Sweet Sixteen.

Here’s the clip of Kevin Na making a 16 at Valero Texas Open yesterday. It’s the highest single hole score on the PGA Tour since 1998. I believe John Daly once made an 18 at the 6th at Bay Hill, but I may be mixing memories. The video picks up when Na is deciding what to do with his first tee shot, which ended up a smidgen to the right. He goes back to the tee to play his unplayable and that is where things get interesting.

Shot 3–The club release on his 3rd shot is at least a 9.5 out of 10. It’s textbook. All the key elements are there. He let it go perfectly. He trusted it. He controlled the bounce, the gallery was never in danger and yet you still got the satisfying rattle of graphite. A lot of people think he might overcompensate left here, but I think that was the old, “double reversal.” He’s about to overcompensate left, but then adjusts for that compensation and jacks another way right–golf, ladies and gentlemen.

Shot 4–The caddy says it is 50/50 to get out of the woods. That’s not “great” caddying. When you are a mile into the woods and you can only take a 2-foot back swing? You probably aren’t getting out. Of course, you want to think you can get out, because you’ve already proven you can’t hit the tee shot.

Shot 5–Penalty for hitting yourself. Here’s something I have never managed to do on the golf course. But, I have a side anecdote. Back in the day, Jeff Maggert used to act like he was going to win the Masters every year. You think the prospect of Rory winning is terrifying, try to stomach Maggert in the last couple groups of every Major. He was a poor man’s Tom Lehman. Anyway, one year on the front nine at Augusta, Maggert ripped one off the lip of a bunker, it came back and hit him in the leg. It was jubilation at the 3-Putt household. Maggert, as would be expected, went on to implode from there.

Shot 6–Drop

Shot 7–The ball went basically nowhere, and now Na is screwed, because there is no place for him to drop. He’s lost his option to go back to the tee. I imagine at this point the other players in his group are asking, “Can he just take double-par and we can move on?” Incidentally, these are some of the quickest shots that Kevin Na has ever played.

Shot 8 thru 13–Na says, “How are we gonna count all the shots?” The caddy answers, “I have no idea. They have it on tape, we’ll have to count.” That’s more good caddying. This guy is obviously straight from the country club where he watches some guy 4 putt for quadruple and says, “Another bogey Mr. Havercamp?” The five slashes/whiffs whatever you want to call them that it took Na to get out of the woods–now everyone’s been there. I once played a hole in a similar fashion, and someone I was playing with said, “Is there a tree on this hole he hasn’t hit?”

Shot 14–After receiving perhaps the most pathetic golf clap I’ve ever heard for returning his ball to grassy terrain, Na plays his first actual shot since his 2nd tee ball. It ends up in the back fringe.  Pure balls.

Shot 15–Announcer, “I don’t really know what this putt is for.” Announcer 2, “I don’t even know what to say, he just didn’t think that through.”  Haha, you think?  We learn that announcing a sixteen is almost as uncomfortable as making a sixteen.

Shot 16–As Na comfortably taps in for 16, the announcer says, “This is roughly for 15.” And, he was in the ball park. After the round Na said he knew he made a 10, or 15, but wasn’t sure. I got stuck in a bunker once in a junior tournament and took an indiscriminate number of hacks at the ball before I finally popped it out. I think I ended up declaring a ten and we all moved on. All junior tournaments were back in those days were wasting time for 9-holes until you could cash in your hot dog ticket.

I have to say that Na shooting 3-under on the back nine immediately after this took place is one of the most remarkable things I’ve ever seen. It’s very hard to make a 16 with only 3 penalty shots, but to be able to bounce back and not go ahead and shoot 85, makes Na’s back nine one of the best 9s on Tour this year in my opinion. Even if he wasn’t totally flustered, most people would pack it in and at least shoot a couple over, but Na acted as if nothing happened and rifled off a quick thirty-three. I think what he had going for him was it was just a couple of bad driver swings. It wasn’t the shanks, or the yips, or anything. If he could keep himself out of the gosh darn brier patch, he was fine. I would have quit out of embarrassment.

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20 thoughts on “Sweet Sixteen.

  1. That has to win some sort of ESPY. Commentary from you was great as usual.

    Theme of the day: Asians making noise.

    Kevin Na with a 16 and Bruce Chen going 8 innings and not giving up an earned run to continue the losing streak.

  2. I have to say, I cannot wait to watch this video. Attracted minor attention here at the office by laughing out loud at your recollection of the Maggert anecdote.

  3. Oh wow – that makes me feel infinitely better about my golf “game” – How is that not OB? Do they not have OB on PGA courses? I understand there are rules and this is not ‘nam, but that seems a bit ridiculous. If that was OB, he would just have to keep firing tee shots until one was playable, right? I think you have to do that, even if after two or three you have to suck it up and bump a little safety six iron out there.

    Kevin “Samir” Na…Na…Na-t going to be making the cut

  4. That’s a great office space reference.

    There is surprisingly little OB on the PGA tour. I have a theory that the better the course, the less OB there is, but that is only a loose rule.
    That is the case, though, he would have had to keep firing until he got one in play.

  5. I like that the caddy says to him after the hole “if we had to do it again i’d say ‘go back to the tee, go back to the tee'”. Oh? You sure? You think that was the best option there? Isn’t his job to rein in Na and be like “psst, you aren’t getting out of here.”? You have to fire that guy out of sheer incompetency.

    At least Na had a sense of humor about it, that probably helped him save the back nine.

  6. I just want to say that Rory showed a lot of heart going out there and shooting 8 under in the first round of the Malaysian Open, possibly under lift-clean-and-place rules. A fine young man, he is.

  7. And they call the Malaysian Open the 5th Major…

    In Haiti.

    Yeah, he didn’t shoot that score because he’s good at golf, he shot it because that’s the mature thing to do.

  8. Good point on his back 9- I was equally impressed. Most guys would have walked off and taken a DQ. Shooting a 33 shows a lot of heart and character.
    Has anyone seen the clip of celtics’ Von wafer missing a dunk (but thinking he made it and celebrating) only to then bump into jermaine oneal, who got the rebound, causing him to travel? Pretty amazing clip

    • I didn’t believe you that Von Wafer was a real person until I googled it. It sounds like a character from a late 1980s Nintendo game.

  9. it’s 2:08pm, i have chewed 6 pieces of orbits gum over the course of 30 minutes, still drinking starbuck…dear blogger, i need a quiz. q

  10. Having now watched the video, agree with Haas, can we get a few white stakes out there? A little silly to be playing golf from in there. Great club drop on the tee. And, do you think Mike Weir feels bad about losing to a guy who took a 16 on a hole?

  11. yeah, that’s classic. I noticed that on my 2nd or 3rd viewing.

    I’m anti-OB. I mean, it essentially plays that way (Na just butchered it) and if there’s a chance for a recovery I like seeing those guys try shots.

  12. Also, not reflected in the video is how awful it feels to walk back to the tee, and how long it takes. I have to think that Na walked up to the second tee shot, it looked bad, but he just thought, eff it, I’ve already been on this hole for fifteen minutes and walked back to the tee once, I’m not walking back again. You can kind of see it in how quickly he is hitting his shots in there.

  13. Yeah, the caddy says something about having another ball on the tee, but I don’t know if you can hit a provisional in that spot. That’s where having OB would be nice. But here he’s got to go down there each time and check it out.

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