MAMARONECK, N.Y. — Saturday night, there were whispers around the 18th green at Winged Foot.
Did you see it?
No, I was volunteering by No. 9 — can’t believe I missed it.
They lost track of his putts!
The word was out: Winged Foot had finally broken one of its competitors. After six putts from four feet and a subsequent WD, Danny Lee was out of the U.S. Open.
Lee arrived at the 18th green just three over par for the day. If he could get up and down, he’d actually beat the field average and hold steady on the leaderboard, safely inside the top 40 and in line for a solid payday.
His approach shot from the left rough settled on the upslope just short and right of the green. Not bad. From there, he hit a nifty chip, using the backstop just behind the flagstick to stop his ball just four feet beyond the hole. That’s when things got interesting.
For a while, the media and the viewing public only knew Lee’s final score for the hole: A quintuple-bogey 9. But on Sunday morning, Golf Channel aired the Lost Danny Lee Tapes, and whoa! Here’s the video, and then I’ll tell you everything else we know.
You don’t often see it play out quite like that on Tour! Okay, here’s everything I know about the Danny Lee six-putt.
-Sources tell GOLF.com there was some confusion in the immediate aftermath as to just how many putts Lee had taken. Between Lee, his caddie, his playing partners and the walking scorer, nobody was completely sure how many putts he had taken. It’s not clear if they were able to quickly access the footage, or if there was some disagreement as to the final tally, but we can see now that they ended up with the correct number: six putts for a score of 9.
-After his round, Lee withdrew, citing a wrist injury. No further detail was provided. Lee has battled a wrist injury throughout his career, and, well, we won’t speculate any further on whether the WD was also tied to the fact that he six-putted the 18th green.
-From my perspective, everything changed midway through that third putt. That was the breaking point. After Lee’s second putt trickled past the hole to easy tap-in range, he just…whacked it. I think part of the reason this video is so relatable is because every golfer is familiar with that feeling of short-circuiting — it just doesn’t usually happen on the 18th hole at a Winged Foot U.S. Open.
-What would have happened if fans were on site? On the one hand, this feels like the sort of thing that would only transpire in a relatively anonymous, fan-free setting. On the other hand, the 18th green is one of the more populous areas of the golf course; plenty of volunteers, spectators and staffers were looking on. Maybe Lee had just had enough.
-Before his WD, Lee was listed as having lost an unthinkable 8.02 strokes to the field putting. Just over five of those strokes would have come on the final green, which is a large majority, but it also means he was already having a rough day on the greens, which could be partly to blame for the final frustration. Lee finished the round with 39 putts.
-Lee will be paid out last-place money after the WD, which comes out somewhere in the range of $25,000. Had he made that initial par putt, he’d have started Sunday at T34, a slot that pays out $68,000. Lee made just over $2 million on the course in the 2019-20 PGA Tour season, so I think he’s doing okay on that front — but this felt like a costly finish nonetheless.