Golf is one of those sports where average people are routinely afforded the opportunity to feel better about ourselves when the professionals completely melt down on the course, duffing the ball around like a Sunday muni player with a hangover.
The words “sextuple bogey” offer the prospect of entertainment on a level that in a Newtonian way is the equal and opposite reaction to watching a spectacular double-eagle approach from the fairway on a par 5.
Enter Lucas Bjerregaard of Denmark, who at the U.S. Open on Thursday threw his driver into the ocean to punish it for not one, not two, but three errant shots that forced a do-over from the tee with a penalty at Pebble Beach’s 18th hole.
Bjerregaard yanked his first two shots left into Stillwater Cove. His third, he pushed right — so far right that the shot went out of bounds.
The 18th was Bjerregaard’s ninth hole of his round, as his group played the back nine first; things might have been a bit more understandable had he been playing the signed ninth hole, which Patrick Cantlay showed on Instagram before the tournament to be a disaster waiting to happen.
With his fourth tee shot, Bjerregaard switched from his driver to a 3-wood, and that seemed to do the trick. He found the fairway and, if you take away the three shots and three penalty strokes, would have had a par.
Sadly, you don’t get mulligans at the U.S. Open, so those six strokes were indeed counted and Bjerregaard ended up with a sextuple-bogey 11.
In total, he completed the back nine in 45 strokes before settling down and completing the front nine in 35 to post a 9-over-par 80 on the par-71 course.
The 18th hole has been the undoing of a golfer’s U.S. Open fortunes before; in 2000, John Daly carded a nonuple-bogey 14 that led him to withdraw from the tournament in the opening round.
But on the other hand, the hole has been home to two of the most iconic images in golf, first when Jack Nicklaus congratulated Tom Watson as Watson walked off the green in 1982, and second for Tiger Woods’ victory lap of a celebration as he completed the 2000 tournament at 12-under par when nobody else was below 3-over.
Bjerregaard, for his part, showed a talent for self-deprecating humor in his comments about his misadventure.
“It’s a course where you have to limit your mistakes,” he said, according to Golf Digest. “You can’t afford to be making 11s.”
On the other hand, it’s not as though he took everything in perfect stride.
“It’s tough,” Bjerregaard said. “It kind of ruins it all for me.”
Exactly what was wrong with Bjerregaard’s driver, whether the club itself was faulty or it was just a problem with the man swinging it, we’ll never know, because it’s in Poseidon’s golf bag now.
As for the tournament itself, Justin Rose, playing alongside Tiger Woods, matched Woods’ first-round score from that dominant 2000 Open, shooting a 65.
He finished as far in front of Bjerregaard as Tiger finished in front of second place 19 years ago.
Who goes lower on Friday? pic.twitter.com/gfySyb3iZu
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) June 14, 2019
Round 2 is underway; Bjerregaard is likely to miss the cut, but there will no doubt be plenty of great golf — and possibly some hilariously bad golf as well — over the weekend.
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