Nick Dougherty is during slightest spared a doubt of “Whatever happened to?” His inflection as an glorious radio researcher means he stays partial of golf’s consciousness.
There was a spell when Dougherty was in a limelight for opposite reasons. He was a interviewee rather than a interviewer. That time will strike a 34-year-old with full force when he arrives during Oakmont Country Club for this week’s US Open.
In 2007 Dougherty took to Oakmont when in a form of his life. He fit that not usually with a first-round 68 yet by holing a 15ft putt on a 72nd immature for a shutting share of seventh, that was sufficient to acquire a Englishman a Masters entrance a following year.
“That week was groundbreaking for me in a few ways,” Dougherty says. “You know that if we are not going in there with your diversion intact, we are creation adult a numbers. You can’t censor during a US Open.
“I had listened all a stories about Oakmont, suspicion ‘Yeah, yeah’ afterwards played use rounds and it was unbelievably difficult. If we had been gripping score, it would have been in a 80s. we suspicion ‘Oh my God, this is terrifying.’ Even yet we was personification well, my expectations totally forsaken since we didn’t even know what a good measure was around that course.
“It was all about expectation. If we was personification good in practice, it tended not to be a good pointer since we started meditative ‘I can win this.’ That would crash around my conduct for a whole week. we would make mistakes since of pulling too hard. Instead, there we suspicion usually about unresolved on for dear life and saying what happened.”
At a time Dougherty branded Oakmont “barbaric”. Not that he was complaining. “I adore golf on a edge. Not all a time yet 4 times a year we could hoop it. You were a tiny blunder divided from comprehensive disaster and we favourite that.”
Expectation played a partial in Dougherty’s second-round 77. Disappointment was shortly equivalent by fairytale; Dougherty was to partner Tiger Woods in turn three. “People ask about my best day in golf. It wasn’t any of a wins,” he says. “That was my best day in golf; personification with Tiger Woods, third turn of US Open. People win, someone wins each week, since personification with a bit of story … That was improved than heading a US Open.
“He strike 13/14 fairways. He strike 17/18 greens. It was design perfect; vanishing it to right flags, sketch it to left flags. The American coverage that night was vocalization about one of a biggest ever vital championship rounds. He usually shot one underneath that day since he missed everything. He didn’t putt badly yet kept extending a hole. He could have shot 64. Tiger Woods is a luminary to me on a course. That’s since we don’t utterly like examination what has happened to his golf.”
Dougherty was so emptied by his third-round knowledge he fell defunct during a cooking table. He had finished double bogey, spook for a 74. “I was still super unapproachable of what we had finished yet if we had finished par, standard we would have had a good chance.”
Dougherty’s successive trail was a comfortless one. He sealed 2007 inside a tip 50 in a world. The enchanting impulse of putting out on a final immature on Masters Sunday in Apr 2008 was even some-more special for Dougherty, with his family, including his mother, Ennis, in transparent sight. Ennis was to die, during a age of 61, carrying suffered a heart conflict a following week.
In a midst of an romantic tailspin, Dougherty put his heart and essence into subordinate for a 2008 Ryder Cup. He came within a behind 9 of doing that yet now admits a “obsession” formed on somehow offsetting his mother’s genocide was a “stupid” one. Things changed; even when he won a BMW International Open of 2009, Dougherty did not representation standard levels of satisfaction. “I was vale that night, indeed utterly deflated,” he says. “I was super unapproachable of a feat yet empty.”
That noted Dougherty’s final top-10 finish, astonishingly for someone of his talent. While pang “paralysis by analysis” Dougherty sought discernment from roughly each tip manager in golf yet his diversion collapsed. Advice and support was frequently stirring – from Nick Faldo, Darren Clarke and Miguel Ángel Jiménez – on a elementary basement that Dougherty is immensely popular. Golf’s common willed him on.
Yet, there was no thespian upturn. So certainly such a tighten examination brief of a limit of golf triggers jealousy? “Remembering what we used to be means to do creates me consider those things,” he says. “But afterwards we remember, golf isn’t like that for me any more. It is tough to get around in my mind. The final 5 years have been flattering scarring in what we have watched, we have had some terrible experiences; regulating out of balls in Africa and being beholden during not carrying to pointer for some-more than 90. Imagine being beholden for regulating out of balls since it saved embarrassment?
“I have done assent with it. When we was in it, it brought me to tears. we don’t doubt people will consider ‘Get a grip, mate, we play golf for a living.’ True, loyal yet when we are in it, there is no escape. It was my vital and we had worked so hard.
“I haven’t close a doorway on personification golf. If we get to a finish of a year and usually feel like I’m regulating adult someone’s spot, we consider afterwards we might make a decision. we will always play yet it is either or not we can compete. It is a uncanny time for me.”
Dougherty attempted to validate for Oakmont. “It was always going to be really tough for me to get there yet if there was one some-more vital we was going to play … ” Television work it is, then. “I am vehement to go behind since it will remind me what we used to play golf like. we consider we was utterly good yet that has been tough to remember sometimes.”
If this week offers others a possibility to remember Dougherty’s promise, a US Open will be all a improved for it. If it provides required inducement for a comeback, Dougherty will not be lacking in plaudits.