Caddies play a pivotal role in a player’s performance. The great Bobby Jones once said “If I needed advice from my caddie, he’d be hitting the shots and I’d be carrying the bag”. But yes, mistakes do happen and caddies are no exceptions to that. Such was the case in Ian Woosnam and his caddie Myles Byrne, our #2 on the list of the Costliest Rulings in Golf series. If you missed our other entry in this series click here.
It was a wonderful start for Ian Woosnam at the 2001 British Open – against all expectations he was in contention to win his first open at Royal Lytham & St. Anne’s. Tied for the lead with three others, he marched with a lot more confidence into his final 18. He started the round with a birdie (missed a hole-in-hole by a whisker) at the opening par 3.
The tale then had a sudden twist as something dramatic happened. His caddie, Myles Byrne, came up to him and said, “You’re going to go ballistic” – “We’ve got two drivers in the bag” as he pointed out the extra driver. That meant Woosnam was carrying 15 clubs, which indeed is a two-stroke penalty.
Woosnam responded by throwing the extra club to the ground in disappointment. ‘I give you one job to do and this is what happens,’ he said. As a result of the penalty, Woosnam finished with 71 – four shots behind the winner David Duval, tied for 3rd place.
Here is what rule of Golf (4-4) says,
The player must not start a stipulated round with more than fourteen clubs. He is limited to the clubs thus selected for that round, except that if he started with fewer than fourteen clubs, he may add any number, provided his total number does not exceed fourteen.
It costed Ian Woosnam 218,333 pounds and a potential Ryder Cup spot. On the other hand, caddie Byrne lost anywhere from 15 to 20 thousand pounds in caddy earnings.
Below is the final leaderboard of the 2001 Open:
Woosnam surprisingly decided not to fire him stating: “It is the biggest mistake he will make in his life. He won’t do it again. He’s a good caddie. I am not going to sack him. He’s a good lad.”
Ironically, Woosnam did fire his caddie two weeks later when, after a night drinking on the town, Byrne slept in and failed to turn up to tee-time.
Byrne was last seen lugging bricks, having become a construction worker on a building site in Bray, Ireland, according to writers who cover the European Tour. And Ian Woosnam never came close to the leaderboard again. They never spoke after the split but we hear Woosnam checks with Byrne’s brothers, Brian and Dermot, both European Tour caddies, about him.
Watch this below video (or click here) that captures the moments in disappointment of Ian Woosnam.
Watch this rare footage of Marilyn Monroe taking her golf lesson at a driving range in Canada during the filming of “The River of No Return in 1953″.
It looks like she might have picked up a bit of Joe’s baseball swing, but she does have excellent follow-through (and, of course, a stunning outfit too).
Golf ball diving is multi-million dollar business. To speak numbers, an estimated 518 millions of rounds of golf are played in the USA each year and on average, a golfer looses 4.5 balls per round .
Unfortunately, this industry is also very dangerous as they are physically demanding, as well filled with perils in the form of snakes, alligators and even sharp metals. We also hear stories of divers drowned by either human error or faulty equipment. According to news reports, at least four golf-ball divers have drowned in this country in the last four years alone while searching what they call as the “White Gold”. Watch this fascinating video (click here) to know about the world of golf ball diving.
Mistakes are a part of human beings. Professional golfers are no exceptions to it when it comes to playing by the rules. Some due to ignorance and some just out of oversight. Unfortunately the history of golf has seen several such instances – at times small mistakes costed some players even a tournament. That said, ignorance is not a bliss, at least in golf. Here is a new series from our Scratch Pad desk covering such instances – Costliest Rulings in Golf.
# 1. Roberto De Vicenzo:1968 Masters
Roberto De Vicenzo is the greatest golfer South America has ever produced with 230 tournaments and 8 PGA tours under his belt. But he is remembered not just for what he won, also for what he lost. Yes, you read that right! History always remembers the winners, 1968 masters tournament is an exception.
Roberto De Vicenzo was in mid 40s at the 1968 masters and had just won the British Open the same year. He was in complete control of his game at Augusta and shot a magnificent 65 in the final round to tie Bob Goalby for first place. But something dramatic happened then. Tommy Aaron, his playing partner and who kept De Vicenzo’s score, mistakenly put down a four for the 17th hole instead of a birdie three, which was De Vicenzo’s actual score. De Vicenzo didn’t catch the error and signed it. When he did that, he signed for a 66 instead of a 65, handing the 1968 Masters to Bob Goalby by default and settling with a second place.
Grief-stricken on his mistake, De Vicenzo then uttered what has become one of the most famous quotes in golf, “What a stupid I am!”.
Below is the final leaderboard of the 1968 masters,
Here is what rule of Golf (6-6d) says,
The competitor is responsible for the correctness of the score recorded for each hole on his score card. If he returns a score for any hole lower than actually taken, he is disqualified. If he returns a score for any hole higher than actually taken, the score as returned stands.
“For me, the Masters hasn’t ended,” De Vicenzo told Golf Digest in a 2006 interview. “Technically, the ending was legal. But there is something missing. The winner hasn’t yet emerged. It lacks an ending. Someday, maybe in another place, it will be decided” he adds.
De Vicenzo never won another major. Tommy Aaron went on to win the 1973 Masters, where, ironically, he caught a mistake on his scorecard made by his playing partner. Well, that’s a perfect example for learning from the past.
