Joe Posnanski recently wrote about Alex Rodriguez’s impending arrival to baseball’s 600 Home Run Club. I love one particular line, summing up how there is zero buzz about reaching the once insanely difficult milestone that Barry Bonds, Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Ken Griffey Jr. and Sammy Sosa have all passed. (I already forgot about Griffey and Sosa.)
It is like someone struggling to climb to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro, reaching the peak and finding that people had already built a McDonald’s, a Home Depot and a Best Buy up there.
I feel the same way about what used to be golf’s magic number: 59. I’m not suggesting Paul Goydos and Stuart Appleby are juicing, but 59 doesn’t have the same reverence anymore.
While Paul Goydos realizes he won’t be celebrated as a Hall of Fame inductee (you need, like double-digit wins and multiple majors), he’s carved a little piece of golfing history when he posted a 59* earlier this month. From the press release:
Or like throwing a no-hitter in the Major Leagues? 59 used to be golf’s magic number, a score that guaranteed golfing immortality.
But that number has lost a little bit of its luster lately.
Just this month alone, Paul Goydos became the first player on the PGA Tour in 11 years to shoot a 59, while Steve Stricker and Carl Pettersson nearly joined him, firing 60s. In a Nationwide Tour pro-am last week, Trevor Murphy shot an outrageous 56.
And now a 17-year-old has shot a 57.
What an insane week of golf. On Thursday, Paul Goydos of all people caught lightning in a bottle to shoot golf’s magic number: 59. But Goydos only led the John Deere Classic by one stroke, after Steve Stricker shot a 60, the fifth lowest round in PGA Tour history.
Steve Stricker limped in with a closing round of one-under 70, but he still successfully defended his title. Entering with a six-shot lead, he only bested Paul Goydos, golf’s latest Mr. 59, by two strokes. Goydos made a strong charge, but he knocked it into the water on 18, carding a bogey to finish with a five-under 66.
As a consolation prize, Goydos qualified for the British Open — which should definitely soften the loss.
Oh, if you’re not watching the US Women’s Open, you should tune in, like, now. It appears that Paula Creamer is a lock for the win.
[Photo by AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall]
It wasn’t like this week was going to be a slam dunk for Paul Goydos. When he became just the fourth player in PGA Tour history to shoot a 59, Goydos only held a one-stroke lead over Steve Stricker after the first round of the John Deere Classic. But if it was any consolation, Goydos’ 59 also gave him a five-stroke edge in the tournament within the tournament — the race for a last-chance British Open berth.
Of all the thousands of rounds of golf I’ve played in excruciating heat, Friday wasn’t even that bad relatively — it was about 90 degrees and humid, but a nice breeze coming from the ocean. But on the day a remarkably kind Reader invites me to play THE National Golf Links of America, I come down with heat stroke, which combined with dehydration and exhaustion is just a disaster. I was mortified. Had it been almost any other course — notwithstanding Augusta National and maybe a few others — I would have called it quits after the 7th when I practically collapsed.
Sheesh, I step away from the computer for a few hours and something actually happens in the Quad Cities. Thank God I have so many vigilant friends that texted and/or emailed me with the breaking news. (LeBron who?) By now, you’ve all probably heard that Paul Goydos posted a mind-blowing 12-under 59 in the first round of the John Deere. But one thing most reports neglected to mention is that the “lift, clean and place” rule was in effect.