Sometimes this sport is impossible to explain. Sometimes golfers are able to summon their very best golf from the most unexpected situations. And sometimes that even applies to the best players in the world. Take, for instance, the week thus far for Ben Griffin.
Griffin is 26 years old; he’s young and spry. He’s ranked 125th in the world, and six events into his rookie season. But preceding all that this week is the fact that he’s barely eaten anything. Griffin was sick earlier this week, in a grim way. He was barely able to sleep Monday night in St. Simons Island, where he lives, battling “a stomach virus or food poisoning,” making multiple trips to the bathroom. No further details needed — we get it.
As a result, Griffin’s week was turned upside down. He didn’t practice Tuesday and decided to rest instead. But even the comforts of home weren’t so comfortable.
“Didn’t really get off my couch except to go shower at the Sea Island spa because my roommate didn’t pay the water bill,” Griffin said Thursday. “So we didn’t have any water so I couldn’t shower. I got out to my car, drove to the spa to take a shower and then came back.”
Not exactly great tournament prep!
He played just four or five holes Wednesday, but not at Sea Island’s two tournament courses, still electing to rest rather than expend energy grinding. “ Honestly, didn’t feel like I was hitting it that great,” he said.
But remember this unpredictable game? Sometimes we summon our very best golf from the most unexpected situations. Griffin arrived early at the RSM Classic Thursday, got a solid practice session in and teed off the 10th at 11 a.m. By the time he made the turn he was four under, without more than a couple bites of food.
“I had two bites of cereal I think and honestly I forgot to eat the rest of the bowl and so I poured it down the drain right as I was leaving the door. I had a protein shake in my bag, it actually exploded I just found out on the last hole, so my bag, my caddie’s taking care of that. So I didn’t eat the protein shake, and I gave a protein bar to my girlfriend out there, so I didn’t eat that. I just had a lot of electrolytes. Really, the last three days have been full of electrolytes, let’s put it that way. Not a lot of calories.”
Not a lot of calories but plenty of birdies. Griffin kept his scorecard clean on his second nine, adding another three circles to it for a seven-under 65, one shot back of the lead. The only question we’re asking now: how low can he go on a full stomach?
He answered that for us in his press conference. A 59, the lowest round of his life, on the same course (Plantation) he played Thursday. He shot golf’s magic number earlier this summer while losing a ball in the water on 8 and holing out from the fairway for a walkoff eagle on 9. Sometimes this sport is impossible to explain.