- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
The you-point-I'll-shoot tactic proved significant. Beck has a tendency to look ahead to the next hole, which sometimes interferes with his ability to concentrate on the shot at hand. At Sunrise, Beck's mind "had nowhere to run to"—Colbert's words—because he never knew what was coming up. "It probably helped me stay in the present tense," said Beck, delighted by the insight.
He also seemed to feel little pressure. With six holes left to play, Beck, who was nine under at the time, walked over to Tour official Glenn Tait and asked if the bonus was in effect. When informed that it was, Beck said, "I have a feeling I'm going to do it."
Geiberger, known these 14 years now as Mr. 59, had recently told some of his colleagues on the Senior tour that he thought his record was safe for a while. The $1 million ($500,000 goes to charity), coupled with the media attention, he said, would place such enormous pressure on a golfer that he would probably have to hole out from the 18th fairway to shoot a 59. Geiberger had put his finger on the obvious flaw in the "easy course" argument: A zillion tournament rounds had been played on golf courses, easy and hard, and until Friday, only Geiberger had broken 60. In essence, the biggest hazards were in the golfer's mind, not on the course.
For Beck, then, the 7th hole (his 16th) at Sunrise was a par-5 with a million dollars guarding the entrance to the green. The eighth was a 191-yard par-3 over historical precedent. And the final hole was a 443-yard par-4 lined with anxiety. Beck needed birdies on all three to shoot 59.
He birdied the par-5 with a driver, a 227-yard two-iron and two putts. Then he got lucky. His five-iron on the par-3 hit a greenside mound and kicked back toward the hole, leaving an eight-footer for birdie. He rolled it into the cup.
Finally, the 9th hole: Standing in the center of the fairway after a perfect drive, Beck had 157 yards to the pin. He chose an eight-iron. Swinging smoothly, as he had all day, Beck launched a shot that flew straight at the flag, landed two feet short of the hole and skipped four feet past it. "It was a perfect golf shot," said Sunrise's head pro, Joe Kelly.
Not until he reached the green, Beck claims, did thoughts of the money and his place in golf lore make him wobbly. He asked his partners to putt out, and then he went to the side of the green to practice his stroke. "The putt got a little longer as I waited," Beck said.
Indeed, the big-money putt almost slipped off to the right of the cup, but it curled in at the last instant, to the roar of the gallery. "Oh, baby!" said Beck, hugging Woosley, his seeing-eye caddie.
An easy course? Perhaps. An easy 59? Get real! None of the other 155 pros came within four shots of 59 at Sunrise. Gamez, the prophet, shot 70. Fuzzy Zoeller, a former Masters champ, shot 75 and said, "I can't believe Chip made 13 birdies and I couldn't make one!"
Believe it. Those Sunrise saplings will probably be full-grown trees before anyone shoots a lower score than Beck shot in Vegas.