You think that snowman that just went on your scorecard looks bad?
There have been far worse scores posted – even from the professionals on the PGA Tour.
This list takes a closer look at the highest numbers ever posted in official events. Some of the names may surprise you, some may be golfers you’ve never heard of and some of these are likely to make you say, “Oh, yeah. I remember that.”
This list is based on data from the PGA Tour. Without further adieu, these are the 20 highest single-hole scores in history and names of the pros who own them.
T-8. Charlie Wi
Tournament: 2012 Transitions Championship, Innisbrook GC (Copperhead).
Charlie Wi one-upped Sergio Garcia’s 12 at the previous tournament (Doral) back in 2012, in what turned out to be an arduous journey through the forest – better known as the treeline on the par-5 fifth. Wi hit into those trees, hit off those trees, and repeated the process, on his way to making this list.
T-8. John Daly
Tournament: 2011 John Deere Classic, TPC Deere Run,
And yet another appearance on this list for Daly. The PGA Tour’s Shot Tracker on his fourth-hole doesn’t do this escapade justice. Daly, who makes appearance No. 3 on this list, did not fare well from tee box to green. His drive sailed way right, into some thick rough from which he had to take multiple whacks just to get it to a decent, playable lie. After knocking into a green-side bunker, he was able to sink a long putt to end the fun.
T-8. Ben Crenshaw
Tournament: 1994 Bob Hope Chrysler Classic, PGA West (Palmer).
Sometimes, even the greatest of golfers can have a really, really bad hole. Ben Crenshaw’s came during the 1994 Bob Hope Chrysler Classic. The Hall of Famer had a few issues with the dogleg left par-5 18th. Although his drive found the fairway, the next several shots went swimming. After three consecutive shots landing in the water, Crenshaw made it in the hole.
T-7. David Duval
Tournament: 2019 British Open, Royal Portrush.
Much like Billy Casper, golf welcomed Duval’s lifetime entry into the British Open with nightmarish arms. The 2001 Open champ got to the par-5 seventh in pretty good shape. But the hole quickly turned into an assortment of errant tee shots, playing the wrong ball, and yes, a miscalculated score: It was originally marked a 13, but Duval found later it was even worse.
T-7. D. Murdoch
Tournament: 1925 British Open, Prestwick.
There isn’t a ton of information or even 19th hole chitchat surrounding D. Murdoch’s disastrous first hole during the 1925 Open at Prestwick. His name comes up now whenever another golfer puts up a crooked number, and that’s about it. His 14 is tied for the second-highest score ever at the British Open.
T-7. Ron Letellier
Tournament: 1964 Greater New Orleans Open, Lakewood CC.
Before the tournament moved and the naming rights changed (now the Zurich Classic of New Orleans), the site of the Greater New Orleans Open was at Lakewood CC – and apparently, the course didn’t need any wildlife to be considered dangerous. It only took three years into the course’s existence for it to become forever high-scoring famous. Ron Letellier, whose career was cut short by cancer, teed it up on the lengthy par-4 16th back in 1964, and that was the end of things going well.
T-7. Ed Dougherty
Tournament: 1990 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, Cypress Point GC.
Whether Bing Crosby is hosting the event or not, the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am has been a scoring-average monster throughout history. Ed Dougherty’s woeful experience in the tournament is an interesting one, too. Unlike others, he didn’t really have an issue reaching the green. He was on in three at the par-4 17th. But the 40-plus mph winds made putting nearly impossible, and Daugherty needed 11 of them. Yes, 11 putts.
T-7. John Daly
Tournament: 2000 U.S. Open, Pebble Beach GL.
John Daly makes his second appearance on this list, this time from the legendary par-5 18th at Pebble Beach. Daly’s first-round finisher was one to forget, an all-over-the-place journey that included three shots into the Pacific Ocean and one in someone’s backyard. Big John finally knocked in his putt – and then withdrew from the tournament.
T-7. Billy Casper
Golf can be cruel. Billy Casper (pictured, red sweater) won the Masters in 1970, which allowed him a lifetime entry into the tournament. Years later, in 2005, Casper teed it up on the fabled par-3 16th hole, and what followed was a nightmare that would go down in the history books as the highest single-hole score ever at the Masters. Five shots in the water were only the start of his infamy.
T-6. Herman Tissies
Tournament: 1950 British Open, Old Course at Royal Troon.
