Here are some excerpts from a post that I wrote over at the Wall Street Journal earlier today.
I decided to sit behind the ninth green to get a feel for the atmosphere as the leaders made the turn during the third round. I slipped under the ropes by the TV tower and treaded carefully down the steep bank (if you haven’t heard, quite a few spectators and pros have taken tumbles this week). Vijay Singh, Bryce Molder and Jason Dufner were putting on the green. I could almost envision myself catching a slick patch of grass and tumbling down the hill right as Singh was taking the putter back. I successfully made it to the bottom.
I asked Sam and Brian if they saw Johnson’s incredible save. They had. Apparently Johnson’s drive was in the right rough and he airmailed his approach over the green into the gorse. He got relief because his stance was on the cart path, but he was still left with a very challenging shot down to the green. Between two gorse bushes and in front of the cart path, he somehow chipped it to five feet and made his putt to save par.
Meanwhile, Jason Dufner made an even better up-and-down. He missed his approach left and hit the grandstand. He got a drop because the grandstands interfered with his stance. With the stands still near his swing, he chipped it to 10 feet and drained the putt.
“Those were two of the greatest up-and-downs I’d ever seen,” Sam said.
The next group to come up the ninth included J.B. Holmes, Bubba Watson and Ryan Palmer. Watson was the only one in the group to find the green. From where I was sitting, Holmes’ was about 10 yards in front of me. That wasn’t going to be a fun chip. He had to hit from a sidehill lie with the ball below his feet and the ball sitting down in the hay. Holmes duffed it and the ball moved up 10 feet and buried in the thick rough.
“He’s no Jason Dufner,” Brian deadpanned.
[Photo by Kyle Auclair/Insidetheropes.com]