In all the excitement of watching Martin Kaymer and the rest of the leaders at The Players Championship on Sunday, some viewers may have missed a mystifying exercise in futility by 27-year-old Richard Lee. A look at his scorecard from the final round shows that Lee took a double bogey-5 on the 17th hole which is not uncommon, given the fact that the green on the par-3 is entirely surrounded by water. Lee, however, took a double bogey without having taken a penalty for hitting into the hazard. All five of Lee’s strokes happened on dry land.
After hitting his tee-shot to the back fringe of the island green, Lee attempted to “belly” a wedge onto the putting surface. “Bellying” is something golfers do when a ball lies on short grass, but lies up against longer grass, preventing a player from being able to get his club underneath his ball. The idea is to hit the ball in the middle with the edge of the club. On Lee’s attempt to belly his wedge he nearly missed it entirely, hitting just the top half of the ball and advancing it just a few inches. His next shot was almost as bad. Switching to his putter, he almost missed again, moving it no more than another eight inches. On the positive side, he did get down in two from there and finished The Players Championship at 3-over, tied for 65th.
Jordan Spieth gaining valuable experience
For the second big event in a row, Jordan Spieth had worked his way into the final group on Sunday, only to fall short in the final round. At the Masters in April Spieth was tied with Bubba Watson after three rounds and faded to an even-par 72 on the final day to tie for second place, three shots back. On Sunday at The Players Championship, he found himself in a tie for the lead with Martin Kaymer and his round took a similar course, threatening early before stumbling over the final nine holes.
This may cause many to ask what is wrong with Jordan Spieth, and the answer may be as simple as his age. Spieth is 20 years old. His accomplishments say he is in his prime. He is currently the No. 8 golfer in the world. He is sixth in FedEx Cup points this year and is close to being a lock for the Ryder Cup in October. Spieth is the brightest of the young stars on the PGA Tour this year . It can be pointed out that he did not close out two big tournaments this year after being tied for the lead after three rounds. On the other hand, it can be pointed out that, at 20 years of age, Jordan Spieth has finished second and fourth in the two biggest events so far in 2014.
If Spieth keeps contending like he has, he will take the final-round experience he is amassing and win a major tournament on the PGA Tour sooner or later—probably sooner. There are golfers more than twice his age who have not gotten as close to winning a big event as Spieth has in his first full year as a professional. The best thing about Jordan Spieth is that he realizes he has a lot of growing to do. After his loss at The Players Championship he admitted that he was “not mature enough to be extremely positive” so soon after the tournament,” adding that, at that moment it “really, really stings.”
Golf Shots is a daily series which provides analysis and commentary on the PGA tour and golf-related topics all year long.
Commentary by Chuck Podhaisky