GOLF is one of those sports. We love it and hate it in equal measures – and it makes us all do some crazy things. We have all seen and done some strange stuff on the golf course, either at first hand or perpetrated by some of the world’s best players.
Here we take a look at some of the most bonkers scenes witnessed on courses around the world. I have also included a couple of tales involving people I know – I have changed their names to protect the “innocent”.
Stenson Gets Down to The Bare Essentials
Sweden’s Henrik Stenson is a character, a golfer who has always done things his own way. During the opening round of the 2009 WGC-Cadillac Championship, Stenson missed the fairway and found his ball in a muddy lie in the water. He could have taken a penalty drop, but that is not his way. Instead, he stripped down to his underpants to hit his second shot from mud on the third hole. Professional golfers removing their shoes and socks to play such a shot is pretty common, but taking off their shirt and their trousers? He said that he didn’t want to get his white trousers and yellow shirt covered in mud.
Daly Sinks Without a Trace
(Image Credit: Kevin Diss Photography)
John Daly has never done things the normal way. A chain smoker, he has had issues with alcohol and became addicted to chocolate. But it was his appearance at the 2011 Australian Open that earns Daly his entry here. Having picked up a huge appearance fee, he came to the 11th hole at the Lakes Golf Club, where he hit his tee shot into the water. And then another. And another. And another. In total, Daly struck six balls into the water and then turned to playing partner Craig Parry, shook his hand and walked off. “It’s fair to say that I don’t think we will see John Daly back at the Australian Open again,” said tournament director Trevor Herden.
The Club Hurler
I run a golf society. Let’s just say that the abilities of those who take part is pretty mixed. In truth, we do it for the social side, for the fun we all have in and around the clubhouse on a Sunday night. We play fourballs on the Sunday and singles on the Monday. One of our number (let’s call him Mark) readily admits that he hates golf. So there I am standing on the ninth tee at the Essex Golf and Country Club on the Monday morning. Mark is in the group ahead of us. We have watched him hack all over the course. Left. Right. Finding just about every single bunker on the front nine. We watch as he hits a golf ball into a pond on the left side of the ninth fairway. He stands transfixed for a few moments. And then we watch in disbelief as he picks up his trolley and hurls it into the pond. He then walks on. A few seconds later he stops, turns round and heads towards the pond. He removes his shoes, socks and trousers and wades in. He may hate golf. He may hate his golf clubs. But the realization has struck him that his bag contains his car keys, wallet and mobile phone!
The Tennis Correspondent
I have a close friend who worked as the tennis correspondent for a national newspaper. Let’s call him Barry. He was in Melbourne for two weeks to cover the Australian Open tennis tournament and had a bit of time on his hands. Now Barry would be the first to admit that he is not the best golfer in the world, but he enjoys the challenge. During his stay in Australia he received an invitation to play 18 holes at Royal Melbourne but explained that he didn’t have his clubs with him. No matter, they would sort out a set for him. So Barry turns up at Royal Melbourne, one of the most prestigious golf courses on the planet, and collects the golf clubs. Without warming up, he heads to the first tee, puts down a ball and then looks on in absolute horror as the ball comes off the toe of the driver and goes crashing through the front door of the nearby clubhouse!
Bubba Watson, The Crowd Conductor
There is no event in golf quite like the Ryder Cup. It affects different golfers in different ways, and it is an event in which the home gallery becomes totally involved, cheering and hollering when their players hit good shots, and doing exactly the same thing when the away team hit poor shots or miss short putts. The atmosphere is unique. Standing on the first tee during the 2012 match at Medinah, Bubba Watson started to conduct the crowd, encouraging them to cheer while he was hitting his opening drive. Two years later, he did exactly the same thing at Gleneagles!
Weekley Takes His Driver For a Ride
Boo Weekley would be the first to admit that he is a larger than life character. Hunting and fishing are his passion. He is a good ole country boy for whom golf was a means to an end. And he probably surprised even himself by qualifying for the US team at the 2008 Ryder Cup. And boy did he enjoy it. After hitting his opening drive during his singles match against Oliver Wilson, Weekley put his driver between his legs and galloped off down the fairway doing the Happy Gilmore bull dance. It provided the enduring image of a match that saw the Americans win the trophy.
Gribble Does The Unthinkable
There are many hazards on and around the world’s golf courses. Ponds, railway tracks, bunkers, knee-high rough. And alligators. Playing in the first round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational in 2017, Cody Gribble came upon an alligator sleeping beside the sixth fairway. Most people would have given it a wide berth. Not Gribble. He decided to approach it and smack its tail. Fortunately for Gribble, the alligator leapt into the water. “It’s probably frowned upon, but I wasn’t too worried about it at the time,” Gribble said. “Those guys, I mean, it’s like a jolt, it’s quick, they’re not going to catch you, they’re not going to catch you a couple of steps down. I mean, they’re going to get you really quick early, but it’s, I mean, I’m not in its way, I’m right behind him, it’s not going to happen. They’re quick, but they’re not that quick.”
Van de Velde Goes For a Paddle
The 1999 Open Championship at Carnoustie is remembered for Frenchman Jean Van de Velde’s final hole meltdown. Needing a six to lift the Claret Jug, he took seven and ended up losing in a playoff to Scotland’s Paul Lawrie, who had begun the day trailing by 10 shots. There were many crazy moments as Van de Velde played the 18th but none more so than after he had hit his golf ball into the Barry Burn. Instead of accepting his fate, Van de Velde removed his shoes and socks, rolled up his trousers and waddled into the burn. Legendary commentator Peter Alliss wondered if he had lost his mind.
DeChambeau Joins The Hackers
Bryson DeChambeau hits the ball further than any other tour professional, and is proud of the fact. But during the 2021 Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass he produced one of golf’s “did that really just happen” moments. Playing with Lee Westwood in the final round, he stood on the fourth tee with a fairway wood in his hand, took a mighty swing and looked on in disbelief as he hit a stone-cold top that traveled no more than 50 yards and ended up in a pond.
Augusta Gets Its Own Back
Sergio Garcia returned to Augusta in 2018 as the defending Masters champion. When he came to the par-five 15th hole during the opening round he was two over par. When he walked off the green he was 10 over! After hitting a 320-yard drive, leaving 200 yards, the Spaniard’s approach went into the water. As did his fourth. And six. And eighth. And, you guessed it, 10th. He actually had to hole a 10-foot putt for a mind-boggling 13. “I don’t know what to tell you,” Garcia said. “It’s one of those things. I feel like – I don’t know, it’s the first time in my career where I make a 13 without missing a shot. Simple as that. I felt like I hit a lot of good shots and unfortunately the ball just didn’t want to stop. I don’t know, you know, it’s one of those things. So it’s just unfortunate, but that’s what it is.”
10 Things That Make You Do a Double Take on the Golf Course
Be part of the action with a selection of unique golf tournament experiences, from playing in a pro-am with the stars to watching the action at golf’s most illustrious events. Whether it’s the Masters or The Open, The Ryder Cup or WM Phoenix Open, build your own bespoke package with the experts at Golfbreaks.com.