[April 3, 2012]–The shock of missing what appeared to be a gimme one-foot putt to win a major was all too evident on I.K. Kim’s face on Sunday. Had she sunk the putt on the 18th hole she would have won the Kraft Nabisco Championship and had the pleasure of the traditional leap into the pond at the Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage.
It was a cruel April Fool’s Day rim job, and while Kim quickly knocked the next putt in, she was clearly still so stunned that caddie John Limanti came over and gave her a quick hug. Didn’t we all want to give her a hug?
Kim made the playoff with Sun Young Yoo, but the fight was obviously out of her, and she lost on the first hole. Her post-round interview was a brave affair, since it was also obvious that she wanted to go bury her head in a pillow and wail.
Well, who hasn’t been there? The humiliation of failing at a perceptibly simple task has afflicted us all, hence the compassion for Kim. Amateurs don’t do it on such a public stage, but even collapsing in the throes of a $2 Nassau can leave scars.
I know, having just returned from a glorious week at Pinehurst, including play on the No. 2 course, complete with veteran caddie Eddie McKenzie (more of whom at a later date). I had chipped one close to the pin on one hole, and Eddie said, “Heck, Ray Charles could make that putt.”
Unfortunately, the putt wasn’t conceded, and I was standing over it instead of Ray. I blew it right by the cup, failed to win the hole and the match ultimately ended up all square.
As I say, hardly a major, and not for the big bucks. Still, in the grand scheme, I could have used a hug.