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Players Championship leading lowlight: R.H. Lee's whiff-itis on the 17th

Richard H Lee
Richard H Lee Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Most tragic meltdowns at the 17th hole at the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass involve deep-sixed golf balls that tarnish scorecards and stir the wrath of the triple-headed Bogey man. Sitting at 2-under heading into the tee-box on final round of the Players Championship this past Sunday Lee managed to avoid the most common disaster courting folly by landing his ball on the notorious island green.

But then the dastardly hole found a brand new way to spell imminent doom. With his ball lying in the thicker cut of grass of the fringe and a simple wedge shot at hand Lee practically whiffed his chip attempt with the ball barely moving a centimeter.

After swallowing hard at his misfortune and regaining his bearings he decided to switch to a putter, probably figuring at least that way he couldn’t possibly make the same mistake twice. His ill advised club change tactic (going wedge to putter when you can’t get the ball up in the air rarely turns out well) was all for naught, his flatstick’s power was paralyzed by the thick grass and the result was his sphere budging by a mere fraction of a rotation. Watching a PGA pro make the kind of foible that everyday hackers do on a daily basis makes you appreciate how tough the game can be.

The agonizing bout of misfire yips would mercifully end in a double bogey and Lee would finish the Players championship tied for 65th. At least he has a self-deprecating sense of humor and could laugh off the embarrassing turn of events afterwards. This morning he tweeted “Well my 7 year old daughter says. "Dad I think I would have done better on 17!" " I can at least move the ball" along with the hash-tag #sheisright.

Incidentilly the most abysmal showing on the 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass in Players Championship history came in 2005 when Bob Tway sank a quartet of ball in the drink before finally reaching the green and then 3-putting for a 12.