Owen eager to get back in action after £230,000 blunder
Wednesday 22 March 2006
Getting straight back on the bike is always more difficult than it sounds and for Greg Owen the challenge here at Sawgrass this week must seem akin to leaping on a Harley Davidson, in flip-flops, minus a helmet and with John Daly riding pillion.
How gallant of this Mansfield lad, therefore, to be standing at The Players Championship, not 48 hours after a three-putt from three feet had cost him a win that would have changed his life immeasurably, and to be able to say: "Just get me back on the course".
But then he had a golf bag full of perspective with him. "I have just have been asking the players to sign this bag for the Danielle Beccan Trust," he said referring to the 14-year-old killed 18 months ago in a drive-by shooting in his home county of Nottinghamshire. "There's a lot worse things happen in this world than someone blowing a golf tournament."
On Sunday it did not feel like it. A few hours after he had done a "Van De Velde" at the Bay Hill Invitational, when yanking a short one on the penultimate green that would have taken him two up and the resulting 18-incher, Owen tried to sleep. "I got two hours," he said. "I went for a walk and was washing my car at 5.30am to take my mind off it."
So what happened in that mad split second when he all but handed the trophy to the Australian Rod Pampling? "I went blank," he said. "Every golfer does it; you lean over and tap it in without thinking. What hurts is that I may miss The Masters now. It cost me $400,000 [£230,000] but it's not the money. I blew a great chance. But if you told me two years ago that I would be disappointed with second, winning $600,000 and rising to 53 in the world ... I wouldn't have believed you."
In 2004, the then 190th-ranked golfer, had an operation for a burst disc trapping a nerve in his back. His career was not the worry - walking was. "I lost the feeling in my left foot," he said. "And when I flew out to Spain for therapy, I was in such agony I had to kneel on the floor facing the seat."
His progress since has been spectacular, and a top 20 finish here would give him a first start at Augusta. "That'll take my mind off that putt," Owen said. Saves washing the car again.
Latest in Sport
Mario Balotelli to Liverpool: Best memes as Twitter reacts to imminent £16m transfer
Manchester United transfer news: Louis van Gaal joins Arsenal and Chelsea in the race for Sami Khedira
Sami Khedira to Arsenal? Arsene Wenger reveals Gunners are still in the market for defensive midfielder
Mario Balotelli to Liverpool: Risky business to think Balotelli can replace Luis Suarez
Malky Mackay texts: Harry Redknapp defends former Cardiff City manger - 'he hasn't raped anyone and he is not a paedophile'
- 1 Jeremy Clarkson 'sees no problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC
- 2 'Alien thigh bone' on Mars: Excitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
- 3 Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
- 4 London restaurant 34 creates champagne glass modelled on Kate Moss’ left breast
- 5 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
Disgusting, frustrating, but intriguing: how the country really feels about its politicians
Bin bag full of cats' heads discovered near Manchester's Curry Mile