BOB WEST: Andrew Landry’s respect factor is soaring in golf circles
Published 12:19 am Wednesday, January 22, 2020
Short of winning a major, or perhaps The Players Championship, Andrew Landry is going to be hard pressed to leave a more lasting impression in golf circles than with how he won the American Express Championship Sunday in La Quinta, California.
To have the guts to rebound the way he did, after a six-stroke lead slipped away over the span of three holes, will give Landry a lasting legacy as a PGA Tour player. No way the Pea Patch alum would have earned the same kind of respect if he’d easily closed out a one-sided victory.
PGA Tour history is littered with guys who blew leads late in the round, got labeled as chokers and struggled with the scars. Arnold Palmer wasn’t considered a choker, but he once spit up a seven-shot lead over the final nine holes of a U.S. Open.
In an 18-hole playoff the next day, Palmer led Billy Casper by two shots going to the back nine and wound up losing by four. Allowing that Open to get away in the manner he did haunted Palmer for years.
Once a golfer loses momentum, and things start going south, it is extremely difficult to regain poise and control. But that’s what Landry accomplished Sunday, and he did it by finishing birdie-birdie on a couple of treacherous holes that could easily swallow someone drowning in pressure.
The PN-G ex certainly earned the admiration of Golf Channel commentators, all former PGA players, during the postmortems.
“When you see a player going through that emotional roller coaster like Landry did, you know everything is going up and down in his mind,” said Bill Kratzert. “I can not imagine the negativity that may have crept into his mind after that lead evaporated.
“You must do everything to stay positive. That’s the most difficult thing for a player to do when you go off the grid. ‘How do I stay positive? I am going to kick this away. Everybody is going to say I’m choking.’ Believe me those things happen.
“He likes the course, but when you lose a six-shot lead you are thinking what the headlines are going to say – Choke by Landry. After missing all those cuts, the way he dug in to win this tournament was just amazing.”
Trevor Immelman, the 2008 Masters champion, used some advice he received from golf legend Gary Player as a 15-year-old to put Landry’s grit into a clear perspective.
“He said, ‘Trevor, if you want to be good at this game you better learn to love adversity.’ And that’s what Andrew Landry showed on the last two holes. What a bounce back there on 17, with all that pressure hitting to an island green, to stuff it the way he did. Then, what a finish on 18.
“I was just so impressed with how deep he dug. We were all watching in the green room, going, ‘oh, man, is he going to give this away.’ To go through what he did and get his second win will be very, very important to his career.”
Indeed, Landry’s career could be primed to go to the next level with the confidence he’ll take away from victory number two.
His putting is better than it’s ever been, he played well enough through 66 holes to lap a strong field, he showed the tenacity to overcome adversity and, in the end, his 26-under-par 262 narrowly missed the tournament record.
Fellow PN-G ex Chris Stroud, for one, says the best is yet to come.
“This is just the beginning,” said Stroud, whose six-under 210 missed the American Express cut. “I expect him to win many more times as his experience grows. You can expect to see his name at the top of leaderboards for years to come.”
You won’t see Landry on the leaderboard this week, as he’d long planned to skip the San Diego tour stop. He’ll return next week in Arizona with soaring confidence, newfound respect among peers and a nomination from me for induction into the Sports Legends wing of the Museum of the Gulf Coast.
Johnny Page from Vidor scored the first 2020 hole in one at Babe Zaharias. Page sank a 9 iron from 115 yards on the 15th hole on January 6 for what was his third ace. Witnesses were Mike Norse, Tim Turner and Tom Sterling…
In the Saturday Super Senior 2 ball at Zaharias, the team of James Shipley, Cap Hollier, Derrick Wolfe and Travis Wolfe won the front in minus 5. On the back, the foursome of Doug LeBlanc, Ed Holley, Jeff Rinehart and Randy Trahan placed first at minus 5…
Playing an all-points count format, the team of Kenny Robbins, John Jessen, Dwayne Benoit and Paul Brown won the Jan. 8 Zaharias DogFight with 29 points. Second with 24 points was the team of Hollier, Charles Leard, Tommy Duhon and Paul Duplantis.
Closest to the pin winners were Gary Fontenot (No. 2), Raymond Darbonne (No. 7) and Hollier (No. 12, No. 15).
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