Anthony Kim caught one of the worst breaks in the history of bad cart path bounces during the first round of the Northern Trust Open at Riviera.
From 177 yards in the middle of the fairway on the par-4 No. 2, AK pulled his approach. The ball landed relatively softly on the grass to the left of the bunker (see picture below). The crowd cleared the way for the ball as it started its pinball trek onto the cart path. First, the ball hopped softly across to the other side (a few feet from where I was standing), where it ricocheted off the curb and started rolling down the hill and picking up some speed.
I couldn’t believe the ball was still going. Then it hit a piece of concrete that was jutting out from the ground and took a hard kick dead right. The ball eventually stopped under the table behind the grandstands at the driving range (which was also the very end of the path). From where it had initially landed, it had traveled (backwards) nearly 50 yards.
I became a lot more interested in the situation when I saw AK storming toward the area.
A seething Kim finally made his way over to look for his ball and unaware it was under the table, AK and his caddie looked around the grandstands before they were informed it was under the table. Kim mumbled, “How the &%#k did it get here?”
Burley Stamps, an assistant pro at Riviera Country Club, said, “I’ve never seen anything like that happen. Usually, it stops just down at the bottom of the hill (instead of bouncing dead right).”
Rules officials arrived to the scene to determine whether AK’s ball was out of bounds, which it clearly was. (You can see the white stake by the grandstands in the photo above and then another white stake in the photo below.)
“F—ing s–t,” muttered AK, banging his club on the concrete as he walked back toward the fairway to drop and re-hit.
Profanity and f-bombs were appropriate in this situation. Trust me, you would have been dropping them, too.
According to Geoff Shackelford, who was inside the ropes on No. 2 fairway, Phil Mickelson and Bones didn’t say a word to AK, who was dropping f-bombs like they were going out of style.
Kim, who was now lying three, hit his fourth to about 15 feet. He missed the putt and tapped-in for a double-bogey 6.
File this break under ways to get totally screwed by concrete. I’ve seen some unlucky cart path bounces in my days, but nothing like the pinball adventure AK’s shot took.
Stay tuned for Shack’s video autopsy of the screwed-by-cart-path scene.
*Update: And here it is (very impressive video, I must say):