Jonathan Byrd Wanted to Go Home

IT WAS A 6-IRON from 196 yards, but he played it like it was 185. That was the shot Jonathan Byrd holed for the PGA Tour’s first walk-off ace. It came on the fourth hole of a sudden-death playoff against Martin Laird and Cameron Percy at the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospital for Children Open. It was Byrd’s fourth tour win, and the $756,000 winner’s check doubled his season’s earnings to put him in 52nd place on the money list. That is much, much safer than 117th, where Bryd started the week.

What did Byrd have to say about doing something no one has done in the history of the PGA Tour? How did he do it? It’s not like Byrd is a hole-in-one machine. He’s made just one ace in a tournament in his entire career. That’s only one more than me.

I checked the transcript of the post-round interview. There it was.

“The only thing in my mind is I kept thinking, ‘You know what, I want to keep playing,’” Byrd said.

Of course you did. You birdied three of the last four holes to get into the playoff. You haven’t won in three years. Was there anything else?

“I obviously want to win the golf tournament,” Byrd said, “but I haven’t seen my wife and my kids in two weeks and I’m going to miss the flight tonight and we’re going to be playing, so that doesn’t sound too good.”

OK. It was getting dark and you wanted to get off work and go home to see your family. What a way to punch the clock.

“It all worked out as good as it could have,” Bryd added.

I’ll say. There’s nothing like drawing an ace to win a Vegas jackpot.

−The Armchair Golfer

Photo of author
Neil Sagebiel

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