The pro who popped up his tee shot in his Match Play playoff? Yeah, he’ll be fine

Taylor Montgomery hits his tee shot on Friday on the 2nd hole at Austin Country Club.

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Taylor Montgomery will be OK. He gets it. Just let him tell you about putts for 15 grand. 

It was one of the more enlightening conversations of this week’s WGC-Match Play. On Thursday, the 28-year-old PGA Tour rookie had defeated Jordan Spieth, and reporters were digging some into his background. Montgomery’s from Vegas. His dad is the general manager at Shadow Creek, a high-end, highly rated Sin City track.  

And yes, the younger Montgomery gambles on his golf. Which led to this exchange:

“What’s the most you’ve ever had on the line?”

“Probably like $10,000, $15,000 putts,” he said. “But for me, it felt like trying to make birdie on 17 against Jordan Spieth. Like anytime you can put yourself in those situations, I think it’s a good thing. 

“Just like everybody, you fail sometimes, and then sometimes you are the hero.”

It’s here, though, where we’ll have to talk about the former. We’ll get to more gambling talk after that.

After the Spieth win, Montgomery lost to Mackenzie Hughes on Friday during the third day of round-robin play. Each player was now 2-1 in their group, and they went at it again, in a  sudden-death, stroke-play playoff back on the par-4 1st at Austin Country Club. 

And things started to spiral:

— Montgomery hit a pop-up. According to the Tour’s leaderboard, his ball went 187 yards, and out to the right. 

— On the Golf Channel broadcast, on-course reporter Smylie Kaufman said Montgomery slumped against some bleachers. 

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“He mis-hit this terribly,” Kaufman said on the broadcast. “Straight up in the air.” 

“Yeah, a toe pop-up for Taylor,” analyst Paul Azinger said. 

“That went about 200 yards,” Kaufman said. 

“Not a very good shot,” Azinger said. “He hits it a country mile, too. And that is a big disadvantage. He’s in trouble.”

— Hughes then hit his tee shot 345 yards. Or about a football field and a half farther than Montgomery. 

— There was hope. Montgomery had an opening, from 221 yards out. Just don’t go long. There’s junk back there. 

— Montgomery airmailed the green. He was just short of the 2nd tee box. 

“Oh, that’s going to be no-man’s land,” Azinger said on the broadcast. 

“It is slipping away from Taylor Montgomery,” announcer Dan Hicks said. 

— Hughes then flipped a wedge to 5 feet. He didn’t hit again.

— On his third shot, Montgomery tried to hit a low bump-and-run into the upslope to the green, but his ball instead darted out and hit near the top of the green and rolled into the left greenside bunker. He was still out. 

— From the sand — and essentially needing a hole-out — Montgomery hit short. 

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— It was over. He shook Hughes’ hand. 

“Well, that’s a shame, because Taylor played so well the first two matches,” Azinger said on the broadcast. “He took down Jordan Spieth, but today, he did not have it. Mackenzie Hughes pounced.”


But, as we promised above, let’s go back to gambling. 

On Thursday, he talked more of those five-figure putts. He said he never lost them — “so that was a good thing, too, because that was everything in my bank account” — but most bets were friendly. Twenty bucks or so. 

And Montgomery kept coming back. It was fun. 

And yeah, he’ll be OK. 

On Thursday, a reporter then asked him what the feeling would be like for him going into Friday. 

“Yeah, no, it’s good,” he said. “Any match that I have I’m going to try to win.

“And if I don’t, it’s not the end of the world, even though it feels like it.”

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Nick Piastowski

Nick Piastowski Editor

Nick Piastowski is a Senior Editor at and Golf Magazine. In his role, he is responsible for editing, writing and developing stories across the golf space. And when he’s not writing about ways to hit the golf ball farther and straighter, the Milwaukee native is probably playing the game, hitting the ball left, right and short, and drinking a cold beer to wash away his score. You can reach out to him about any of these topics — his stories, his game or his beers — at