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For truly bad golf stories, just ask your caddie

Tim McDonaldBy Tim McDonald,

We all have good stories about bad golfers we've known, but if you want the great stories, go to a caddie.

I was playing golf at Royal Links Golf Club in Las Vegas one time, where they pretty much force you to have a caddie. I was glad because the caddie, Mike Tousa, not only helped me lower my score, but told me some great stories.

I asked him: What's the worst golfer you ever caddied for?

"Well, I had a guy one time shoot a 214."

Sousa said this rather nonchalantly, but I was thunderstruck. A 214! How could anyone shoot a 214, even on a bad day at a hard course? You would have to work really hard to shoot a 214.

That's three days of golf for a good player, two for a player who's just plain awful. That's a scorecard you would have to frame in a prominent place, a tribute to incredible perseverance in the face of awesomely bad ability.

How do you do it? Turns out, it's easy - you just have to be bad beyond bad.

Tousa remembered the guy well because, for one thing, it was July. In the desert.

"I knew I was in trouble when he had a one-foot gimme putt on the first hole," Tousa said. "It was for a 14 and he insisted on taking it."

The incredibly bad golfer was from England and he played once a year. He insisted on taking every shot, no matter where it landed in the desert, no matter what his lie was and no matter that he was 100 strokes over par.

He told Tousa he wanted to get his money's worth. Well, he may have been indescribably bad, but at least he was honest and frugal.

Another golfer came into the golf shop one day, according to Tousa, with a group. He bought four dozen golf balls. Tousa assumed he planned to distribute the balls to the group he was playing with. No. He kept them all to himself. By the 14th hole, he was out of balls.

That's 48 balls in 14 holes, if we give him the benefit of the doubt. An average of 3.4 balls a hole. Those aren't bad shots we're talking about - those are lost balls. I hope he only plays once a year like the British guy, otherwise he's spending a fortune on golf balls.

You can get a dozen Pro V1s for about $13. That's $52 this guy spent. Let's say he plays twice a week - that's still more than $1,200 a year for golf balls.

There are all sort of bad golfer stories by regular civilians. A guy in Australia shot a 125, recording the worst score ever in the Mongrels Master Tournament, according to the tournament's Web site. In and of itself, that's not bad, but this is the same guy who once shot a 65. He should roll with David Duval.

Then there's Charles Barkley, who was called the worst golfer of all time by Tiger Woods. I won't dispute it. I've seen Barkley's swing on television. He looks like he's trying to dig a well and swat a hornet at the same time.

Our own BadGolfer.com is replete with bad golfer stories, like the guy who claimed to have shot a 34 on one hole, or another who said he had a 19 on a par 3.

Sam Orbaum on his Web site tells the story of Metthieu Boya of the African state of Benin. He mis-hit a practice drive into the cockpit of a Benin Air Force jet. The pilot lost control and crashed into four other jets. The government ordered him to pay $70 million for a new air force, but the problem was Boya only earned $700 a year. The government settled for a $75 fine.

My own story of the world's worst golfer involves a guy, a single who rather haughtily requested to play through our threesome. Sure, we said. With us watching, he took three of the hardest swings I've ever seen, and never came close to hitting the ball. With his fourth swing, he topped it, and the ball rolled about 15 yards.

He went and picked up his ball, turned and walked past us to his cart, and said "thanks." Then he turned around and drove off back toward the parking lot. We never saw him again. I have an enormous amount of respect for that guy - he never even looked sheepish.

Veteran golf writer Tim McDonald keeps one eye on the PGA Tour and another watching golf vacation hotspots and letting travelers in on the best place to vacation.

Any opinions expressed above are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of the management.

Reader Comments / Reviews Leave a comment
  • $13 and terrible math

    andy wrote on: Sep 15, 2005

    "You can get a dozen Pro V1s for about $13. That's $52 this guy spent. Let's say he plays twice a week - that's still more than $1,200 a year for golf balls."
    Let's take this in parts:
    1. If you get ProV1s for $13 a dozen, common decency requires you to tell us how (and whether or not it's leagal).
    2. $52 on the mythicaly cheap ProV1 balls times two rounds a week is $104 a week on golf balls. With 52 weeks in a year, you should get $5408 a year on balls, not $1200.
    If you need an additional editor to keep an eye out for these sorts of things in the future, I would work for a modest salary.