Poor Bryson DeChambeau. When golfers reminisce the 120th edition of the United States Open Golf Championship, they will likely talk about the disastrously stupid 6-putt of New Zealander Danny Lee than the dreamed victory of long-hitting DeChambeau, his first major championship title. Lee’s embarrassing gaffe, which is of epic proportion, has stolen the thunder from him.
I hadn’t watched live the US Open last week. In fact, I forgot all about it — traditionally, it is held during the month of June, but had to be postponed to last week on account of the pandemic — until Professor Gerry Collado posted in our exclusive Viber chatroom about the exciting match in the monstrous Winged Foot golf course. Later, Councilor Marciano Medalla posted a video of Lee’s monumental meltdown.
Lee was scoring relatively decent until this queer twist of fate. They were playing in one of the most difficult and treacherous golf courses in the world with narrow fairways, thick roughs and undulating greens — Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, New York. Earlier, legends Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and other golf stars did not make the cut of players qualified to play in the last two days of the four-day tournament. Lee scored 3 over par going to the disastrous 18th hole of the third day, Saturday, when his nightmare happened.
Allow me to quote a report to visualize how it happened. “After missing his par putt and then his bogey putt, he seems to lash out in a frustrated manner at the third out, which couldn’t have been longer than two feet, then basically ping-pongs his way back and forth across the hole until it eventually goes in at the sixth attempt for a quintuple bogey.” He carded a score of nine in that hole.
The golfing world was shocked at what happened. What was playing in Lee’s mind? How did he lose his focus and composure? Was he overwhelmed by his desire to win to cause his anosognosia on the fundamentals of executing a putt? Was it self-flagellation for putting poorly the whole day? Did he have an attack of mental deficit or aberration? Or a combination of the above? Golf psychologists could explain it better. Lee has not offered any explanation except to say that he withdrew from the tournament because of wrist injury.
You think Lee was the only golf professional who committed that mental lapse? Wrong. Ace golfers Ernie Else in the 2016 Masters and Sergio Garcia in the 2016 Players Championship 6-putted. But they were not four feet close to the hole as Lee.
All golfers can relate to the woes of Lee. They are humans and are prisoners of emotional and psychological variants. They are not robots. A little mental distraction and disturbance could affect their swing. That is why golf is both a physical and mental game. One must have the physique, strength (DeChambeau was reported to have added 40 pounds to prep for the tourney), confidence and the mental fortitude to resist interference. And the latter qualities are most needed in the crucial aspect of the game — putting, the bane of golfers.
A story is told about a first-time learner who asked his golf instructor why is the word spelled “putt” instead of “put.” The instructor answered that “put” means to place a thing where you want it, while “putt” means merely a futile attempt to do the same.” The pressure is very much in putting. Your 300-yard long drive and accurate iron shots will not count much if not complimented by a good putt. More often, a golfer walks out cursing for a missed short putt.
Golf mirrors life. A golf swing is executed, bringing the club up and then down, much like life’s “ups and downs.” In golf, you have mishits and good hits like life’s miseries and joys.
Yes, everybody experiences hiccups in life, but a man is measured by how many times he rises every time he stumbles. In golf, you may score bad in one hole but you can recover in succeeding holes.