Getting dirty at Doral
Henrik Stenson disrobes to play a first-round shot from the mud.
DORAL, Fla. - Henrik Stenson took 69 shots in the opening round of the CA Championship.
He was dressed for 68 of them.
Seeking any way to avoid getting his clothes caked with mud after a wayward tee shot on the par-4 third hole, Stenson came up with only one alternative.
So off came his shoes, his socks, his shirt and his slacks.
“Just the way God created me,” Stenson said.
Well, that isn’t entirely true, unless he was born wearing boxer shorts and a golf glove, along with having a wedge in his hands.
Stenson hacked the ball out of the muck, got dressed standing in the rough off the left side of the fairway, and wound up making perhaps the most entertaining bogey of his life. He ended the day four shots off the lead at Doral, but the only thing anyone wanted to talk with him about following the round was the Swede’s striptease.
“If you are saving a shot, that has to be worth taking your shirt and trousers,” Stenson said. “I’m sure I’ll hear a few comments and once the pictures get out, I’ll hear a few more, no doubt. I’ll probably take that to my grave with me. I don’t think I scared too many spectators off the course, hopefully.”
Probably not, but the story spread quickly.
By the time Stenson — who wasn’t carrying any rain gear, which would have provided a clothing alternative — reached the fifth tee, he heard fans chatting about what he’d done a few minutes earlier.
“Yeah, I don’t know if I would do that,” Phil Mickelson said.
Stenson said he had sound rationale for the decision.
Earlier this year in Dubai, Stenson waded into some mud to play a shot and wound up covering his shirt and pants with dirt. Not wanting to finish another round looking out of sorts, Stenson swallowed his pride and disrobed.
“For the love of the game,” Stenson said, “and for the fans.”
Coming into the CA Championship, Sean O’Hair had one eagle in his past 256 holes.
He started Thursday with two in his first two holes.
“It was a nice way to start, and that was about it,” O’Hair said. “There were a lot of tough holes. I had 16 holes to play and if you start thinking about what can be, that’s when you’re going to make bogeys and make mistakes. So I just stayed in the moment.”
He made three birdies and two bogeys the rest of the way.
An eagle-eagle start is rare, but not unprecedented: Chris Tidland was the last player on the PGA Tour to open with two eagles, which he did at the 2007 Ginn sur Mer Classic.
Tidland missed the cut at Tesoro Club that week.
And for as impressive as eagle-eagle is, it’s actually been topped before.
At the 2004 Women’s British Open, Karen Stupples opened the final round with an eagle, then followed that with a double-eagle on her way to victory.
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