Disappointment for Richard Sterneon December 6, 2009
There’s a lot to be said for any player who is happy to discuss his woes after a particularly disappointing day, but for Richard Sterne the week of the 29th Nedbank Golf Challenge is one he would rather forget. He was still prepared to chat after his final round of 75, which meant that he finished in 11th place after Rory McIlroy had withdrawn prior to the third round.
That the diminutive Sterne is a superstar in the making has never been disputed; ever since the former SA Amateur champion turned professional, he has not only proven that he belongs in the ‘Big League’ but that he can dominate at the highest level. But when it came to his biggest moment on the South African stage, he found himself in something of a quandary, because the normally technically near-perfect swing seemed to desert him.
“It is very frustrating,” said Sterne, “For a long time now my swing just hasn’t felt comfortable – it feels as though it is all about my hands … I am not getting my chest through…whatever, it is something small,” he said with a shake of his head. “Also my putting was really bad – I holed nothing. Especially on a course like this, it is very difficult to stand up and not know where the ball is going. I really felt as though I could shoot 80 every round.”
Sterne found himself playing without a playing partner for the third round after McIlroy’s withdrawal, and playing with a marker ahead of the field didn’t help his cause. “Obviously playing on your own doesn’t help, but that is no excuse,” he said, after again completing his round with a marker walking with him. The wayward 9-iron on the 17th hole, the result of mud on his ball, was the last thing he needed, and after making a double bogey on the hole, he also bogeyed the final hole. Perhaps the only highpoint was that his frustration lasted less than three hours, and he was left to ponder what might have been.
“It’s not like I want to stop playing or anything, but I know what I can do…I mean I hit four shots into the bush this week – with a 3-wood” he said incredulously but rather wistfully. His fans and his peers on Tour also know what he can do, and once he manages to eliminate whatever gremlins have been plaguing his swing, he will be back; with a vengeance.