Mar
8
2012
Dustin Johnson Goes Crane Hunting on 18
By Stephanie Wei under PGA Tour

Look out!

It was one of those bizarre days at Doral– we saw clouds, glimpses of sun, short bursts of torrential showers and swirling winds, with gusts up to 31mph (felt like it was constant!). The outcome? Pure carnage for most of the WGC-Cadillac Championship field, especially on the par-4 18th, where the scoring average was 4.743, higher than three of the par-5s (Nos. 1, 10 12).

Well, as you can see in the clip here, Dustin Johnson’s tee shot epitomized the first round’s wackiness, along with the perils. Johnson pushed his drive far right, incidentally directly at Golf Channel’s TV crane and the guy in the air operating the camera. Well, the guy managed to keep his cool and track the ball until it struck the crane and dropped below. Well done, sir.

DJ made bogey on the hole, faring better than many, including Sergio Garcia, who got off to a fast start and shot five-under 31 on the front, only to turn around and implode with an eight-over 44 on the next nine, including a triple-bogey on 18.  Yikes. What the heck happened? Well, hey, it’s cliche, but it’s golf and sh*t happens (for lack of a better phrase). It’s obviously rare at this level to see that kind of discrepancy between nines.

Sergio was a good sport and stopped to chat with reporters waiting cautiously near the scoring area. Though he seemed calm and collected, he was probably pissed and disappointed, but I think when it’s so bad, you get to a point where you kind of resign to the golf gods.

“It was a combination of a couple bad swings and then a couple bad breaks and it just seemed like i couldn’t turn it around,” said Sergio after shooting 75 in the first round. “I just kind of snowballed on me.

“When you make a couple bogeys because you hit bad shots , it’s fine, but if you’re hitting good shots and you keep making bogeys, then your trust starts going away a little bit. That’s kind of what happened to me on the last couple of holes, but that’s golf.”

Meanwhile, Tiger Woods, who opened with an eagle on the first hole, shot an even-par 72.

“It was just a difficult day,” he said.  “The wind was blowing putts around, and it made for a very challenging round.

“It was gusty and (the wind) changed directions every now and then.  For some reason I kept hitting every drive in the first cut, so it added and compounded the problem, because now you’re not sure how it is going to play, is it not going to fly; is it going to go through the wind or is it going to get killed by the wind.”

Adam Scott and his long putter were hot and withstood the tough conditions. Scott shot six-under 66 for a share of the first-round lead with Jason Dufner.