William McGirt came inches from a possible playoff berth at the Sanderson Farms Championship. Trying to get into the clubhouse at 18 under, his birdie effort on the final hole narrowly missed.
He finished at 17 under, ultimately one shot back of winner Peter Malnati. He knew the importance of that miss, because, thanks to some past ribbing from Tiger Woods, he was paying attention to where he stood on the leaderboard.
After his round, McGirt relayed a story to the Golf Channel broadcast team relating to his first time in PGA Tour contention at the Canadian Open in 2012:
“I was telling the story on the putting green at the PGA at Kiawah [later] that year, and I told Joe LaCava (Tiger's caddie) that I had never looked at a leaderboard on the back nine and that it was my only regret,” McGirt said. “Tiger was hitting putts and he looked straight up, and he said, ‘What?’
“He walks over and we’re basically nose to nose, and he says, ‘OK, spill the beans.’
“I told him it was basically my first time in that situation on Tour and that I didn’t really want to screw it up by looking at leaderboards. So, we had a nice little conversation, and he goes, ‘You’re an idiot.’”
McGirt finished runner-up that week in Canada and did the same this past week, two of three career second-place finishes on Tour.
“I took that [advice] and kind of learned from it,” McGirt said. “The few times I have been in contention since then, I’ve stared the leaderboards down. I want to know what I have to do."