The PGA Tour Twitter account routinely posts a “Golf is hard” segment, in which bad shots are showcased. The idea is that, hey, those chunks and slices and three-putts that are prevalent among us amateurs? It happens to the pros, too.
And no player has personified this stance like Kevin Na at the 2011 Texas Open.
At the ninth hole at TPC San Antonio, Na lost his drive into the woods, a shot which, while rare, is not unheard of in the top ranks. What garnered attention was the next shot — and the shot after that, and the shot after that, and the shot after that:
The final damage for Na was a 16. Frankly, the fact that he finished his round with an 80 is astonishing.
You’ll see that highlight at some point during this week’s coverage of the Valero Texas Open, which got us thinking: What are the worst single-hole blow-ups in golf history?
Yes, Na’s misadventures were the thing of nightmares, but it also came during his first round. For our list, we compiled meltdowns at critical moments, as the heightened stakes amplified the severity of the collapses. Moreover, we limited the field to just the last 20 years. Keeping those parameters in mind, here are the picks for the biggest single-hole disasters:
Jean Van de Velde, 1999 British Open
The English vernacular can’t properly capture the Grand Canyon’s majesty or the orotund beauty of Adele; these entities need to be seen, felt, experienced. The same applies to the glorious mess of van de Velde’s 72nd hole at Carnoustie:
Dustin Johnson, 2010 U.S. Open
Mishaps don’t have to come at the finale to submarine a round, as Johnson proved at Pebble Beach. DJ’s one-shot Saturday lead quickly evaporated on Sunday thanks to a triple on the second hole. An ensuing double at the third booted Johnson from the leader board, and he eventually finished in a tie for eighth.
Sergio Garcia, 2013 Players Championship
Sergio’s game is filled with numerous attributes. The “clutch” gene is not one of them.
Garcia was tied for the Sunday lead heading into TPC Sawgrass’ infamous par-3 17th. The Spaniard put his tee shot in the drink; his drop attempt fared no better:
Garcia left the island green with a quadruple bogey. He would also double the final hole, giving the 2013 tournament to Tiger Woods.
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