Two months ago, in the third round of the Quail Hollow Championship in Charlotte, veteran Paul Goydos was right in the mix and paired with equally chatty Phil Mickelson for the day.
Oh, to have been a fly on the wall for that one. Which, in a way, I was.
Figuring the twosome would be entertaining to hear, if not watch, I ambled out with the pair and was laughing my rear end off before the first hole was complete.
Goydos, an endearing, glass-is-half-empty, Eeyore-type, sad-sack kind of character who generates big laughs with his deadpan delivery, was bemoaning to Mickelson how poorly he had played in the first two rounds, but that he had made every putt in sight to move into weekend contention.
Better yet, Goydos had been paired the first two days with veteran Woody Austin, who hits it as straight as anybody on tour, but struggles to wrestle the ball into the hole on his best days. Woody, who can get a little testy, watched with increasing annoyance and agitation as Goydos drained putt after putt, though he was hitting the ball everywhere, while Woody was finding all the fairways and greens and making nothing out if it.
Fittingly, Goydos made about a 25-footer for par on the first hole, prompting Jim Mackay, Mickelson's caddie, to walk over and say something under his breath that the crowd didn’t quite hear. Everybody on the putting green itself broke out laughing.
"I told him, 'I think Woody just kicked his dog,'" Mackay said between holes that day.
Goydos loves to talk and crack wise. Heck, he practically seeks out an audience sometimes.
More times than I can count, he's been spotted on a laptop computer in the PGA Tour media center, checking scores, chatting up the scribes, offering opinions. As a co-chair of the Players Advisory Council, his opinion has some definite weight, too.
A couple of years ago, Goydos, a former high-school teacher in Long Beach, became a national story when he nearly won the Players Championship before losing to Sergio Garcia in a playoff. Earlier in his career, he had essentially taken a year off from the tour after his ex-wife, who had chemical dependency issues, died, and he had to take care of his teenage daughters -- never an easy proposition in Southern California under the best of circumstances.
"I'm a father first and a golfer second," he said that week.
Thursday at the John Deere, karma came back around as he became the fourth player to shoot 59 in a tour event, this time at TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Ill. He had 12 birdies to become the first player to card the score on a par-71 course, including birdies on eight of the last nine holes to match the all-time record for lowest score on tour.
At age 46, Goydos becomes the oldest player to shoot 59. The first, Al Geiberger, was 39, while Chip Beck was 35 and David Duval was 28.
Interesrtingly, Goydos has never finished better than 10th at the former Quad Cities stop since it moved to Deere Run. His lowest round, recorded on Sunday in 2002 and 2007, was a 66.
Can’t wait to see him again. Knowing Goydos, he'll probably mention how he missed a couple of makeable putts along the way.
Courtesy of the PGA Tour, here's a look at his birdie bombs from Thursday:
|Hole||Yardage||Par||Distance of putt|
|2||561 yards||5||5 feet, 9 inches|
|4||454 yards||4||17 feet, 6 inches|
|6||367 yards||4||18 feet, 2 inches|
|7||226 yards||3||12 feet, 4 inches|
|10||596 yards||5||5 feet, 7 inches|
|11||432 yards||4||39 feet, 4 inches|
|12||215 yards||3||19 feet, 7 inches|
|13||424 yards||4||24 feet, 7 inches|
|14||361 yards||4||5 feet, 8 inches|
|16||158 yards||3||13 feet, 9 inches|
|17||569 yards||5||11 feet|
|18||476 yards||4||7 feet, 3 inches|