Unfortunately for Scott Stallings, the native of Worcester, Mass., probably had time, after blowing a five-stroke lead in Sunday’s final round of the Humana Challenge, to catch the end of an even more horrific choke job by his New England Patriots.
The Patriots entered the AFC Championship as runaway favorites to beat the Baltimore Ravens and advance to the Super Bowl and a chance at earn their fourth championship. Instead, Tom Brady, Bill Belichick, and the rest of Stallings’ revered footballers will have an earlier than expected opportunity to tune up their golf games ahead of next month’s Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.
It was a bad day for Boston fans, both on the links and the gridiron, what with Joe Flacco making like the Tom Brady of yore and Brady looking far from a world-beater after tossing one TD pass and two picks in a 28-13 loss to the Ravens that was not as close as the score would indicate. The few golf fans who may have clicked over from the electrifying finish of the 49ers-Falcons game and the kickoff of the Pats-Ravens contest to the entertaining, if not star-studded, golf tournament formerly known as the Bob Hope Classic witnessed Stallings’ painful collapse.
Stallings, a two-time winner on the PGA Tour, teed off on Sunday with a five-shot lead and then gave it away as easily as Brady let slip his chance to cement his stature as the best QB ever to play the game. After playing bogey-free golf for his first 60 holes, Stallings failed to can a two-foot par putt on the seventh hole and the fat lady began her warmups.
It was only fitting, on playoff Sunday, that the golf tourney vying, unsuccessfully, for airtime with the NFL, should require overtime, with Brian Gay winning on the second extra frame. But thanks to bogeys on two of his final three holes -- including on his 72nd, where he pulled his second shot on the par-5 18th into the water left of the green -- Stallings was not part of the proceedings.
Stallings, who resides in Knoxville, Tenn., was far more gracious in meeting the press after his disappointing finish than the leader of his favorite football 11 tends to be. The 27-year-old who now resides in Knoxville, Tenn., did, however, steal a line from Coach Hoodie, who ditched a post-game interview with CBS.
“I felt great. There wasn't any nerves or anything like that going into it. Just hit a bad shot,” Stallings told reporters. “But it is what it is.”
The good news for Stallings is that his golf season is just beginning. The bad news for the Brady Bunch -- so is theirs.