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Quail Hollow: ‘Stupid game’ continues to mystify, amaze

By Ron Green Jr.
Ron Green Jr.
Ron Green Jr., a former Observer staff writer, will write golf columns occasionally for the newspaper.
QUAIL_SATURDAY_06
Todd Sumlin - tsumlin@charlotteobserver.com
Rickie Fowler takes a drop on the 18th fairway after his ball landed in the creek at Quail Hollow Club during Saturday’s third round of the Wells Fargo Championship.

At lunch time Friday, having just finished off a sporty little 62 at Quail Hollow Club a mere 18 hours after he’d signed for a hate-yourself 80, Brendon de Jonge walked into the locker room shaking his head.

“Stupid game,” he said.

How it ever caught on is one of life’s great mysteries.

Rory McIlroy shot 76 on Friday, almost missing the cut because he hit one drive behind a tree, another shot into a bush and putted like your aunt playing miniature golf at Myrtle Beach. Less than 24 hours later, McIlroy posted 65 before the gallery had fully gathered around Quail Hollow’s Green Mile and he was conjuring up memories of his hello-world victory here four years ago.

Do you ever think the game is stupid, Rory?

“Of course,” he said. “Every day.”

Reminds me of an old friend who, steeped in exasperation, looked around one miserable afternoon and sighed. “Maybe we should go over to Scotland and kick all those shepherds’ (rear ends),” he said.

They started it.

Some days, golf is a sublime experience, a charmed few hours when birdsong drowns out the noises in your head. Other days, the game is worse than TV’s “’Two Broke Girls.”

Ever wonder how capable you are of thinking really awful thoughts? Miss a few 4-footers in a row and you’ll find out. Get the shanks and you’ll think Dr. Kervorkian was gone too soon.

Every week on the PGA Tour is another chapter in an evolving story that could keep grad students in psychology busy for years. Wells Fargo week is a particularly juicy chapter.

Leader J.B. Holmes actually had a piece of his skull removed, but that had nothing to do with golf. He keeps it in his closet. Wouldn’t you?

Martin Kaymer is another case. Three years ago, he was the top-ranked player in the world when he missed the cut at the Masters for the fourth time in four starts. Kaymer had one go-to shot – a nice little left-to-right bender that worked well enough for him to win the 2010 PGA Championship.

He decided it wasn’t enough and chose to learn to turn the ball the other way. Instead, Kaymer turned into a forgotten man, lost in a swirl of two-way misses, golf’s version of swing-thought purgatory.

Kaymer was last seen at the bottom of a pile after he holed the winning putt for Europe in the 2012 Ryder Cup matches at Medinah Country Club (Ill). The past three days, he’s begun to look like Martin Kaymer again.

Geoff Ogilvy is one of the smartest, most perceptive men in golf. Want a well-thought out opinion on virtually any subject? Ogilvy is your man.

Asked Friday to explain why he had played so well, he looked at his feet.

“Sometimes you move your left foot and the hole starts to look bigger,” Ogilvy said.

Players, coaches and companies spend thousands on machines that measure everything from ball speed to launch angles and Ogilvy said he just moved his foot.

No wonder it makes people crazy.

Phil Mickelson has an answer for most things. So, Phil, how is it you chop it around and shoot 75 on a Friday morning that was softer than a baby’s blanket and, one day later, you blowtorch the pride of south Charlotte, at one point playing six holes 7-under par, on your way to a Saturday 63?

“Sometimes the ball just goes in the hole,” Mickelson said with a shrug. “Sometimes it doesn’t.”

Stupid game.

“Guess that’s what draws us to it,” de Jonge said.

Ron Green Jr. is senior writer for Global Golf Post ( www.globalgolfpost.com) and a contributor to the Observer. He can be reached at rongreenjr@gmail.com.
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