One of the more interesting stories from Saturday at Augusta was the dalliance of Jeff Knox. The Augusta National member is the go-to guy when an odd number of golfers make the cut. ANGC doesn’t give the solo golfer the option of playing alone; Knox comes out of the bullpen and onto the first tee deck. He’s a very good golfer and the one hole that I saw him play (#12, the par three, Golden Bell) he made 2 to Rory McIlroy’s 3. In fact, Knox beat McIlroy by one that day, 70 to 71.
Jeff Knox is not us. He is not the golfer who threatens to blow up and shoot 64 or 84. He nuts the tee ball down the middle and gets the approach on the green. That McIlroy wanted to talk putting with Jeff tells you just how good he is with the flat stick. We the people are certainly permitted to hoist him aloft as our hero for the weekend. On Sunday, he plays with Larry Mize or Joost Luiten and odds are that he’ll make a game of it.
Our true heros are the fellow that lost it all on Saturday. Their names are Brandt Snedeker, Stephen Gallacher, Mike Weir and the aforementioned-Luiten. These fellows all had a chance to move into contention on day three. With Bubba backing up and minus-five at the top of the board entering Sunday, a 68 from any of them would have made Sunday interesting. In Gallacher’s case, he would have tied for the third-round lead.
Unfortunately, here’s what happened to each of them:
Snedeker~after birdies on 1 and 3, he made a 7, a quadruple-bogey on the 4th. He tripled the eleventh and made four bogies on the way to an 80 and dashed dreams. You know him.
Gallacher~Standing at minus-one on the 4th tee, he also met his waterloo on the challenging par three. Gallacher made double there, then added three more doubles rounding the turn (9, 10 and 11). Three bogies later, he signed for 81 and a trip to second division on Sunday. We know second division.
Luiten~He wasn’t so much bad as not-good, until it was too late. Joost penciled in 7 bogies over his first 15 holes. He made two late birdies, but 77 meant no Sunday surprise for him. You, I, she and he have all punched a ticket on the bogey train. It’s no fun, but it’s even harder to get off.
Weir~The 2003 Spring Invitational champion has shown signs of the play that brought him to the top ten in the world last decade. Beginning the day at +1, the Ontarian went through the front nine in 42. Four bogies and a double. Remember those Masters jitters, Mike? We feel them most weeks and weekends.
It’s possible that Jordan Spieth will become the youngest champion in the history of the event. Or that Bubba will add a second jacket to his collection. The most interesting man in golf might become more interesting around 7 this evening. Or non-major winners Kuchar, Blixt, Westwood, Fowler and Bjorn might shed that title forever. You and I know that there will be enough meltdowns, bad breaks, loose swings and tree-rattlers to remind us that every moment offers up its every-man.