Things were going well in the Australian Open at the Royal Canberra Golf Club, the climate was beautiful, Lydia Ko (as usual) was at her best and suddenly there was an invasion of seven-foot tall kangaroos.
Karrie Web was on the ninth hole when the mob of kangaroos moved through the fairway. She had no option than to wait till the animals hopped their way across the course. I’m sure in the meantime she would’ve tried to recollect what Rule 18-1 says, though there doesn’t seem to be a section on marsupials.
Click here to see the video version of the incident.
Some world records are more unusual than the rest. Here is one such effort made by Mercedes together with ex-Formula 1 star David Coulthard and pro-golfer Jake Shepherd – the furthest golf tee shot caught in a moving car.
This stunning attempt involving 571-hp Mercedes SLS AMG Roadster took place at the Dunsfold Aerodrome in Surrey, England, the same place where Top Gear is filmed. After the failed initial try, Jake struck neatly and the ball clocked at up to 178 mph during its trajectory which enabled it to travel 275 meters (902 feet) before it landed into the open cabin of the perfectly steered Mercedes by Legendary Coulthard.
“The only way to track the ball was to keep your eyes on it all the time,” Coulthard said. “It’s a real adrenaline rush but it’s not the most comfortable thing to do because for a moment, you’re not watching the road!” he adds.
The amazing feat was witnessed and judged independently by a Guinness World Record adjudicator who later confirmed the unbelievable achievement by giving the title of farthest golf shot caught in a moving car.
Well, if you want to try this out yourself, you will have to shell out £168,425 (~$273,000) for this powerful machine, but do keep in mind, the speeding ball may well damage your car, or the worst case, your face!
We all know a golfer that never passes a water hazard without his or her trusty scoop at the ready. Spending half their time on the course fishing for balls, they last bought a new sleeve in the late 80s. That’s ok! Golf balls are expensive… and they are often lost. It is estimated that about 2.5 billion golf balls are lost every year in United States (the 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass alone counts 120,000 lost balls in a year). About 1.9 billion used golf balls are played on golf courses every year. We now have the perfect gift for these ‘golf ball fishing fanatics’.
Enter an invention conceived and built by three Sacramento engineers: The Golf Ball Wrangler. The Golf Ball Wrangler helps retrieve balls stuck in a water hazard easily and economically. It is basically a series of fiberglass mesh plates mounted on an axle. All you will have to do is toss the Wrangler in the water, pull it across the bottom of a pond, and balls are trapped between the plates. According to the makers a single pull will crab up to 25 balls – imagine your friend’s smile when they pull a dozen balls out of the water (and perhaps it will mean less time holding up play)
The Golf Ball Wrangler is currently available to U.S. customers only, for US$119.99 plus $49.99 shipping.
Below is the video showing Golf Ball Wrangler in action.
Another contender for shot of the year.
After Watson and Oosthuizen recorded final rounds of 68 and 69, respectively, the two golfers found themselves deadlocked at -10 for the weekend. On 2nd playoff hole against Louis Oosthuizen, Bubba found himself in the trees with no direct shot at the green. What does a 40 yard hook with a 52 degree wedge look like? The picture to the right shows the flight of his ball, to within 5 feet of the hole.
What did the shot look like live? Check out the video below. Amazing.
“The Swinger” by long-time golf reporters Alan Shipnuck and Michael Bamberger, tells the story of Herbert X “Tree” Tremont. Tremont was a golf prodigy who became the best golfer on the planet, a billionaire athlete recognized all over the world, and the center of a maelstrom when life came crashing down after his secret life of extreme infidelity and use of performance enhancing drugs was exposed. Sound a little too familiar?
Shipnuck and Bamberger don’t try to hide the fact that this “fictional” novel is thinly disguised as the Tiger Woods story we all know. But with their combined four decades of covering the PGA Tour, the authors provide a really great look at life behind the ropes of the PGA Tour – and definitely have a lot of fun with the story.
The first person narrative gives the book an easy flow and makes it easy you to put yourself in the shoes of the narrator. Just like the real Tiger story, after the scandal most fans seem to welcome “Tree” back with open arms and want to see him succeed. Tremont looks for redemption, has a renewed enjoyment of time the fans and his fellow players, and from the experience emerges as a much more humble and human person. I think most of us are still waiting and hoping for the real Tiger to perhaps take that cue.
Overall, “The Swinger” is a fun read, especially for anyone who is a fan of golf and the PGA Tour. It is a little bit like reading the book after you’ve already seen the movie, but the story keeps you on your toes with twists and turns as Tree’s life starts to fall apart all around him. It can be seen as a hopeful story for those that are waiting for Tiger to return to form, and emerge as the person many of us hope he can become.
Members of Carbrook Golf Club in Brisbane, Australia, now have even more reason to be cautious about the water hazard on the 14th hole. Believed to be the only Shark-Infested golf course in the world, it has now become a common sight for golfers playing the hole to view these man-eating Sharks swimming near the edges of the lake, just off the fairway.
The killers, some up to 10 feet long, are thought to have washed into the lake during a flood in the early 90s when the nearby Logan river burst its bank. Not all reactions have been negative – As club GM Scott Wagstaff said, “You can’t believe how close you are…just six feet away, “There’s no drama, it’s become a positive thing for the golf course. They are amazing. I’ve become a shark-lover since working here.” The club presently hosts a monthly tournament called the Shark Lake Challenge.