We've all been there after a round before. Post a round of 85 and feel like you absolutely played the best golf of your life a day after that 84 felt like you missed every possible shot you faced. The numbers at the end of your scorecard might explain to the public how many shots you took, but it is far from how it went down (basically the opposite of that saying, "there are no pictures on the scorecard").
Golfers have rounds where they hit every green but don't make a single putt. We've also had rounds where we might not hit a green on the front nine but scramble to a decent score, make the turn, and then the irons heat up as the putter goes cold.
Luke Donald had a solid week at the RBC Heritage. He finished T-3, two shots out of the playoff between Graeme McDowell and Webb Simpson. On Friday he was asked about his opening two rounds and gave the best description of just how silly this game is after his round.
"I'm feeling a lot better (on Friday). (Thursday) was a little bit of a struggle. I didn't really have much control over the trajectory of my shots. But today a lot better ... I felt better about my game today, and it was nice to make a couple coming down the stretch."
So how different was Thursday compared to Friday on his scorecard? It must have been a huge swing, right? No, not so much. Donald improved his score on Friday by a single shot, posting a 68 to his Thursday 69, but it's simply how the round went that explained how different he felt about the two at the completion of his second round.
Every golfer knows when the round ends how it went. On Saturday I played in our local club championship. A slow start had me struggling to make up ground, but two birdies on the back and a kick-in eagle on the 18th left me with a round of even-par 72. The finish clouded me memory of how dumb I played to begin and the score I made on the 18th had me fired up for the second round of the event. On Sunday the round started out a lot more legit as I found myself 1-under after five holes with a solid birdie chance at the sixth. I didn't convert, made a couple of dumb bogeys, and by the time I got the par-5 18th I realized I didn't have much of a shot at winning this thing. My five-footer for birdie on the last curled in, but I still walked off defeated. My score for the day? 71.
It's funny how that stuff works. Golf is a strange beast in the sense that a ball-striking day that comes with a cold putter is taken as a bad day. We had "so many chances!" but without converting them you felt like you wasted a good piece of meat by drowning it in A1. The days when you don't have your best stuff off the tee, or can't seem to find the green with a mid-iron but still get the ball in the hole are the days when you feel like you made up for whatever it was that forced you to forget how to swing the club when you left the range and headed to the first tee. Those days feel like successes, when really, it's the same thing.
In conclusion, golfers are weird, goofy, insane people that should be forced to get CAT Scans at least once a month.