I find beauty in the shank. It’s a shot so bad that it inspires a mix of amusement and disbelief. And for good reason — it can happen at the most inexplicable times and for the most inexplicable reasons. There’s a technical explanation for how it happens — Peter Kostis could get out his swing vision deal and show us how it occurred. But the why and why now are the harder questions. It might be because the golfer just sucks. But the shank does not discriminate. It came for two golfers playing some of the very best golf on an ass-kicker of a day at the PGA Championship.
The first was Michael Block, the club pro who finds himself in the top 15 through two rounds. Block is a hell of a player, but this has to be some of best golf he’s ever played in his life. So naturally, in the middle of that stretch of some of his best golf, the absolute coldest of shanks came out of nowhere to check him over the boards. It came at the short, by Oak Hill standards, par-3 5th, and he was lucky it clipped a tree just off the tee box to stay in bounds.
The second came from arguably the best golfing talent of the last 15 years. Dustin Johnson, who won last week’s LIV event and was near the top of the leaderboard on Friday morning, came in some 30 minutes behind Block and fired off his own hosel rocket. This one came at the longer par-3 3rd, and DJ’s one-handed finish sent a ball closer to the adjacent hole rather than the one he was supposed to target. There is beauty in golf at its worst, especially when it’s unexpected. You yelp in horror and laugh at yourself. All hail the shank.