Continuing my year-end theme of 2020, here is my list of the worst shots – and again they aren’t all from the PGA.
Easily topping the list is the two shots by the polarizing Bryson DeChambeau (Bridgestone Tour B X) on the 10th hole of the second round of the Memorial Tournament. After his drive landed in the water, DeChambeau took a drop shot and then pulled out his three wood and blasted away. But it ended up out of bounds in someone’s yard on the other side of the fairway. Rather than playing it safe, he decided to do the exact same thing – and ended up with the same predicament. Even host Jack Nicklaus was incredulous that DeChambeau gambled with his second blast rather than simply play it safely and chipping into the fairway. So DeChambeau took a third whack and the ball landed in bounds this time, albeit in thick rough.
DeChambeau took some time to see if any of the two balls he shot into the person’s backyard were playable. He believed one of them was in bounds and called over an official, who told him otherwise, so DeChambeau asked for a second opinion, but the decisions stood.
He ended up with a five-over par 10 and subsequently missed the cut. He was clearly in the hunt prior to it.
It was a humbling moment for DeChambeau, who avoided talking to the media after the round. But DeChambeau learned from the mistake and won the U.S. Open for his first career major.
Later in the season he came into the Masters as the heavy favorite and talked of how he would play aggressively – and did not veer from that plan. On the second day of the Masters, his tee shot on the third hole found its way on the second rough to the side of the hole. He spent the mandatory three minutes looking for the ball to no avail and then had to go back to the tee to start over again, this time with his third shot. He ended up with a triple bogey on the hole and had to play catchup the rest of the way and was fortunate to just make the cut. But he became a non-factor on the final 36 holes.
I blame the TV cameras and the officials for not knowing where the ball in the second rough landed. You would think with all of the technology available and all the eyes watching the ball, surely it could have been found, especially in a tournament of this magnitude. If the Masters is played again without spectators, let’s hope this type of embarrassment won’t be repeated by using technology to spot the ball.
In the same tournament, reigning Masters champion Tiger Woods (Bridgestone Tour B XS) had a seven-over par on the par three, 12th hole in the final round when he landed in the water with three of his balls.
To his credit, Woods finished the final six holes at five-under par. When Woods made the cut, some people were hoping for a miracle finish to match his memorable and historic win in April, 2019. He finished tied for 38th at four-over par.
And finally, I have to go with Tom Brady’s shots on the first six holes of in The Match: Champions for Charity. He was so terrible that commentator Charles Barkley was having a good time ripping Brady for his inaccuracy, his balls going wide left and wide right. And when Brooks Koepka (Titleist Pro V1x) said he would donate $100,000 to charity if Brady managed a par on the first nine holes, it was like the golfing gods decided to give him a break and he holed out from about 100 yards away on the seventh hole to record a birdie. He had a decent round thereafter, making numerous good shots, despite rain and windy conditions, not to mention splitting his pants. But one thing about Brady, when he’s behind (no pun intended) he has a knack for the dramatic.
Happy New Year and may all your shots be good and occasionally great!