Sam Bennett. NBC
During his impressive run in the US Amateur at Ridgewood Country Club last August, Sam Bennett’s play was overshadowed by what was happening before, and after, he struck his shots. For every saucy club twirl, there was a lengthy pre-shot routine that preceded it, the type that turns you from hero into villain on Golf Twitter in record time.
Luckily for Bennett, at the time, his excessive re-gripping and deliberate pre-shot process went undetected by the masses. That’s no longer the case now, as Bennett contended at the Masters in April and briefly this week in the US Open at LACC, the two tournaments with arguably the most eyeballs on them all year.
On Sunday, NBC zeroed in on Bennett for his approach shot at the short par-4 third, where the Texas A&M product had 85 yards left to the hole. For a player of his caliber, a relatively straightforward shot, though you wouldn’t know that by the amount of times he re-gripped his club before taking the club back (it was 10. he did it 10 times):
This is a sick man pic.twitter.com/UdSQv3SuPr
— Dylan (@dylblo) June 18, 2023
Shades of Sergio Garcia in the 2002 US Open at Bethpage Black. Good news for Bennett is, there are no Long Island dads out at LACC heckling him.
In defence of Bennett, he’s been open about his struggles with anxiety on the golf course, saying: “It’s pretty bad. Having anxiety and then getting over a golf ball with all these thoughts in your head, put me in that moment at the US Am with the whole golf world watching, I mean, what can you expect?”
Now just imagine how he must have felt in the hunt at Augusta National, or on Saturday at LACC, when he began the day just five off the lead and wound up shooting a 79.
By the way, Bennett lipped this one out for eagle.
Sam Bennett nearly holed out for eagle on 3. #USOpen
— Golf Channel (@GolfChannel) June 18, 2023