There are times in the world of golf when you think you really have seen it all; when the golfing gods conspire to produce an event of such strangeness that you really do believe you have seen it all. Listed below are ten such moments, things that you or the players involved would never have expected when they strolled out onto the first tee that day.
And to whet the appetite, here’s some of the more unusual, lucky or downright freaky shots of the last few years…
10. Henrik Stenson finds the water – with his club
We’ve all experienced those days when things don’t go for you around the greens. Henrik Stenson at the Dubai Desert Classic suffered just a moment here when fluffing an attempted chip onto the green.
What followed was a perfectly executed over the head fling of his club into the water behind him.
9. Rory Sabbatini deals with a course interloper
Part of the attraction of playing golf all over the world is the chance to experience new scenery and wildlife, though sometimes when you are playing in the midst of a round for a top title, you can do without nature calling.
There’s no truth to the rumours that Rory Sabbatini hired Ace Ventura as his Caddy from here on in.
8. When Weather intervenes…
At the 2010 British Open, windy weather caused balls to waver on greens and caused a postponement, lightning frequently sees events in Florida temporarily called to a halt, rain disrupts several events a year and even washed away part of the course at the Scottish Open a few years back.
But a new precedent was set earlier this year in the Arizona Desert when a spring snowstorm brought the players inside, leaving some of the more unusual golfing images of the year.
7. Practice Days at Augusta can be fun
We know Augusta has several practice days and sometimes going along to them can be great fun. At the Masters on the 16th, Players indulge the crowd in a little fun by bouncing their golf balls across the lake and onto the green.
In 2010, Vijay Singh lined up to attempt the shot and produced a perfect Barnes-Wallace bouncing ball, rolling it onto the green and incredibly into the hole. I would not recommend trying this with an expensive set of balls in your bag!
6. Sergio’s second shot, did he use a tree iron?
Although the typical amateur golfer is used to hearing his golf ball clatter amongst the trees, indeed my golf balls feel somewhat unloved if they are not introduced to bark on regular occasions.
However the chances of a ball sticking up a tree are a million to one but it does happen. As Sergio Garcia found out at this year’s Arnold Palmer invitational.
However a little lumberjacking skills and a brilliant reverse pitch backwards put the ball back on the fairway, even if the dismount was a little inelegant.
5. Gravity-defying golf shots
Have you hit a shot that is destined for a watery grave only for the gods of golf to offer you the unlikeliest of reprieves?
For Fred Couples, that came in 1992 when at the 12th hole at Augusta, his shot spun back off the green and down the treacherous slope seemingly into the water.
Yet somehow, Couples ball came to rest on the face of that brutal slope, allowing him to chip out and eventually win the coveted Green Jacket.
4. A collapse of epic proportions
There are times when a player can snatch defeat from the jaws of victory and there’s no better example of this than at the 1999 British Open at Carnoustie when Jean Van De Velde imploded at the 72nd hole in extraordinary fashion.
He isn’t the only player to do this, but few have done it with such a sense of style or occasion, attempting crankpot shot after crankpot shot before signing for a seven that put him into a play off with Justin Leonard and Paul Lawrie, which the latter won.
3. Golfing billiards?
It’s difficult enough to hit the golf ball into the hole from a relatively short distance away, so managing to hit the golf ball into the exact place where your playing partner has played their ball must be impossible.
Well no, it’s happened to me several times and it has also occurred on the professional tour too as the video shows above. I’m still waiting for the holy grail though of a golf ball being deflected off your playing partners ball and into the hole!
2. Why Kip Henley earns his money as Brian Gay’s Caddy
It’s a relatively easy job being a caddy isn’t it? Travel the world living off the earnings of a talented golfer and all you do is a little walking, a bit of maths and offer a few words of comfort and advice.
Well yes and no- as this clip shows. Sometimes a Caddy is called upon to do a little more than cart a golfers clubs around the course. And occasionally it involves creatures with plenty of sharp teeth and no real understanding of golfing etiquette.
1. Steve Lowery finds a “birdie” at the 17th at Sawgrass
In the 1998 TPC Championship at Sawgrass, Steve Lowery had successfully negotiated the island hole at 17, his ball landing safely on the green.
A passing Seagull however had other ideas and promptly used its beak to bat the ball around the green before taking it in its mouth and attempting to fly off, losing the ball in mid air as it splashed into the water.
Fortunately for Lowery, he was allowed to replace his ball where the birdie had intervened. Perhaps the only time when a birdie at the 17th at Sawgrass was not welcome!
All videos courtesy of YouTube.