‘I Just Cost Myself 250 Grand.’

Written by on July 9, 2020

On the ultimate inexperienced of just about each PGA Tour occasion, a golfer will stand over a routine quick putt price between $200,000 and $500,000. It’d take one second for the ball to roll towards the opening, but when the result’s a expensive four-feet miss, it often takes one other minute for the enormity of the loss to sink in.

When their rounds are full, golfers enter the privateness of a close-by scoring tent, which one participant known as “the loony bin.” It’s there that gamers come face-to-face with the event’s prize cash chart delineating the payouts for ending first, second, third, and so forth.

“Guys say, ‘I simply price myself 250 grand,’” stated Jim Furyk, the winner of 17 tour occasions. “I’m certain I’ve stated it. It’s a extremely exhausting second.”

Gary Woodland, the reigning United States Open champion, insisted the angst was worst at high-profile tournaments, the place a last quick putt might be price $1 million.

“I don’t care who you’re, that’s some huge cash,” Woodland stated. “Possibly you weren’t excited about the cash earlier than the putt, however should you miss you’re.”

Even every week after an costly flub, Woodland knew colleagues may nonetheless be reminding one another about it.

“You mess with buddies, ‘Hey, that one putt price you big-time,’” he stated, laughing.

Picture“I don’t care who you are, that’s a lot of money,” Gary Woodland said. “Maybe you weren’t thinking about the money before the putt, but if you miss you are.”
Credit score…Jeff Roberson/Related Press

For the much less completed gamers on tour, there’s little humor within the state of affairs.

“These quick putts on 18 are terrifying,” stated Martin Coach, a second-year member of the tour who has one victory. “It’s a part of the treacherous phantasm of competence in golf.”

Joel Dahmen, now in his fourth yr on tour, painted an image of a singularly weird, harrowing ceremony of passage for the professional golfer: surviving the crucible of the petite putt with titanic import.

“It’s consistently talked about by nearly all people,” stated Dahmen, who has practically $6 million in profession earnings. “Guys within the locker room after the ultimate spherical are having a beer and saying, ‘Oh my God, I can’t imagine how a lot that final putt price me.’ Everybody has to determine find out how to get used to it.”

Final month on the Charles Schwab Problem in Fort Price, Collin Morikawa, who joined the tour final summer time after a embellished novice profession, missed a short putt on the 18th gap that will have gained the event. Compelled right into a playoff, Morikawa then missed a four-foot par putt on the primary further gap that handed the victory to Daniel Berger, who earned $532,500 greater than Morikawa for the win.

When the second essential putt lipped out, Morikawa’s head and shoulders slumped till he rested his fingers on his knees.

“Clearly, it stung,” Morikawa, 23, stated two weeks later when requested about his close to misses. “It’s an enormous studying curve. However I’m not afraid of being in these positions. I need to be in these as a lot as I can as a result of the extra you’re, the extra snug you’re going to be.”

In interviews with dozens of tour veterans, a blueprint for overcoming the stress of a brief, last putt emerged.

“At first, you most likely let the {dollars} get into your head and also you screw up and it prices you some huge cash,” stated Kevin Streelman, who has been a tour common since 2008. “You get bored with that occuring and begin treating the final putt of the day the identical as your first putt of the day.

“And when the spherical’s over, you can not inform your self {that a} final putt price you a certain quantity. It’s what you do throughout a complete profession.”

Credit score…Nam Y. Huh/Related Press

However for unproven gamers on tour, it’s tough to deal with tour longevity when they’re in a determined, weekly battle to complete close to the highest of the leaderboard so they’ll qualify for an invite to return to the tour the next yr.

“That stress and nervousness is fixed,” Wyndham Clark, a second-year tour professional with 4 profession top-10 finishes, stated in recalling his first yr on the tour. “It impacts your sleep. I wasted so many nights worrying about it.”

The youngest golfers on the PGA Tour are additionally extra conscious of how a lot they earn as a result of weekly journey bills double from the roughly $1,700 they spend on the tour’s feeder circuit, the Korn Ferry Tour. They know that one top-five PGA Tour end can resolve their cash woes for the remainder of the yr.

“A 3rd-place end payout on the PGA Tour is 10 instances what you make on the Korn Ferry Tour,” stated Matthew NeSmith, a tour rookie. “That stuff is at all times behind your thoughts.”

Then there are golfers who keep that they’ve by no means thought of how a lot cash a person putt could be price, at the same time as first-year professionals.

“You most likely aren’t going to imagine me, however I’ve by no means had a putt the place I’ve thought, ‘if I miss this, I price myself 2 hundred or 4 hundred thousand,’” Justin Thomas, the world’s fifth-ranked golfer and the 2017 P.G.A. Championship winner, stated. “Lots of people may inform you what a three-way tie for sixth is in a $9 million purse, whereas I’ve no clue.”

Thomas, nonetheless, admitted to at least one exception — when he wanted to make a three-foot putt to tie for third eventually yr’s Tour Championship, which might earn him $3.5 million. Ending in fourth-place would have earned him $500,000 much less.

“That was the primary ever time I used to be like, ‘That is most likely a million-dollar putt,’ ” Thomas stated.

He smiled on the reminiscence since he sank the birdie putt. A few of his brethren on tour additionally agreed that there have been advantages for weathering the pressure introduced on by a big-money putt.

“Once I was youthful and cash was tight, if I missed a brief putt I would take into consideration how I misplaced six months of lease cash,” stated Charley Hoffman, a 15-year tour veteran with nearly $29 million in profession earnings.

Hoffman chuckled.

“However there’s a flip aspect,” he stated. “When that golf ball falls into the opening you say to your self: ‘Hey, I simply made $150,000 on one little four-foot putt, how superior is that?’”

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