Quirkiest Golf Failures

From the PGA and LPGA tours, and the ‘worst avid golfer’ contest.

June 19, 1985: Angelo Spagnolo, 31, a grocery store manager from Fayette City, Pennsylvania, scores a 66 on the 17th hole of the Tournament Players Club (Sawgrass) course during America’s Worst Avid Golfer contest. Spagnolo hits 27 balls into the water that surrounds the green before officials direct him to putt around the hazard and down the narrow path that leads to the putting surface. Spagnolo shoots 257 in his round to ‘win’ the event.

August 11, 2007: Sergio Garcia is disqualified from the 2007 PGA Championship at Southern Hills in Tulsa, Oklahoma, for signing an incorrect scorecard. Failing to check his card—filled out by playing partner Boo Weekley—Garcia signs for a 4 on the par-4 17th hole, when he in fact recorded a bogey.

April 11, 2002: Sam Snead, 89, opens the Masters by hitting the ceremonial tee shot, marking his 62nd straight Masters appearance. The shot travels 100 yards before hitting a spectator in the face.

July 18, 2008: Michelle Wie, 18, fails to sign her scorecard before leaving the scoring area following the second round of the LPGA’s State Farm Classic at the Panther Creek Country Club in Springfield, Illinois. Tour officials don’t learn of the rules breach until after Wie tees off the following day (Saturday), and don’t disqualify her until the end of the third round, at which point she is in second place, one shot behind the leader. Potential lost earnings? $255,000 for winning the tournament or $155,252 for second prize.

September 21, 2006: Mitsuhiro Tateyama sets a Japanese record by taking 19 on a par-3 hole during the Acom International at Tokyo’s Ishioka Golf Club. It’s the worst single-hole score for a professional since Norio Suzuki accidentally signed for a 42, his nine-hole total, at a Japanese tournament in 1987. The previous worst for one hole was 15.

August 5, 2001: Miles Byrne, caddie for Ian Woosnam, is fired after oversleeping and missing Woosnam’s tee time at the Scandinavian Masters in Sweden. Two weeks earlier, Byrne cost Woosnam a two-stroke penalty in the British Open after he failed to count the golfer’s clubs.

July 19, 2003: Mark Roe and Jesper Parnevik are both disqualified from the British Open after signing the wrong scorecards following the tournament’s third round. Roe looked forward to starting the fourth round in contention for the title, but by forgetting to exchange cards on the first tee both Roe and Parnevik recorded incorrect scores throughout the round. Later that same day, Robert Allenby and Phillip Price are nearly disqualified for the same reason, but Appleby notices the pair’s error in the scorer’s tent and the appropriate corrections are made.

September 27, 2008: During the third round of the Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, Anthony Kim, 23, strikes a spectator in the head with his tee shot on the ninth hole, a 600-hundred-yard par five. The impact leaves David Whitfield, 48, with a bleeding, crater-like indentation in his forehead. Kim autographs a golf ball for Whitfield (“sorry”) before the victim is whisked off to a local hospital, where he receives good news—a negative CT scan.