JERSEY CITY, N.J. – These things are relative, but from Harold Varner III’s perspective it was an outright meltdown.
He’d missed the green long with his approach on the par-4 11th hole during the third round of last week’s Wyndham Championship. There was a penalty drop, a poor chip and it all added up to a double bogey-6 and a rare moment of self-inflicted anger.
“I just had a terrible attitude and having a bad attitude probably makes me more mad than playing bad golf,” Varner said on Thursday at The Northern Trust. “That's the only thing you control. You don't really control what you're going to shoot or where your golf ball is going to end up, but you control how you approach each shot.”
He posted 71 in the third round to go along with a closing 71 and a tie for 57th in his native North Carolina.
Varner is widely considered one of the PGA Tour’s most positive players so the idea that he allowed his “bad attitude” to impact his play is, again, relative. But from his perspective it was unacceptable.
“You're not going to be a child. You can cover it up a little bit, but I just know how it felt, how I was thinking after it happened, and it's not healthy with all the mental illness stuff,” he said.
Whatever attitude adjustment he needed to make paid off on Day 1 at the playoff opener. Varner endured gusting winds for a 5-under 66 that left him alone atop the leaderboard at Liberty National.