Carl and I were playing at the Bay of Quinte golf course yesterday and it happened to Carl. Off the first tee, a relatively short par five that also ranks as their number one handicap hole, Carl hit a weak push into the right rough. He then duffed his lay up shot, just missing a bunker and leaving him a shot of 195 yards over water to the green. It was obvious that Carl was becoming discombobulated. He pulled a hybrid club and stood over his third shot.
I knew what was happening, because we've all been there. You hit a poor shot--then another--and things get racing. You speed up and you make poor decisions. Carl's lie wasn't very good and he was definitely not swinging in the groove yet. But he decided that he wanted to hit his third shot from a dodgy lie 195 yards over water in an effort to erase the bad shots in one fell swoop. Naturally, the old Colonel's saying proved true. The ball found the water and Carl walked off the first green with an 8.
The same thing happened to him on number 9. He hit a terrific tee shot, about forty yards past us. He asked Radar for the yardage to the hundred yard marker. It was 152 yards. I was sharing a cart with Radar, and as Carl prepared to hit the shot, I mentioned to Radar that the pond on this par five comes in to play right by the hundred yard mark if you happen to pull it at all. I had been a member at Bay of Quinte and had made the mistake of laying up into that pond three times before I learned my lesson.
Sure enough, Carl hit a solid seven iron, slightly pulled, that just found the edge of the pond. Carl was mad as hell. He found the ball sitting on the edge of the water and, after trying several stances--and damned near falling in--he elected to try to play the shot left-handed. Radar and I watched in utter amazement as Carl chunked the ball in the water. Carl then took a drop and hit a wedge to about four feet. However, instead of trying to save par, he was now putting for a bogey, which he missed. He was five over for two par fives on the front and never recovered. Carl has won a tournament at the Bay of Quinte. He can really play. But, one bad shot sometimes begets another.
At the Evian today we saw the same thing from Morgan Pressel. Leaving her birdie putt just short on seventeen, Morgan, who was tied for the lead, was obviously quite perturbed. Whether she was still angry when she hooked her tee shot on 18 into the rough, I don't know. But, it appeared that one shot--the putt left short--had begotten the hooked tee shot. Then, likely still vexed, Morgan attempted to hit a shot from a soaking wet lie in the rough over water, or just left of the water, in front of the green. She drowned the ball and made double. It can happen that fast.
It happens to us all. We hit one or two bad shots. The wheels start spinning. We try to undo the damage by trying a high-risk recovery shot, and sure enough, one bad shot begets another. It does happen to us all. But generally, the one who wins the championship will not have succumbed to the mistake of following one bad shot with another.
Morgan has to feel like she's snake-bitten. She has been playing great golf, but can't seem to break through and get another win. She has another day to fight her way back to the top, and I wish her well. But she's got a big mountain to climb. When you hit bad shots, you can accept it. That's just golf. But when you hit a silly shot, you tend to really beat yourself up. Hopefully, she will let it go and come out firing tomorrow.