May 14, 2010
Sometimes, the game of golf caresses you like a gentle spring breeze. And some days, it leaps up and rips a limb off like a hungry gator. It happens to all of us, even the best of us.
Zach Johnson is the two-time defending champion at the Valero Texas Open, but if he's going to become the three-time champ, he's going to need to either play a record-setting round or skip a couple holes. He posted an 8-over 80, bogeying five of seven holes on the front nine. The round was highlit -- or, perhaps, lowlit -- by a quadruple bogey on the par-3 13th.
Let's take a moment to consider that quad. Here's the thing: He was putting for par from 10 feet. He didn't make it, and he missed and missed and kept on missing. He finally settled for a six-putt. Six! It was the absolute low point on Johnson's worst professional round in a non-major.
Afterward, Johnson was in no mood for chat. Here's the entire transcript of his press conference:
Q. Anything in particular that happened?
ZACH JOHNSON: All aspects. Very poor.
Q. You had showed some concern about the course coming in.
ZACH JOHNSON: Wasn't the golf course. The wind wasn't severe like it has been. Our rules staff did an awesome job of setting it up. Moved it up a little bit. On the whole they did a great job.
Q. When is the last time you posted this kind of number, do you recall?
ZACH JOHNSON: No.
Q. I was looking --
ZACH JOHNSON: Typically block those numbers out.
Q. I was thinking back as far as I can find. I don't know the last time I saw it.
ZACH JOHNSON: I don't know, either.
ZACH JOHNSON: Grind. That's all there is to it.
Oh, but Johnson didn't card the worst round of the day. That honor goes to Jerry Rice, who recorded a course-record -- in a bad way -- 92 at the BMW Charity Pro-Am in Spartanburg, S.C. Rice saw Johnson's quadruple-bogey and raised him two, carding a sextuple-bogey on the par-4 fourth after putting three shots in the water.
"Don't want to talk about golf," Rice said, getting into his car after the round. "Had enough." Been there, Jerry. Pretty much every week, really.
On the plus side, Rice will get to play three courses before a Saturday cut in the Nationwide Tour event. And he did take time to talk with fans and playing partners, and signed autographs throughout the round, which is nice.
So, keep at it, Jerry. We're sure you'll find something you're good at one of these days.