The eighth hole at Royal Troon – known as the “Postage Stamp” because of the tiny green – has long been considered one of the tougher major championship par 3s, a surprising declaration at only 123 yards. Names like Woods, Norman, and Hagen have all faced this tiny test and lost, but no one knows the sand-bunkered headaches that the eighth provides better than German amateur Herman Tissies. It took him five shots just to get out of the bunkers during the 1950 Open.
T-6. Bill Collins
Tournament: 1958 Denver Open, Wellshire GC.
In his first year as a pro, Bill Collins made a name for himself, but it was not exactly how a golfer would want to be etched in history. Collins’ misadventures on the par-4 17th at Wellshire GC in 1958 finally ended with the eventual four-time PGA Tour winner carding something much higher than par.
T-5. Ed Oliver
Tournament: 1954 Bing Crosby Pro-Am, Cypress Point CC.
The Bing Crosby Pro-Am – and the treacherous No. 16 – strikes again! Ed “Porky” Oliver (pictured, far right), who won the tournament back in 1940, stepped up to the tee box on the par-3 16th facing reported 50-mile wind gusts. Mother nature proved to be too much for Oliver.
T-5. Gary McCord
Tournament: 1986 Federal Express St. Jude Classic, Colonial CC (South).
The longtime golf announcer had his own “Tin Cup” moment – but with a twist. During the 1986 St. Jude Classic, McCord knocked five consecutive approach shots into the water, and then – finally – he realized a 4-iron was not the club he wanted to hit. His 3-iron did the trick, and he finished the hole draining a tough 25-footer.
T-5. Kevin Na
Tournament: 2011 Valero Texas Open, TPC San Antonio.
Technology highlights this particular point in golfing lore: Kevin Na’s woes on the par-4 ninth at TPC San Antonio were not only televised, but he was also mic’d for that round. His tee shot landed in the woods, and from there, it was one folly after another – including a whiff and even a left-handed attempt. When he sunk his one (and only) putt, Na ended his misery. The next year, he would go back to the area off the fairway armed with a chainsaw to do some light housekeeping.
4. George Bayer
Tournament: 1957 Kentucky Derby Open, Seneca GC.
George Bayer is an interesting tale. The big man from Bremerton, Washington, was a football star at the University of Washington and was drafted by the Washington Redskins. After his football career ended, he took up golf. At age 29. He had some success, but it was the 1957 Kentucky Derby Open that landed him in the “What?!” section of golf history. The original ‘Tin Cup’ display, Bayer, allegedly upset with his play, chipped the ball up the 17th with a 7-iron. He later was fined by the PGA Tour.
3. John Daly
Tournament: 1998 Bay Hill Invitational, Bay Hill Club.
It’s almost expected that John Daly – the pioneer of “Grip it and Rip it” – would be on this list (more than once). Daly’s adventures on the par-5 sixth hole at Bay Hill in 1998 were something you’d expect to see in a movie. His drive ended up in the water, as did the next five attempts to clear the hazard with a fairway wood. After a few more mishaps, Daly finally putted out.
T-2. Ray Ainsley
Tournament: 1938 U.S. Open, Cherry Hills CC.
Major championship golf is a pressure-filled test for each golfer who tees it up. Not completely understanding the rules, though, makes it more difficult. Ray Ainsley knocked it in the water on the par-4 16th during the 1938 U.S. Open and then attempted to knock it out of the water (repeatedly). Eventually, he learned that a player could take a drop from that type of hazard.
T-2. Dale Douglass
Tournament: 1963 Bing Crosby National Pro-Am, Pebble Beach GL.
The Bing Crosby National Pro-Am was relentless on scoring averages back in the day. Only a few years after Merrell’s 19, Dale Douglass arrived at No. 10 tee box and swung away. His slicing shot landed on the beach, and when he finally got out of the sand, he was lying 14. Five shots later, Douglass was in the hole.
T-2. Hans Merrell
Tournament: 1959 Bing Crosby National Pro-Am, Cypress Point Club.
Hans Merrell was just a simple golf instructor, playing in the Bing Crosby National Pro-Am (the first year it was called that) – until he arrived at the 16th hole. Hans didn’t manage to carry the 200-some yards needed to land on the par 3, instead finding the dreaded ice plant vegetation on the hillside. From there, it wasn’t pretty.
1. Tommy Armour
Tournament: 1927 Shawnee Open, Shawnee CC.
As the story goes, Tommy Armour knocked 10 – 10! – balls out of bounds on the par-5 17th on his way to a legendary “Archaeopteryx” (15 or more over par).
Article originally appeared on: Golfweek.usatoday.com