Skill, Luck or some of both.
I hope you watched Sunday’s final round in the Traveler’s championship. Exciting isn’t saying enough.
Not that I wished Berger any ill will but I must say I was rooting for Jordan Spieth.
Jordan has played good golf this year but we, as the public, as well as the PGA community expect more from the 23 year old. Maybe that’s not fair but it is true.
Watching on Sunday, it began with Jordan making two straight birdies. Looks like he will have a good day and close out a tournament he has led for three days. Then all of a sudden he began to falter and in the group in front of him was Daniel Berger.
Daniel Berger just played his game and over the course of the round made up the three strokes he was behind. He birdied 15 and then 17 to tie Spieth.
This tournament was fraught with drama. Daniel Berger trying to follow up his win at the St. Jude two weeks ago and playing well when he needed to. Jordan Spieth, with the tournament in his hands faltering and not being able to sink a putt when needed. Berger reaches the 18th hole and puts his second shot in the front right bunker. He needs a par to remain in a tie. These guys are such good bunker players but nothing is automatic. He hits his shot close, makes the putt for par and remains tied with Spieth.
Spieth reached the 18th hole and hits his drive. He needs a birdie to win but at least a par to be in a playoff. He lines up his second shot and puts in the same bunker Berger was in. Spieth gets up and down for par. Tie score at 12 under and they will go to a playoff.
Cards are signed and the players go to the 18th hole again.
Both of these golfers are young. Perhaps Spieth has been in a pressure situation more than Berger but Berger has been playing better than Spieth on this Sunday. So who really has the advantage?
Berger drew number 1 so he teed off first. He pulled his shot left into deep rough. Not a good lie or stance. Advantage Spieth?
Spieth goes to the tee and pulls his shot left into the trees. Now what. If you are a golfer like me, you’ve been in this situation and have to look for the ball. It could have gone through, dropped down, moved right or by some miracle of luck bounce into the fairway. Spieth was lucky. He was in the fairway but quite a ways back, about 220 yards. Can he take advantage and put his second shot on the green? Not quite, he landed in the same bunker he was in during regulation.
Berger hits his second shot onto the green but it rolls to the edge and then trickles off. He still has a putt at bird, albeit a long one. A bit unlucky.
Spieth plays his bunker shot perfectly. Up, onto the green rolling toward the cup and IN. A real combination of skill and luck. He’s ecstatic as the crowd goes wild. He throws his putter and chest bumps his caddie.
Hold it. It’s not over yet. Berger can sink his putt to tie. Unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be and his putt missed the cup.
These guys are great golfers. They hit shots we amateurs only dream about, both in distance and accuracy. However, all the skill can not guarantee that hole out from the bunker. Luck definitely plays a part. Like a hole-in-one. How many times does that perfect shot off the tee roll right past the cup or just stop short. I’ve had it happen. I’ve also had a hole-in-one. Pure luck. We used to tease a friend who never had one about his wife. She had a hole-in-one. It wasn’t pretty. She his a 5 wood grounder off the tee and it rolled onto the green and into the cup. Luck.
As an amateur, I love to watch the pros play but can’t understand the game with the distance they hit. I also watch the women pros of the LPGA. I can understand their game even though they too hit it farther than I do.
Anyway, enjoy watching both the men and the women but in truth-