Skip to main content

Sutherland Cuts Down the Nets

Kevin Sutherland walked with this reporter to yet another post victory interview, easily his fifth in the hour since he finished his starring role in the made for television drama, ABCs Worst Nightmare. The subject shifted quickly from golf to his beloved Sacramento Kings of the NBA. I told him how impressed I was with sharpshooter Peja Stojakovic, in particular his ability to move without the ball. Sutherland then explained that he felt former Princeton coach Pete Carrill, a brilliant, old-school tactician whos now an assistant in Sacramento, deserves a great deal of credit for shaping Stojakovics pleasing style. Ive always had an appreciation for unselfish basketball, and people who understood its beauty. Sutherland, like so many of Carrills plucky squads who gave fits to the giants in the postseason, went backdoor on golfs field of 64, cut down the nets and left people scratching their heads, wondering what in the world just happened.
So, what now? No doubt therell be plenty of discussion about possible format changes to try and deliver the sexier names to network television on the weekend. ABC probably would have gotten higher ratings had they moved their cameras over to Court 9 at La Costas tennis facility, where Sergio, given the weekend off by Scott McCarron, was more than holding his own from baseline to baseline with good friend Martina Hingis. Seriously, though, Id leave it alone, though the galleries should be beefed up to give the atmosphere more electricity. Basically, the core golf fan loves match play, understands that it negates the advantage Tiger might have over 72 holes and frankly doesnt need Tiger or Phil every weekend. The players like it. And this isnt professional wrestling, where the outcome and the opponents are predetermined. Stage an exhibition if you want Tiger and Phil. This is golf, and its all about the score.
Sutherlands victory also raises the volume on the chorus emanating from the professionals whove been saying for some time now that golfs talent pool is deeper than ever. David Toms told me that he felt there were plenty of guys at Tucson and even on the Buy.Com Tour capable of winning matches against the top seeds. Ultimately, Sutherland won as much because he was more comfortable than just about everyone in the field on the unpredictable poa anna greens, having grown up in Sacramento and played them nearly all his life. Whats more, golfs fast growing claw nation picks up another poster boy in Sutherland.
Looking ahead, Woods plays the Match Play next year as an underdog. Rod Pamplings the early favorite. Conventional putting grips will be hard to find. And while Princeton will not win the NCAA basketball championship, in match play the little guy can win it all.