foozle vt foo-zled; foo-zling (1892): to manage or play awkwardly; a bungling golf stroke

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Putting At The Crosby

I caught a few minutes of the action at the AT&T National Pro-Am (aka The Crosby) yesterday and was impressed by the exchange I saw between professional Ricky Barnes and amateur Brandi Chastain at the home hole. Brandi had just hit a very solid fairway bunker shot to reach the green of the par-5 in regulation and was left with some 30-feet for her birdie. Her partner Ricky Barnes came over to help her read the putt and together they spent about 10 seconds conferring over it. Brandi then stepped up to the ball and gave it a rap and watched as it barely skirted by on the low side, leaving her a tap-in for her par (net birdie) and smiles all around. I found this impressive because, although some might of thought of Mr. Barnes' behavior towards his partner as being indifferent (or worse, chauvinistic), I saw it as a pro telling an amateur the general speed and direction of the putt and then leaving it up to her to make the play on her own. See, most amateurs likely don't hit putts exactly where they aim them in the first place, so why waste a bunch of time on details like "two balls out to the left, play it like it's six more feet in distance because it's uphill such-and-such degree, etc."? I imagine Ricky said "it's uphill, so give it a good hit. And it looks like it'll break in a little from the right at the end so aim just outside the hole on the right", or something like that. And then Brandi hit it, mentally uncluttered with images she likely didn't need in her head in the first place. And guess what? She almost made it. Good team work all around--I hope they're in contention come Sunday.

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