When one of the best players in the world is reduced to looking like a weekend golfer, i.e., they hit a shank, miss a short putt, chunk a chip, etc., the common reaction is disbelief. "How could I, a world-class golfer, do something like this?" they think. Maybe their hand goes over their mouth like they just saw a crazy twist in their favorite TV show, maybe they look to the heavens, or maybe they ask their caddie for answers. Never is it that they just had a big screw-up and it's no one's fault but their own.
Enter Gary Woodland on Friday at East Lake, who actually did the opposite of everything I mentioned above when he bladed a chip into the East Lake clubhouse at the Tour Championship. Facing a gnarly lie in some rough on the 18th hole, Woodland hit one of the worst shots of his life and gave the perfect weekend-golfer reaction to sum it up:
A closer look:
A+. Woodland could so easily have blamed the lie and swung his club through that East Lake BERMUDA we hear so much about to really drive the point home that it was the grass' fault, not his. Instead, he went with the hand on the hip/mean mug stare down many of us know and love. How much you want to bet one of the dads in the back pulled out the "I could have done better than that" joke?
Woodland went on to make triple bogey after taking a drop and hitting from the same spot, this time chunking it into the front bunker. It's too bad, because he was even par on the day and five under for the tournament, which is not out of it through two rounds, though he would have needed something special on Saturday to seriously contend.
Take heart, golf fans. Even U.S. Open champions blade shots 50 yards over the green once in awhile, and they swallow their pride and accept it too. The only slight difference being they have a U.S. Open trophy and you do not.