Notes Mishaps at the 18th Phil Hits Fan

By Associated PressMay 31, 2008, 4:00 pm
2007 The Memorial TournamentDUBLIN, Ohio -- If someone sneaks onto Muirfield Village with a bulldozer and flattens the 18th hole, theres not much doubt who the top suspect will be.
After all, the 18th has absolutely flattened D.J. Trahan.
In his other 51 holes this week at the Memorial Tournament, hes 2-over. At No. 18, in just three tries, hes plus-9.
I think thats a pretty crappy hole, Trahan said while stalking away from the course after shooting a 6-over 78 in Saturdays third round. But nobody wants to hear that, right? Everybody wants to hear that its a great hole. But I dont think it is. I think its unfair and its ridiculous.
On Thursday, Trahan was between the two bunkers on the left side of the par-4 hole and chipped onto the green, the ball rolling all the way off and down the steep hill leading to the front of the green.
He was 1-under for the other 17 holes, but the triple bogey left him with a 73.
In the second round, he hit his approach over the green then chipped off the green between those same two bunkers. From there he chipped 16 feet below the hole and two-putted for a double bogey that left him with a 76.
The pin was on the front of the green Saturday, meaning any shot hit short or with much spin would likely end up in the valley 30 yards in front of the pin.
Trahans 260-yard drive was in the middle of the fairway but came to rest in a divot, leading to his approach shot hitting on the front and then rolling all the way to the bottom of the hill. He popped up his third shot and it somehow defied gravity by stopping midway up the steep hill leading to the green.
His adventures were just beginning.
His fourth shot went to the green, made a U-turn, then came back at him, rolling into the valley. His fifth followed almost the same route: to the green, then back down the hill to within 3 inches of where he hit it.
Finally, on his sixth shot, he got the ball to stay on the green. From there he two-putted for a quadruple-bogey 8.
Trahan stands at 11-over 227 through 54 holes. Had he birdied 18 all three rounds, he would be 1-under 217 and in contention.
It (the ball) is spinning off the front and theyve got the fairway mowed so tight down there its like trying to hit off pavement, he said. Obviously, youre a pro, you should be able to hit shots.
Then he added, I think its a terrible hole.
Players strive for a consistent swing, a consistent mental approach and consistent scoring.
No wonder Nick Watney doesnt know what to make of his week.
Watney was tied for sixth after shooting a 68 in the opening round. Then he ballooned to an 80. In Saturdays third round, he shot another 68.
Yesterday Im not even sure what happened. I cant explain it, Watney said. It was just one of those days that I was just really, really off. And I just came out today and tried to take it one shot at a time and it worked out.
Not once as an amateur, in college, or in the pros has the 27-year-old Californian ever had such a wide variance between rounds, let alone between three rounds.
I guess theres a first time for everything, he said with a smile.
A kid on the fifth hole was minding his own business, sitting with his family behind the green, when he had a chance encounter with Phil Mickelson.
It left a bruise.
I nailed him right in the knee, Mickelson said later after completing a 70 to stand at 217, nine shots behind leader Mathew Goggin. Honestly, I didnt even yell fore because I thought it was going to be perfect.
Mickelson hit a hybrid for his second shot on the par-5 hole, the wind blowing it off-line and right into the gallery.
It flew right into the poor kids knee, Mickelson said.
After patting him on the head and giving him his golf glove, Mickelson salvaged his par.
Kenny Perry will sit out the U.S. Open in two weeks at Torrey Pines.
Ive only played there three times in 22 years, so that kind of tells you what I think, Perry said after shooting a 74 in Saturdays third round of the Memorial Tournament. I cant play em all and that was one that I always chose to skip. It was easy for me to make that decision.
Regardless of the course, Perry also said he wouldnt subject his 47-year-old body to playing in a 36-hole qualifier to play in another Open.
I dont do those anymore, he said. Ill never do another one of those. Im too old for that.
When play was suspended for 2 hours and 25 minutes early in the third round on Saturday, it was just the latest in a series of weather-related problems for the Memorial Tournament.
Of the tournaments 131 rounds in its 33 years, 34 rounds have been suspended, delayed or canceled because of weather.
Tom Pernice Jr. began the third round of the Memorial Tournament in contention, tied for 27th place and nine shots back of co-leaders Mathew Goggin and Kenny Perry.
Rather than make a move at them, he went the other way.
Pernice turned in 7-over 43 on the front side and ended up with an 82.
It was not as difficult today, he said, comparing the course to the first two rounds when he shot 71 and 75. The fairways are softening up and the greens are softening up. A little more receptive. But if you make mistakes itll still come up and grab you.
On the front side he had two pars and a birdie against five bogeys and a triple bogey.
Mathew Goggin is leading through 54 holes for the first time in his seven years on the PGA Tour. A win would make Mike Weir the winningest Canadian ever on tour, breaking a tie with George Knudson, who also had eight wins. No Englishman has ever won the Memorial. Justin Rose goes into the final round tied for third, three shots behind Goggin. Goggin could be the first player to win the Memorial the first time he played in it since Roger Maltbie in 1976, the first year of the tournament.
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