- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
SARASOTA — Sean Jacklin returned to Sarasota under the weather, a bit lighter in the wallet, and mentally and physically drained.
Playing in a U.S. Open can tax even the most experienced golfer, and the 30-year-old son of Tony Jacklin, making his first appearance in a major in his 11-year career, certainly wasn't the exception.
He arrived with his wife and daughter in Boston on Sunday, four days before he was scheduled to tee off. Jacklin wanted as much time as possible to acclimate himself to the surroundings and course, The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts, the oldest country club in the country.
He had sufficient time to attend a Boston Red Sox game at Fenway Park. There, Jacklin got his first look at the famed Green Monster. Days later, 18 little green monsters, each presenting their own form of treachery, would swallow whole the lifetime dream of the Manatee High School grad.
And to Jacklin, it happened at a dizzying speed. From 1-over to 7-over to 11-over to, finally, a two-round total of 18-over. See ya, thanks for playing, watch yourself leaving the parking lot.
"It was one of those things that happened fast," Jacklin said. "All of a sudden, I was done."
It was as if the greens at The Country Club, which Gil Hanse, the golf architect who led the course's restoration project in 2009 and who called them "the second-smallest set of greens for major championships aside from Pebble (Beach)," knew it would be feeding time.
"I knew it was going to be challenging," Jacklin said, who qualified as a final alternate. "And, to be honest, those greens were very severe. They were some of the smallest greens you will play. There's not like there's a clear way out of danger. And you could compound your errors as soon as you make one of them."
And many of Jacklin's errors came on or around those greens, which had the undulations of the Pacific Ocean at high tide. Read them incorrectly, and by the time your ball stopped rolling, 3-putting was a very real possibility.
After his 1-over on the front 9, Jacklin recorded bogeys on seven of his first 8 holes on the back 9. At that point, discouragement started creeping into his game.
"There is a level of desperation where you're in a mode where you've got to turn it around," Jacklin said, "and I need to do something special to turn it around. Bottom line, it was just that hard and I needed to make things happen. And when you need to make things happen, it's that much harder.
"People don't know how hard it is unless they know how hard it is. It's certainly just the toughest test there is. When you see the scores and they were high ... it was just that hard. It was a true U.S. Open course, and the USGA did a great job of presenting it."
Indeed, of the 156 golfers who started the tournament, just 64 finished. Among the 92 players who didn't make the cut were Phil Mickelson, Jim Furyk and Sergio Garcia.
After settling up his bill at Boston's The Colonnade Hotel — two rooms for a week, each room $600 a night — Jacklin headed for Cromwell, Connecticut, and one-day qualifying for the Travelers Championship.
Though he shot 1-under-par, Jacklin failed to make the cut and returned to Sarasota, his love of the only sport he's ever known enhanced by playing it on its highest stage.
"It was nothing but a positive experience," he said. "Now I just have to use that to push myself forward and give myself more of those opportunities."
He plans to play in next month's Florida Open, and emailed the director of the Barbasol Championship.
Sean Jacklin got just a sip of a major. He wants a few gulps of one.
"It's the reason those guys (golfers), when they get there, they stay there because they really freaking like it. That feeling there, there's nothing like it."
This article originally appeared on Sarasota Herald-Tribune: After getting a taste of the U.S. Open, Sean Jacklin wants a bigger bite