Robert Garrigus is on pace to have his best season on the PGA Tour. Still, this year has to rank as his most frustrating as well, despite the $676,239 he has already pocketed.
That's because with more success has also come more disappointment. Painful disappointment.
Starting at the Byron Nelson, Garrigus opened with rounds of 69 and 65 to climb high on the leader board heading into the weekend. But Saturday and Sunday rounds of 73 and 71 dropped him to T-26. [#image: /photos/55ad70e5b01eefe207f676d8]|||gwar01_garrigus_0723.jpg|||
Three weeks later at the St. Jude Classic, Garrigus appeared to have his first PGA Tour victory in the bag until a colossal meltdown took place on the 72nd hole in front of a nationally-televised audience. With a three-shot lead on the 18th tee, Garrigus could have probably bunted a putter all the way down for a winning double bogey, but instead hooked a wood into the water. Following a drop, he took a curious gamble and yanked another ball left of the same pond. After a pitch-out, an approach, and a first putt, he drained a three-foot tester for a triple bogey just to get into a three-man playoff, which he ultimately lost. The clearly visible sweat stains on the back of his pants as he trudged around the final hole probably didn't add to the enjoyment of any family and friends that were watching on TV.
The $492,800 he took home was the biggest paycheck of his career, but the win and the all-important, automatic two-year exemption on Tour had evaporated in the sweltering Memphis heat. Not to mention the extra $517,200 that winner Lee Westwood took home in what must be considered the best gift he has ever been given.
Garrigus, who led the Tour in driving distance last year, then had three straight mediocre performances before putting himself back in contention last week at the Reno-Tahoe Open. Tied for the lead through two rounds and with every player of Westwood's caliber or even close at St. Andrews for the British Open, Garrigus once again looked like he was on track for that first win. But a 73-74 finish only earned him a T-10.
Unfortunately, the woes of last weekend and perhaps the other missed opportunities appeared to catch up with Garrigus this week. In the first round of the Canadian Open, on a day of easy scoring conditions, he shot an 80. Garrigus promptly withdrew following what wound up being the worst round of the day by two shots.
Garrigus cited a shoulder injury as the reason for pulling out, but you have to think he also has a bit of a bruised psyche after what's transpired the past two months.
-- Alex Myers
(Photo: John Sommers II/Getty Images)