if Sergio recovers from it.
Asked about No. 17, Sergio said, “You’ve got to love it for what it is.”
It’s often said that “we say of others what would better be said of ourselves.” In this case, I don’t think Garcia was talking about the misunderstood and often criticized 17th hole but about himself. He WISHES that people would say of him, “You’ve got to love him for what he is.”
Good luck with that, Sergio. He’s burned a lot of bridges, including with the D.C. golf community which considers him the most ungrateful defending champion that the PGA Tour stop here ever had. He didn’t want to play at Avenel the year after winning an Congressional. So, he had an “injury,” didn’t come at the last minutes after having his photo on all the buses in town, then managed to play Sat and Sun, if I remember correctly, in Europe in an exhibition. You can be sure than many people who helped put on events at Congressional and Avenel were slightly p;leased to see all three Garcia “splashes.”
He’s not so much a bad guy as a total spoiled brat Alibi-Ike with a negative whiney attitude. Other than that, he’s okay by me!