Eddie Pepperell, one of our favorite golfers to follow on social media, shared his thoughts Monday on his incredible putt on the iconic No. 17 at TPC Sawgrass.
“It’s hard to describe what standing on the 17th tee at Sawgrass feels like during a practice round, let alone while being in contention to win an event,” Pepperell wrote on his blog. “I had a brief look around walking onto the tee at all the people surrounding the hole, though, I’m far more comfortable looking at the ground when people are cheering me on, so I didn’t take in too much. I generally feel too inadequate to lap up the adulation.
“At 140 yards to the pin, it’s a pretty nice number for a 9 iron, as the wind was into and from the right. It’s luckily one of those shots where you can’t bail out, which is the reason I could see a career on that hole which includes many birdies, because you’re choices are limited. There’s really not much room for fear.”
And after hitting his 9 iron to 50 feet, Pepperell said to his caddie Mick Doran and Gareth Lord, who caddies for Justin Rose, “at least it’s (expletive) dry.”
‘Felt strange being center of attention’
“Weirdly, I didn’t think the putt I had was too difficult. The two breaks in the putt were blindingly obvious. I also knew it wasn’t as fast as I remember seeing historically as I’d practiced a similar putt during the practice round. It was a case of reading the last half of the putt first, then picking the apex point, and then fully trusting your feel.
“Golf under pressure is often simply just trusting your feels. And breathing. Exhale fully. The crowds chanting “EDDIE, EDDIE, EDDIE” after I holed the putt reminded me of a time when I was at school, oh, no it didn’t. It felt strange being the center of attention on such a massive stage.”
Being the center of attention is clearly something Pepperell, who admitted to being “a little hung over” after shooting a final-round 67 at last year’s British Open, should grow more accustomed to after his latest success on the big stage following two breakthrough wins last year on the European Tour. His final-round 66 got him a T-3 at The Players and a check for $725,000, which will buy a whole lot of wine.
‘All I’m here to do is pick up money’
“I could have shot 73, 74 quite easily today and left with not a very nice taste in my mouth, but whatever I finish it’s going to be — well, frankly all I’m here to do is pick up money because I’m not a member. Money and World Ranking points, but I don’t care about World Ranking points,” he said after his round.
“I like to win money so I can pay for some wine. That’s probably the biggest positive, in a crude way. But yeah, it is what it is, and great first experience at this place because I obviously hope I’ll be back here, and to have some really nice memories of what’s happened today, obviously coming back will be nice.”