Bunker Mulligan "Let us endeavor so to live that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry." ~Mark Twain

May 29, 2005

In the Zone

Filed under: Golf — Bunker @ 6:59 am

In every sport there are times when a player seems unable to do anything wrong. You can see it in basketball when a player puts in through the hoop from everywhere on the court, no matter what contortions he has to go through to get the shot off. In football, that quarterback who threads every needle, or running back the glides through the defense for ten yards every carry. Roger Clemens or Pedro Martinez sending batters back to the dugout, or someone going five for five at the plate.

Justin Leonard is in the zone at the St. Jude’s Classic in Memphis. He has been for three days. He has an 8-shot lead going into the final round today.

To put this in perspective, a fourth round like the previous three would be like finishing off a no-hitter in the eighth and ninth innings. Except this zone must last four days, not just a few hours.

Justin is not one of the big hitters on tour. Tiger, Vijay, and Ernie aren’t in the field. Davis Love is, but he’s tied for fourth. This course is shorter than most, just like Colonial. But it also requires more thinking and accuracy, and the skill to shape shots. Leonard can do all that. It makes me wonder whether the top players think they can win on a course where distance isn’t the premium. When shot-making becomes more important than distance, they don’t show up. Some think it gives lesser players a chance to take home a big paycheck.

I think it gives the fans a chance to see some people with golf skills to match folks like Jones, Hogan, and Snead.

Players like Justin Leonard.

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