Stanford St Jude Championship round four: A monumental catastrophe
So I was right. David Toms did face a monumental task Sunday. Sadly, I was also horribly, awfully, catastrophically wrong as well. Because the monument in question turned out not to be the young figure of Adam Scott, the coming man of golf, but the far more weather-beaten edifice known as Woody Austin, a man who’s come and gone and come again.
The memory of Scott’s 14th tee shot into the water will linger for a long time. So will the stunned reaction on the XM radio channel: Jay Randolph Jr: “I just don’t get it"; Doug Bell: “I’m stunned"; and Mark Carnevale: “I don’t even know what to say.”
Actually he did, adding: “You just don’t expect that kind of shot from a player of the calibre of Adam Scott.”
Let’s cut to the chase: you just don’t expect that kind of final round from a player of the “calibre” of Adam Scott. But were the newspapers back home in Australia right to call him a choker?
In my book a choker is someone who reacts out of fear. I think Scott was first reacting out of frustration that yet again he couldn’t get on top of the front nine, and then with his bogey on the 13th after righting the ship with two birdies after the turn. Then he reacted with too much aggression, presumably in an attempt to shake off his troublesome rival, and finally he reacted with anger at his utter ruination.
At the bottom of the cut are the only three players to post a worse final round than Scott’s. It was so awful it was gripping and, for all his attempts to brush it off afterwards, I believe it will haunt him for a long while to come. Scott had abandoned his patient game plan and paid the penalty.
But so did I, because I discounted his lacklustre front nine on the basis that all would be put to rights on the return. After all Austin was really only up there because of a jammy eagle in the third wasn’t he? No one else was mounting a charge and Scott’s two birdies after the turn were a sign of the things to come, weren’t they?
Toms was a total washout as well. Not mesmerisingly awful like Scott, but simply lame.
And don’t ask me where that round of Austin’s came from. Sunday’s stroke average was the second hardest of the week, a week in which only one player managed to hit as low as 65. And 66 was the lowest anyone could go on Sunday - except Austin with his 62. A player whose last victory was three years ago and whose best finish this season was T18 at the Zurich classic.
Ah, the glories of golf. Bitter? Moi? Mais non. Simply time once more to shake your head and move on.
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