Mark Immelman, about two months ago on these web pages, described the difficulty of playing on Bermuda grass. “The grain of the grass,” he wrote, “plays a considerable role in the performance of the clubface through the impact zone.”
“Chipping and pitching off Bermuda can be demanding, and even the game’s best are oftentimes flummoxed by the challenge,” he said.
Kramer Hickok was flummoxed.
Hickok needed two shots to cover about 370 of the 383 yards on the par-4 9th hole at Port Royal Golf Course on Sunday. Driver to a fairway bunker. Iron to just right of the green and just short.
He needed four shots to cover the rest.
The Bermuda Championship wasn’t being played on bentgrass.
“This Bermuda grass can make even the best players in the world look a little bit silly,” analyst Justin Leonard said on the Golf Channel broadcast.
Hickok’s first shot near the green, and third overall, went nowhere. Swing and what appeared to be a miss. He then looked down at his ball for a few seconds. He looked up at the flag. He looked back down. Hickok stepped away and wiped off his club.
Hickok’s second shot near the green, and fourth overall, went somewhere. Just not very far. Maybe a foot. He walked over to his bag and wiped off his club again. He walked back, squatted down and read the chip.
Hickok’s third shot near the green, and fifth overall, trickled to within about 3 feet of the cup. He tapped in for the 6.
“He’s having a hard time around the green here,” Immelman’s brother, Trevor, said on the broadcast. “This was his third. Keep an eye on what the clubhead does here. Just goes right underneath the ball. And then from there, didn’t get it on the green, either. The best thing to do, Justin, is you got to bury that clubhead in there and keep it down in there so the ball can pop out for you.”
“You can’t open the clubface,” Leonard said. “Because the more you open the clubface, the less surface there is for the ball to make contact.”