You know whom turned me into a fan of his at the Memorial? Brandt Jobe.
First of all, major props to Golfweek‘s Alex Miceli for picking Jobe as his dark horse before the tournament started. I’ll be completely honest — before this week, I would have had trouble picking Brandt Jobe out of a line-up. And if think you could have, then you are A) a family member or friend, B) have too much time on your hands or C) you are familiar with his inspiring comeback story after losing two fingers in a freak accident in 2006.
Yes, you read that right. He cut off two fingers when a metal broom broke in his hands while cleaning his garage. The sharp edge of the handle cut through the broom’s outer layer and chopped off chunks of his left thumb and left index finger. He put them in a plastic bag and was rushed to the ER, where a plastic surgeon reattached them. While Jobe has all ten fingers, the nerve damage in those fingers was permanent, which has been the most challenging obstacle to overcome.
“I don’t have feeling in my index finger at all,” Jobe told the Star-Telegram during the Colonial several weeks ago. “It zings me when I’m putting. My thumb is dead and I don’t have any feeling in it at all.”
When Jobe returned to the game in 2008, he hit a low point and nearly quit the game.
“There were many nights, many sleepless nights with going through all the injuries,” said Jobe in his post-round presser on Sunday at Memorial. “But at the same point in time I think it’s even more rewarding to be able to come back and play well, contend. You know, when I left off that’s what I was doing, and the last three and a half years have been pretty slow. But the process for me has been working.
“It’s getting better. I’m getting results, and that’s good. I’m not getting any younger. But at the same time I am hitting the ball far enough and I’m doing the things I have to to play out here.
Jobe posted an impressive seven-under 65 in the final round at Muirfield Village to tie for runner-up — his first top-three finish since the 2005 season (pre-injury). Since 2006 Jobe has only secured three top-tens, which have all come this season.
“I’m excited about this week. Obviously disappointed it wasn’t one place better, but at the same time there were some real positives that came from the week.”
Unfortunately, the weather delay late on Sunday afternoon was a huge momentum-killer for Jobe, who had yet to make a bogey and stood at seven-under through 14 when the horn sounded. I saw him in the midst of the chaos, trying to figure out where to go during the delay, just like everyone else. He seemed a little disoriented as we all were and I’m sure he wasn’t happy to stop playing while he was on a roll.
“(The delay) personally slowed me down a little bit,” Jobe told us after the round. “We were just kind of in a nice rhythm and going, and I hit a bad tee shot on 15, exchanged that 6 for a 4 and all of a sudden it’s a different ballgame. So for me, that was really the only bad tee ball I hit all day, so it obviously had an effect. That was my first swing of the day, and it was a bad one. That’s golf, though, too.”
Jobe really had been hitting the driver beautifully all day and all week on No. 15. But after the delay, he hooked his drive into the trees. In his three previous rounds, he’d been hitting 3-iron into the reachable-in-two par 5. He walked away with a bogey on one of the easier holes at Muirfield Village. But like he said himself, it’s golf — and maybe he shouldn’t have pulled his driver.
Regardless, I’m pretty sure Jobe is thrilled with his play this week. It’s not often you shoot seven-under on Sunday when you’re already in contention and you don’t walk away with the trophy.
At the end of the day, it was Steve Stricker’s week. Along with the bit of luck Strick had on his side, he simply played nearly flawless for 72 holes, aside from giving a few back coming down the stretch, but to his credit, he also made two clutch par-saving putts.
“It’s definitely a step in the right direction,” said Jobe. “I hit the ball — the last 36 holes, the ballstriking was fantastic. I made some putts, got in the middle of things and hit better shots. That’s what we’re all trying to do is when the heat is on, what are you going to do? I was trying to birdie 18, trying to set myself up the best I could. I’m going to take a lot of positive from this week, no doubt about it. It was a fun week.
“If you go back a few years ago, I would have died to play in a Tour event. You’ve got to love this — this is fun.”
Hats off to Jobe. And best of luck to him today in the US Open Sectional Qualifier (which I’ll be heading out to watch in a bit).
(AP Photo/Tony Dejak)