by Jeff Skinner
It’s the most painful scene in golf. It’s not a ball fading into a pond with a splash. It’s not Alex Miceli asking Tiger Woods a question in the media center. And it’s not John Daly’s hideous pants although that’s close. It is missing a gimmie putt.
We have all done it: walked up to a one foot putt and take an unfocused swipe at it only to have it lip out. Missing one like that under any circumstances is painful. Doing it with a major championship on the line is fatal.
I.K. Kim had played a wonderful final round of golf at The Kraft Nabisco Championship. No bogeys, four birdies including birds at 14, 16 and 17 penciled on her card and a one stroke lead going into eighteen. She played her approach safely into the green and needed a routine two putt par to finish at ten under par with only one group left behind her.
She made a perfect lag to one foot and all she needed to do was tap it in for her first career major championship. Maybe she was thinking of how she would leap into Poppie’s Pond but it was then that the pain started as her putt lipped out and she stood there motionless in disbelief. The miss left her tied with Yoo and Kim was obviously shaken by her miscue. A newly reborn Yoo took advantage of the circumstances and won the Kraft on the first playoff hole.
Kim bravely answered questions afterwards but the pain could be seen on her face and in her eyes. “Well, on 18 I was nervous the whole way, obviously on the Back 9, but I think I executed good shots, and I hit many good putts. And on 18, you know, I wanted to make the putt with the right speed, and I think I’ve done very well. But coming up to it I tried to take time, and you know, same routine.
But I played straight, and actually just broke to the right, even that short putt. So it was unfortunate on 18, but I’ve done a lot of ‑‑ I feel good about my game. It’s getting better. It’s progressing, and on the playoff hole, you know, it’s just hard to kind of focus what’s going on right now because I was still a little bit bummed what happened on 18, honestly.
I don’t know, you know, sometimes things happen, and it’s kind of, you know, tough because it’s Nabisco, and hopefully I’ll have better or more chances.”
It was painful to watch and Kim will feel this one for a long time. Suh Young Yoo won the Kraft and should have been the story of the year’s first major but it will be Kim’s painful lip out that is the lasting memory.