They are human

Senior player's brutal putt off the green is a bad break for the ages

May 08, 2022

Kevin C. Cox

If Ken Duke is in 32nd place when this disaster happened, we’d have never seen it. But that’s what made it all the more painful. Duke was leading the Mitsubishi Electric Classic on Saturday, and thus giving himself a chance for his first PGA Tour Champions victory.

What happened then, at the 15th hole at TPC Sugarloaf, made it all the more brutal.

Duke had a putt from above the hole at the par 4. It was all downhill. Slick. And he knew it. Which is why he appeared to take a feathery stroke to ease it toward the cup. The ball gets there, misses a few inches to the right, but then keeps turning. And turning. Duke walks after it, reaches into his pocket for a ball mark, and eventually catches up.

But it’s still rolling … and he then has to step out of the way as it moves faster off the green and some 30 yards down the slope. “Where’s the clown’s mouth?” He doesn’t utter that, but he could have.

It wasn’t over, though. Duke’s next pitch comes up short and rolls sideways into a bunker. Then he has to play sideways above the flagstick—and faces a similar putt to before. This time, the speed was right, but Duke still had to tap in for a triple-bogey 7. A pretty tough result considering Duke ended the round two shots behind leader David Toms going into Sunday's battle.

It was just one of those circumstances in which we at home sit and watch and wonder, “Why should we hacks get mad at anything on the course when stuff like this happens to the best of them?”