It's a tough assignment, trying to take down Goliath when all you have in your hand is a tiny pebble and no slingshot. That's how veteran Steve Stricker, hampered by injury, had to feel trying to challenge long-bopping Dustin Johnson on the rolling, wide-open former pineapple field known as Kapalua Resort's Plantation Course.
When healthy last season, Stricker gave up roughly 25 yards in average driving distance to Johnson (285.4 to 310.2). On Tuesday, he gave up even more. Yet with guts and guile, Stricker hung in there as best that he could, sending a tremor through Johnson when he stood over a 25-footer on the 13th green with a chance to pull even with five holes to play.
"I really expected him to make it," Johnson said. "When Steve stands over a putt, you kind of always expect it to go in."
But Stricker missed, and Johnson would answer one hole later with a bold driver play at the 292-yard 14th hole and a deft little pitch-in for eagle he bumped in from 52 yards. Game, set, m...