Skip to main content

Woody Austins Mea Culpa

Andres Romero, a 26-year-old star of the future from Argentina who almost stole the Open Championship last year in Scotland, is your winner of the Zurich Classic.
Australias Peter Lonard had a chance to gain a playoff with a birdie on the 72nd hole and failed. Americas Woody Austin had a chance to gain a playoff with a birdie on the 72nd hole and he also failed. Spectacularly. With a double bogey on the final hole after a topped club followed by a ball in the water.
I played like a dog on the last nine holes, said Austin who also bogeyed the 14th coming home. I was puking my guts out.
Weve seen other players do the same under the pressure of winning a PGA TOUR event. But I cant remember one actually admitting as much afterwards on national television.
Maybe theres something in the water in New Orleans.
Certainly, theres something in the water they cook with in New Orleans. For my money, the best cities in the country when it comes to neighborhood food are New Orleans, Chicago and Fort Worth.
And speaking of New Orleans, dont look for Steve Elkington and Bubba Watson to be showing up at too many of the same gumbo parties any time soon. Watson, playing poorly and struggling to make the cut Friday became annoyed with playing competitor Elkington for what he perceived to be too much movement while Watson was preparing to hit his shots.
Watson then committed the cardinal sin of saying, out loud within earshot of a live GOLF CHANNEL mike, that Elkington could kiss his Neapolitan coattails. Only those werent the exact words.
Elkington wasnt amused by the verbiage. Or the timing. Or the reason. The third member of the group, Shigeki Maruyama remained neutral. Nonetheless, Elkington chose to shake neither his nor Watsons hands at the conclusion of the round.
Meanwhile, GOLF CHANNEL cameras got a rare inside glimpse of an animated discussion between Elkington and Watson inside the scorers trailer. Suffice it to say, they werent comparing and contrasting the Nietschean underpinnings of the literary symbolism of George Bernard Shaws Man and Superman.
Stranger things have happened in New Orleans. Former Chicago Bear quarterback Jim McMahon once made national headlines in the Crescent City for mooning a helicopter that got too close to what was supposed to be a closed practice in the days leading up to Super Bowl XX.
And to think, Ernie Els was nowhere to be found at the Zurich Classic. The Big Easy skipped The Big Easy to prepare for the big tournament called the Masters in two weeks.
The Zurich Classic marked the second week in a row that the players had to figure out what to do during a rain delay. There was absolutely nothing on TV this afternoon, said former New Orleans winner Tim Petrovic late Saturday afternoon while bad weather was causing the third round to slop over into Sunday. The games (NCAA mens basketball) dont start until, well, right about now. We were watching replays of this and that.
Austin, who made a name for himself last year by pitching headlong into a water hazard at the Presidents Cup while trying to hit a shot, wasnt happy either. Aquaman, it turned out, could have done without the water falling from the sky that forced play to stop.
Its never fun to be in a rain delay, he said. This is two weeks in a row for me. I was at Doral last week. Its just getting kind of crazy to constantly be yanked on and off the golf course back and forth.
When Petrovic won in New Orleans in 2005 he was six shots back when the players came back out on Sunday morning to finish the third round. Obviously this is a situation where guys are going to get an advantage, he said. But youve got to put this behind you and just go play golf.
You have to be mentally prepared, Austin added. Again, its tough to keep telling yourself to start, stop, start, stop and now youre telling yourself weve got to go.
Austin had 25 holes remaining when play resumed Sunday. With nine holes left he was tied at 12 under with Romero who had charged into contention with a third round 65.
Then Austin, to paraphrase him, vomited his innards.
It takes guts to admit such a thing.
Email your thoughts to Brian Hewitt
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Zurich Classic