Remember back in 1999, when we thought Sergio Garcia would rise as the rival to Tiger Woods after their duel at Medinah in the PGA Championship? Never really materialized.
Tiger and Sergio were linked together again on Sunday, but not for a good reason. Woods withdrew from the Cadillac Championship after injuring his Achilles, and Garcia carded a 12 on the par-4 third hole.
That’s right, an octuple-bogey. Looking every bit like your average Sunday-morning hacker, Sergio needed five golf balls just to get through the hole after putting four of them into the pond.
It’s the second-sorriest golf performance I’ve ever heard of.
That would be in August 1996, when I played my first practice round with the high school golf team my freshman year. Tigermania was in its fullest swing, leading to a record number of kids coming out for the team. This fact is significant because the overwhelming numbers made it impossible to know who was any good before we got out onto the course.
Anyway, one of the kids I was paired with in my first foursome was this guy we called The Tuna. And after the first hole, it appeared he was going to be one of the team’s stars. The only one in the group to land the ball on the green on the par-3 10th hole (we started on the back nine), he was also the only one to par while the rest of us putzed around for 5s or worse.
We all marveled at his skills as we walked to the eleventh tee. None of us had any shot at actually playing in a tournament with this guy in the mix.
And then the wheels fell off for The Tuna.
His tee shot went into a creek about 100 yards away that probably should not have come into play. And so did the next one. And the next one. I’m not really sure where it went from there, but I do know a lot of trees were involved. And there were probably four putts to boot.
By the time the carnage was over, we were almost afraid to ask what to put down on the scorecard. But we had to.
After thinking it over for a minute, he said “Just put me down for a 24.”
I don’t know if you’ve ever seen an angry golf coach — or if there has ever been one besides ours at practice the next day — but watching the outburst was one of the funniest moments of my life.
“I’m not going to name any names here,” he said calmly before the storm. “BUT I GOT A CARD TURNED IN YESTERDAY WITH A FRICKING 24 ON IT! 24! This is totally unacceptable. If you get to 1o, PICK IT UP!”
So congrats, Sergio. You didn’t have the worst hole of all-time. Although I’m willing to bet it took The Tuna half the time to get his 24 as it did for your slow ass to finish up your 12.