The Loneliest Walk in Golf

I was attending the Zurich Classic in Avondale, Louisiana this weekend. I happened to be in the Eighteenth Green Cypress Suites and through my binoculars was watching David Toms coming up the eighteenth fairway. He was obviously looking for his tee shot near the water, on the right side of the fairway. Apparently, the ball went into the water, because shortly thereafter he began the lone walk back to the tee. I think his ball must have last passed the edge of the hazard not far from the tee. His trek to the tee seemed to take forever as he walked with what appeared to be a dejected look by his body posture. He re-teed and hit his third shot from the tee, after counting the original drive plus the stroke penalty. His caddy waited by the side of the fairway while he walked to and from the tee and I was thinking how lonely it must be taking that walk all by himself. I recalled a time that I had done a similar thing. I was playing in the Louisiana State Junior Golf Tournament when I was in high school at East Ridge Country Club in Shreveport. Before the round, I had great hopes for doing well in the tournament and marched to the first tee full of positive anticipation. I hit my first drive beautifully. It looked like it had gone far and straight. When I walked to where the ball should have been, it was nowhere to be found. I searched frantically but unsuccessfully all around the area, including in the rough, for the ball. According to the rules of golf, I had to walk back to the tee and replay the drive after taking a stroke penalty. So I was lying three from where my second drive had landed. I went on to triple bogey the hole and my game was downhill from there. I went on to have a very substandard round. Likewise, Toms triple bogied the eighteenth and finished one over par for the round. I imagine he had been trying to cut the corner on that drive because he was pressing to make an eagle, since he needed something really good to get back into contention. I felt sorry for him as I recalled my loneliest walk in golf. Bad scores are part of golf. But it shouldn’t be lonely.-rt


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