Scores and stories
Interesting angles are found by looking past the leaderboard
ONE of the more enjoyable things about covering the Sony Open in Hawaii is just wandering the grounds in search of a story.
Your mission today, should you accept it Mr. Arnett, is to follow some young gun who wears two gloves and meet famed Sports Illustrated writer John Garrity in a gallery of five on the same hole and story as you.
It's being allowed to spend the afternoon with one of your photographers shooting 40-somethings you've followed for years. There's Tom Lehman in a nice setting on the front nine that includes his mom and dad, who have been doing the exact same thing -- following their son -- since he played junior golf.
You get to hang with Vijay Singh and Jim Furyk -- past Sony and Hawaiian open winners paired the first two days -- and witness two of the game's best playing side by side. There's time spent chasing after somebody named Scott Sterling of Baton Rouge, La., because it appears his birdie putt late Friday would create a tie for 70th at 1 under.
Doesn't sound like much, but it would mean the new cut policy of the PGA would be moot this week because exactly 70 golfers landed on minus 1 or better. Turns out it's only a tie for 69th, so the controversy, fanned by John Daly, lives on.
"Not interested in talking to me now," Sterling said matter-of-factly.
When you're out on the course and away from the media room, you never know what situation you might come upon. While walking up the cart path that runs between the 10th and 18th holes on Friday, we noticed a large semicircle of people near a concession stand. At first, our photographer, Cindy Ellen Russell, thought it was a long beer line.
Not so. Instead, it was Brett Wetterich trying to figure where to drop his golf ball from the middle of the path. After a long discussion, he was allowed to place it on the cart path. He took a practice swing that hit the concrete -- hard. The vibrations moved the ball and it rolled slowly into the small culvert next to the path.
He stared at it and then the rules official, hoping that shot didn't count. It did. He marked it again and promptly hit a coconut palm square in the middle as the ball ricocheted into the fairway. He was lying five and eventually shot a 9 at the par-4 10th to go from being in contention to missing the cut.
THERE'S THE STORY told by GolfBrief.com contributor David Shedloski of John Huston, the man responsible for making this a par-70 course, and his travails. The former United Airlines Hawaiian Open winner missed playing this weekend by 6 inches. Seems on Thursday at the par-5 18th he missed a birdie putt of 14 feet.
Instead of taking his time with the 6-inch putt, he kind of poked at it and the ball lipped out after horse-shoeing the hole for a bogey. Huston, here on a sponsor's exemption, shot 140, one stroke shy of playing through to the weekend. That plane ride home was a long one.
You also get a chance to see Daly strolling by in a big peach-colored shirt at the par-4 5th. His drive is nestled in a grove of trees to the left of the hole. He eventually missed a 4-footer for par and you wonder if that will come back to haunt him later on. It does. Like Huston, he shoots 140 for two rounds and misses the party by a single stroke. The biggest loser? Sony Open fans.
This mission is a good one, you conclude by day's end. And the final round is yet to come.
Sports Editor Paul Arnett
has been covering sports for the Star-Bulletin since 1990. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org