Thursday, September 1, 2011
Golf is Dumb, Nick Dougherty Edition
In 1998, Justin Rose was just a kid. Barely old enough to buy a pack of cigarettes, Rose was playing some incredible golf at the Open Championship, and concluded his impressive week as an amateur with a hole-out on the 72nd hole for birdie to jump all the way to fourth place. His was charismatic, talented and looked to be a solid pro at such a young age.
But something strange happens when you turn professional. Rose went pro shortly after his great play at Royal Birkdale and proceeded to miss 21 straight cuts. It was ugly, it was sad and it was really tough to watch. But we all know the history of Rose. The now 31-year-old Rose has two PGA Tour wins and four European Tour titles and has been a very solid player over his career. Sure, he hasn't really found that magic that he had at Birkdale when he actually took headlines away from the eventual champion Mark O'Meara, but he's been fine.
Cue fellow Englishman Nick Dougherty. The 29-year-old never had expectations like Rose, but people thought he'd be great. He has won three European Tour events, and finished tied for seven at the at the '07 U.S. Open. But since November, Dougherty hasn't made a cut. Not a single one. He's gone 21 straight tournaments without seeing the green-side of a Friday night, but golf is a ridiculously insane sport, so why wouldn't it be that Nick is now leading the first tournament he could see the weekend at in 2011?
That's the case. Dougherty shot a Thursday 63 to take a two-shot lead at the Omega European Masters, and while it is simply the first round, it's great stuff from a guy that seemed destined for doom this season. Will he make the cut come Friday evening? I sure hope so, because it would take a massive "Utopia" style meltdown not to happen, but for now we can just all smile at the fact that a guy that couldn't have found a fairway with a wedge is now on top at a big-time event. Keep it up, Dougherty.