First of all, a big thanks to Merf and Conor for taking care of the blog while I’ve been on vacation (not to mention Kapalua’s Gary Planos for being the greatest host ever). You all, along with the readers, are a huge part of the WUP team. Please join me in giving them a vintage-Tiger golf ovation.
/awkward golfer high-fives!
Anyway, I meant to post this video blog on Wednesday evening, but I was so exhausted that I passed out at 8:30. It must be all the golf. You know, the walk from the golf cart to my ball is pretty grueling. No, seriously, though, this is the most rounds of golf I’ve played in a week since 2004 (as of Thursday, 5 1/2 rounds — played 27 holes on Wednesday). I’m such an athlete! So, on Wednesday, I teed it up at The Plantation Course (again) with my new friends, fellow golf blogger Derek Franks (72strokes.com) and Mike Ferguson (who happens to live in Brooklyn, just across the bridge from me!), who is on his honeymoon (everyone, congratulate Mike! And see, I told you guys I was going on vacation with me, myself and honeymooners — oh, and apparently 500 FedEx employees; no wonder FedEx can afford to sponsor the $10 million FedEx Cup).
Of all the rounds I’ve played, this was probably my worst ballstriking round, but my best scoring one. When I added up my card, it said I shot 79. I’m thinking that I must have inadvertently cheated. Yes, I’m a cheater! Well, I did have three birdies. I actually made a few putts outside of five feet. Amazing, huh?
Alright, the 18th hole at Plantation is a fantastic finishing hole. Watch me stutter!
In sum, for a long time, the 18th at The Plantation Course at Kapalua was the longest hole on the PGA Tour at 663 yards until the other year when Firestone made a new tee on 16. Plantation’s finishing hole has witnessed some thrilling playoffs.
In 2000 Tiger Woods and Ernie Els staged an epic battle, where the 18th hole played a leading role. They came to the 72nd hole tied for the lead and both made eagle on the 663-yard par-5, which forced a playoff that started on 18. Both birdied the first playoff hole. The two combined to play the hole 6-under-par in two trips around on Sunday. (Tiger ended up winning with a 35-foot bomb on another playoff hole).
In 2002 Sergio Garcia beat David Toms in extra holes on the 18th.
Most recently, Stuart Appleby capped off his third straight win at the PGA Tour’s season-opening winners-only event with a birdie on 18 in a playoff against Vijay Singh in 2006. As the champion of the Greenbrier Classic, Appleby will return to Kapalua in January to see if he can make it a record four wins at The Plantation Course.
Davis Love III has the longest drive recorded in Tour history on 18, clocking in at 476 yards. This came on the same day that Rory Sabbatini hit a 448-yard drive on 18 to set a record. Poor, Rory — he only had the mark for a few hours. According to Geoff Shackelford, the Tour no longer uses driving distance stats from Kapalua because it would skew the numbers in favor of players in the field. (I can attest to this, I think I’m averaging 270 yards this week — okay, not really, but not far off. I’ve been hitting the weight room, obviously! Actually, I haven’t seen the inside of a gym since, like um, last December?)
Meanwhile, Exhibit 3,596 of the ball rolling forever on No. 18 — Derek hit a monster drive, measuring 432 yards. (Yes, it’s downhill and downwind, but these are all minor details — there are also way more holes that are uphill and into-the-wind!)
/another golf clap
Thanks to Head Researcher Intern Kevin for providing the info above. Photos courtesy of Derek Franks.