Home' Australian Golf Digest : July 2017 Contents 92 australiangolfdigest.com.au | july 2017
gareth lord We had a spot we played for
on that green all week. We didn’t really care
where the flag was.
henrik stenson And the numbers worked
out beautifully. The pin was almost right on
our spot. It was just a flat-out 4-iron, which is
exactly what I wanted at that stage. As soon
as I looked up, the ball was arrowed straight
at the pin. I don’t think I even watched it
finish. I just walked to the bag and handed
Gareth the club. In the circumstances, that
was one of the best shots of my life.
wayne riley, Sky Sports: The impact made a
noise like a firecracker. It just went off: Pow!
I thought, Holy shit!
david feherty Henrik is like a piece of
steel cable on a suspension bridge. He can
hold his golf bag out at arm’s length for like
30 seconds. Try that. It’s ridiculous.
phil mickelson This ball in that thick,
heavy air never left the pin.
gareth lord I thought he was even closer
than the six feet it ended up from the flag. The
shot was too good to be that far away.
henrik stenson The ball actually took a shit
bounce when it landed. Given how pure I hit
it and how high it was coming in, it should
have stopped stone dead.
phil mickelson The only way to pick up one
is to make a 2 on a brutal hole. [Mickelson’s
tee shot missed left, and he chipped to about
gareth lord I was just grateful the bugger
didn’t chip in. He could have.
jim mackay It’s the kind of putt that Phil
makes, you know what I mean? If he doesn’t
make it, it’s pretty much over because
Henrik’s inside of us for 2. And Phil makes it.
phil mickelson Well, I needed to make
that to have a prayer, because you just don’t
know what will happen. That prayer almost
henrik stenson It was a long time for me to
wait between my tee shot and my putt. That
didn’t help. My mind was wandering and
calculating. I tried to dead-weight my putt. I
hit a good one. But it was under-paced for the
line it was on. The last thing I wanted was a
two-footer coming back. Two putts were fine.
gareth lord If we’d been offered a two-shot
lead on the 72nd tee at the start of the week,
we would have taken it.
colin montgomerie The only birdie Henrik
Stenson missed was the easiest putt, on 17, or
he’d have birdied the last five holes on the
strongest back nine we have in golf. Amazing.
AVOIDING DISASTER AT THE 18TH
pete cowen I got home just as Henrik was
on the 18th tee.
henrik stenson On the way to the tee, I
stopped in the toilet. On the tee we talked
about what to hit. [Lord says a fairway bunker
to the right was 317 yards away; Mackay
estimates the distance at 304.] The thought
I had was that I had to assume Phil would
make birdie, so I had to make par. If I hit a
2-iron, I’d have maybe a 6-iron to the green.
And it wasn’t the widest target. So doing
that brought 5 [bogey] into play. That was
why I went with the 3-wood. I just wanted to
be closer to the green. And if I hit it up the
middle, great. But if I did leak it a little to the
right, it would never reach the bunker.
gareth lord That’s not quite what we said.
Up the middle is fine. If he mis-hits it to the
right, it won’t reach the sand. But if he hits
a rocket straight at middle wicket, it has a
chance of finding the bunker. That we knew.
But we also knew that there was plenty of
room way right, and he would get a drop into
the semi-rough because of the grandstands.
That would leave only an 8-iron to the green.
henrik stenson Plus, the left-hand bunkers
are in play no matter what club I hit.
phil mickelson You can always have a two-
shot swing on the last. When he hit a 3-wood
and it came whistling straight off the face
right at the bunker, there was a good chance
it was going to go in.
gareth lord As soon as he hit it, I’m saying,
henrik stenson With the adrenaline, it
came off like a rocket.
jim mackay The wind was left to right, a little
bit of help, and Stenson on his worst day is
one of the five best ball-strikers in the world,
and the sound this 3-wood made, it was like
it came out of a gun. I’m like, This is nuked!
