David Gossett won the U.S. Amateur in 1999, shot 59 in PGA Tour Qualifying in 2000, and won the John Deere Classic in 2001, any of which ought to have been a portent of a long and lucrative career. Instead, his game took a wrong turn in 2004 (when he missed the cut in 23 of 25 starts) and he's been lost since.
Gossett is back this week, playing in the St. Jude Classic on a sponsor exemption (the TPC Southwind once was his home course), which serves as a reminder of the ruthlessness of which the game is capable.
He is not alone in veering off course, never to resurface in any formidable way. Former British Open champion Ian Baker-Finch is part of that club to which no one wants to belong, as we were reminded recently when he played the Crowne Plaza Invitational. David Duval, Chip Beck and Sam Randolph are among those who also lost the magic and have never regained it.
This is Gossett's first start in 2009. Last year, he played six Nationwide Tour events and failed to make the cut in any of them. Here's hoping a home game this week will help him jump start a career that long ago misplaced the enormous promise it once held.
-- John Strege