Folklore has it that after Jimmy Durante completed his first round ever - he scored well into the 200s - he asked his companions, "What should I give the caddie?"
The answer: "Your clubs."
The night before the 1974 Spanish Open, Seve Ballesteros, then seventeen, said it was "impossible" for a pro to score double figures on a hole at even par. His first drive hooked out of bounds, his second shot, sliced out of bounds, his sixth shot found a lake and his eighth was in a bunker. On in nine, he putted in for 11.
In the third round of the 1921 British Open at St. Andrews, amateur Roger Wethered stepped on his ball while walking backward after studying his line on the 14th green. The one-stroke penalty cost him the championship, as he tied with Jock Hutchison and then lost the playoff.
Often gamesmanship can get out of hand. While playing with Jimmy Demaret at the San Andres Country Club in Buenos Aires, Sam Snead rolled a long putt right up to the cup that would have dropped had it not rebounded a foot backward. Upon closer inspection, Snead noticed someone had planted toothpicks around the cup.
Jackie Pung had the lowest score at the 1957 U.S. Women's Open at Winged Foot, but lost the championship. Her signed scorecard showed a five on the fourth hole instead of the correct six, although the final round total of 72 was correct. She was disqualified. Members, officials, and spectators later collected $3,000 for her as consolation.
Bill Garniss was playing the eighth hole at Bass River Golf Club, South Yarmouth, Massachusetts, when he hit a low 4-wood shot. The ball headed for a greenside bunker and stopped dead. Garniss found the ball impaled on the spike of the bunker rake.
The story is told at St. Andrews of a player who fluffed his approach shot at 18 into the Swilcan Burn. He picked up, dropped over his shoulder, and chipped into the burn again, picked up, dropped and chipped in a third time. He took his clubs from the caddie, threw them into the burn, threw his caddie in, and jumped in himself.
Roberto de Vicenzo inadvertently signed his score-card posting a par instead of a birdie on the 17th hole at the 1968 Masters. This technical error gave him a score one stroke higher than he actually shot and gave the green jacket to Bob Goalby.
Filling out his scorecard after a pro-am at Doral in 1970, Ray Floyd wrote his front-side total of 36 in the box reserved for the 9th hole. He signed the card, turned it in, and posted a round of 110.
In the 1968 French Open, British pro Brian Barnes missed a short putt for par and then tried to rake the ball back into the cup. His backhand missed. So did his next forehand. Livid, he began batting the ball back and forth, once straddling the line, incurring a two-stroke penalty. He holed out for a 15.
After Ben Crenshaw's ball lodged in a palm tree at Palm Springs in 1981, his caddie climbed onto a stepladder and shook the tree. About three dozen balls fell out. Crenshaws was not among them.
In early 1938, Ben Hogan, nearly penniless at the time, was playing an event in Oakland. The night before the final round, somebody stole the tires off his car. Hogan, in tears upon discovering the theft, declared, "l can't go another inch. I'm finished." Hogan shot a 69 the next day to finish second and earn $380 to keep him going.
Perhaps Wayne Grady needed his eyes checked, or maybe he wasn't paying attention. At the start of the 1987 season, the Australian was disqualified twice in five weeks for playing the wrong ball.
Harry Bradshaw led the 1949 British Open after the first day. In the second round, his drive at the fifth hole rolled into the broken shards of a discarded beer bottle. Unsure whether relief was available and wanting to avoid a delay, Bradshaw smashed the ball out, took a double bogey, and lost in a playoff to Bobby Locke two days later.
Dick Mayer used an interesting tactic in winning the 1957 U.S. Open, his only major. In the playoff against slow-playing Cary Middlecoff, Mayer brought a stool with him around the course and sat down while Middlecoff painstakingly prepared to hit his shots. Middlecoff shot 79 while Mayer shot 72.
In the final round of the 1889 British Open at Musselburgh, Andrew Kirkaldy's first putt on the 14th hole stopped one inch short of the cup. After making a one-handed stab that missed the ball altogether, he said, "If the hole were big enough, I'd bury myself in it." Kirkaldy lost in a playoff to Wllie park.
Awaiting the start of a qualifying round for the 1984 U.S. Open, Roger Maltbie rented a golf cart. Thinking the USGA had relaxed its normal ban against riding during events, Maltbie drove past an official on the first tee. By the time he drove past an official at the ninth hole, he had accrued twelve penalty shots.
At a tournament in Sweden, Steve Elkington, winner of the 1991 Players Championship, plucked a piece of grass to chew on and was penalized two strokes for touching the ground in a hazard.
A terrible traffic tie-up caused Seve Ballesteros to arrive late at the 1980 U.S. Open at Baltusrol Golf Club. Reaching the first tee moments after his playing companions hit their second shots onto the first green, the reigning British Open champion was disualified.
When world-traveler Greg Norman arrived in Spain for a tournament, he was greeted with a cool "adios" instead of a warmhearted "bien venido" and was promptly escorted to a plane bound for London. The problem? The Shark didn't have a visa. "l haven't been back to Spain since," he said.
In the 1971 Ryder Cup, Arnold Palmer hit a 5-iron to the par-three seventh green. An opponent's caddie, an American college student, gushed, "What a great shot, Mr. Palmer! What did you use?" Palmer told the caddie, and although the hole was halved with pars, officials later awarded it to the Americans due to illegaLy sought "advice" from the opposition.
Approaching the final two holes of the 1939 U.S. Open, Sam Snead knew two pars would equal the championship record of 281, a score he thought would clinch the victory. Snead bogeyed the 71st hole and thinking he needed a birdie on the finishing par five, gambled unnecessarily. The result: a disastrous eight. ln reality, a bogey would have given Snead his only U.S. Open title.
Tommy Armour achieved dubious fame during the 1927 Shawnee (Pennsylvania) Open when he hooked ten balls out of bounds on the 17th hole, eventually carding a 23 - the highest one-hole score by a pro in a PGA Tour event. Armour had won the U.S. Open a week earlier.
It looked as if Tommy Armour's highest one-hole score record would fall during the 1978 French Open at La Baule. French pro Philippe Porquier was 50 yards short of the green in two when he got a case of the "shanks" near a boundary fence. After depositing ball after ball out of bounds, he managed a 20 - the European record for highest one-hole score.