It was just a question of, would it get to the
bunker? Another funny story: a group of
guys who had finished were all getting on a
plane to go to Sergio’s outing in Switzerland,
and they’re taxiing down the runway. There’s
a TV on the plane, and when Stenson hits the
3-wood off 18 and the ball’s rolling towards
that Greg Norman bunker [from which
Norman made an X in the 1989 Open playoff],
the TV cut out as the ball was rolling, and
they’re like, Aaaggghhh!
phil mickelson If he goes in, now he’s got to
wedge out, and I’ve got a chance with a birdie
to tie him.
henrik stenson I saw the ball disappear
over a little ridge, but I couldn’t see it finish. I
did think it was in the bunker.
gareth lord Twenty yards off the tee, we
could see the ball.
henrik stenson A little white egg just short
of the bunker. That made me quite happy.
gareth lord The ball was about 18 inches
short of the sand, but he had a perfect stance.
david feherty People standing around me
were saying he got lucky. No he didn’t! He
hit a fantastic shot that would have been
unlucky to go in the bunker. The quality
of the shots he hit – I never thought in my
lifetime that I would watch someone hit the
quality of shots that Tiger Woods could hit,
with the amazing penetration and accuracy.
The game has changed so much since I quit
playing – probably because I quit playing.
phil mickelson Henrik’s second into 18 is
not that hard of a shot, so he most likely will
make par, but you still never know.
henrik stenson Phil hit a little carvey tee
shot to the right, short of mine. I think he hit
maybe a 7-iron to the green. So if I had hit a
2-iron I would have been even farther back
than he was. And because he mis-hit his
tee shot, that reduced his chance of making
birdie. He was so far back.
phil mickelson I wanted to hit a hook, and
I wanted to hit one harder, and I took a little
bit less club. It just wasn’t quite enough, and
I left it 40 feet short.
gareth lord Henrik had a perfect yardage
for a wedge. I was like, “Go on, my son: hit it on
the left edge of that clubhouse, and job done.”
henrik stenson I hit the wedge shot as hard
as I wanted to maybe 25 feet. It was perfect.
gareth lord: It isn’t quite done, though. If
Phil holes for 3, Henrik still has to two-putt.
And the putt had six feet of break in it.
henrik stenson But because the putt was
a slinger with a potential tail on it, I wasn’t
thinking I had won just yet. Chances were,
in fact, had Phil holed for 3, I would have
had a three-footer to win. So when he left
over. Then I can take it for granted. My putt
almost went in sideways on the break [for a
three-stroke victory]. Lordy came over and
gave me a little hug. Actually, it was quite a
big hug, the biggest hug he’s ever given me.
wayne riley I was out on the 18th green
the next morning, doing a piece for Sky
Sports News. On camera, I holed the putt
Henrik made to win the Open – on my 22nd
attempt. The next time I saw Henrik I told
him I needed 22 goes to make it and couldn’t
believe how much the ball broke at the hole.
His response was: “Couldn’t you see that?”
jim mackay Henrik is such an easy guy to
root for, A , because he’s such a good guy,
and B, because we all know what he’s been
through, the peaks and valleys. It’s a tough
game, and he’s fought back from a couple of
whatevers [including swing yips and losing
millions of dollars in a Ponzi scheme]. You’re
out there in this moment where this guy’s
having the greatest professional moment of
his life. It was fun to watch them hug it out.
CONGRATS FROM OAKMONT PROPHET
henrik stenson Phil said something like,
“Really well played; really well done. I’m
’I LOOKED AT HENRIK, AND HE SAID,
“HOW DO YOU CALM DOWN AFTER
THAT?” [THE BIRDIE PUTT AT THE 15TH
HOLE.] I TOLD HIM HE COULD START BY
BREATHING. HE HAD ALMOST TURNED
BLUE.’ – CADDIE GARETH LORD
31/05/2017 3:34 pm
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