Good and bad breaks — the “rub of the green” — are usually part of the fun in a round of golf.
Players do the best they can, but there are parts of the game — a lie, the way a ball bounces — that simply come down to luck.
Usually, these situations aren’t that remarkable, but occasionally they mean a great deal — especially at the professional level.
S.H. Kim experienced both sides of the coin on Friday at The American Express, incredibly, on back-to-back holes.
The wild series of events started with Kim’s 84-yard approach (his third shot) on the par-5 16th hole on PGA West’s Pete Dye Stadium Course. Kim hit a fine shot — so fine, in fact, that he hit the flagstick.
And that’s where the trouble began. Instead of ricocheting off the pin and landing somewhere on the green, Kim’s ball shot off the flagstick and ran off the front of the green. And unfortunately, it didn’t stop there. The ball continued to run all the way down down a slope into a deep bunker, where it ultimately settled next to a rake.
It was a brutal and costly setback to be sure. Kim ended up making a triple-bogey 8 when he should have had a makeable look at birdie. Awful!
But then, the beauty of the opposite side of golf’s unpredictable breaks shined through.
On the very next hole, the par-3 17th, Kim’s tee shot sailed just left of the green, catching the rocks surrounding it, and bouncing high into the air. Another disaster seemed imminent, but somewhat miraculously, Kim’s ball then appeared on the green, pin high, and 24 feet from the hole.
Perhaps even more amazingly, Kim converted the putt for birdie.
Going from a bad break to a good one, a triple-bogey to a birdie, on back-to-back holes? There must be a word for that …
…Oh yeah! Golf.