Stadium Stories: Be the right club

THE PLAYERS 2000: Hal Sutton

Given that more and more people than ever were consuming PGA TOUR competition in 2000, how thankful that technological advances were taking fans closer than ever to the action.

Consider the closing moments to THE PLAYERS Championship 2000 when Hal Sutton coached his ball toward the final green. “Be the right club,” Sutton said as his 6-iron shot from 179 yards tracked the flagstick. “Be the right club today.”

A special moment to a showcase event that dragged into an extra day because of heavy rain Sunday, though truthfully, fans probably wished it could have gone on a few more hours it was so good.

At 41, Sutton finished at 10-under 278 to become the fourth two-time winner of THE PLAYERS — and he did it a most unforgettable way, by going head to head and beating Tiger Woods (279), then very much his incomparable self.

Having won the week before and in 10 of his previous 16 tournaments, Woods cut into Sutton’s lead with a third-round 66. His lead whittled to one, Sutton did not flinch against the mighty Woods, nor anyone else in golf’s strongest field.

“I’m not going to roll over and play dead,” said Sutton, who built a four-stroke lead, then absorbed a one-two punch from Woods — birdie at 13, eagle at 16. True to his word, Sutton did not go down; he made par at 17 and 18 where he let the world listen to his commentary.

Memorable, Sutton’s words. Especially because there was such obedience. “Be the right club today,” indeed.

Have to love technology.

“Be the right club. Be the right club today.” - Hal Sutton