Golf is hard. If you need any more proof, here are 10 of the highest scores ever recorded on Tour.
Kevin Na – 2011 Texas Valero Open, TPC San Antonio
Hole: No. 9, par-4, 474 yards
Score: 16 (+12)
Kevin Na’s 16 at the 2011 Valero Texas Open was one for the ages. Plus he happened to be wearing a microphone which made it that much better. It started with a drive into the woods which he took an unplayable and went back to the tee. It didn’t get much better because that too found the same spot in the trees. His next shot hit a tree, bounced off his leg (for a penalty) and landed behind him in a spot that he also declared unplayable. Na finally got out of the woods and into the rough but it had he had taken 12 shots, including a left-handed whiff. At long last he one-putted for his 16, or a “duodecuple” bogey.
“I think I made somewhere between a 10 and 15, but I think it’s closer to a 15,” Na said, before making an official count. He hilariously returned to the scene of the crime the following year with a chainsaw to clear out some of the woods – and memories.
Ray Ainsley – 1938 U.S. Open, Cherry Hills Country Club
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Hole: No. 16, par-4, 397 yards
Score: 19 (+15)
Ray Ainsley, a club pro from California made an absolute mess of the 16th hole at Cherry Hills Country Club during the 1938 U.S. Open. After his approach found the creek guarding the green, Ainsley decided to play it from the water, but each time he took a swing the ball moved downstream with the current. After a chip and a putt, he recorded a 19 on his way to shooting a 96. After the round Ainsley said, “I thought I had to play the ball as it lay all the time.”
Hans Merrell – 1959 Bing Crosby Pro-Am, Cypress Point
Hole: No. 16, par-3, 222 yards
Score: 19 (+16)
One of the most famous holes in all of golf also was the scene of one of its most horrific recorded scores. During the 1959 Bing Crosby Pro-am, Ohio pro Hans Merrell failed to reach the putting surface and then played his next several from the beach, including a run in with an ice plant. After the dust settled it was recorded as a 19.
John Daly – 1998 Bay Hill Invitational
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Hole: No. 6, par-5, 543 yards
Score: 18 (+13)
This classic John Daly blow up occurred during the 1998 Bay Hill Invitational. While his grip it and rip it style is usually unwavering, sometimes it’s best to take your medicine. After not clearing the water on his drive for the first time all week, Long John moved a bit closer and splashed another 3-wood…and then another…four balls later, he cleared it but then had to take an unplayable. Then he bounced one off the rocks. In all, it was good enough for an 18. Tin Cup would be proud.
Gary McCord – 1986 FedEx St. Jude Classic
Hole: No. 16, par-5, 512 yards
Score: 16 (+11)
Famed CBS broadcaster Gary McCord took a 16 back at the 1986 FedEx St. Jude Classic. After hitting a tree with his drive, he had 209 over water that guarded the green. He selected 4-iron and didn’t clear it. Four attempts later and he was still wet. With only one ball left in his bag, McCord switched to a 3-iron, made the green then sank a 25 footer for 16. “I’m looking right between the eyes at a 17 if I don’t make that putt,” McCord said of his final shot. “I was determined to make it.”
Tommy Armour – 1927 Shawnee Open
Hole: No. 17, par-5, yardage unknown
Score: 23 (+18)
Tommy Armour followed up his U.S. Open triumph over Bobby Jones by recording the highest score ever in PGA Tour history. At the 1927 Shawnee Open, just a week later, the Silver Scot introduced the first instance of the “archaeopteryx,” a single-hole score of 15 or more over par. Such is golf!
John Daly – 2000 U.S. Open, Pebble Beach Golf Links
Hole: No. 18, par-5, 543 yards
Score: 14 (+9)
John Daly graces this list again thanks to the 14 he recorded on Pebble Beach’s famed 18th hole. His tee shot found somebody’s backyard forcing him to re-tee. He then sent two balls into the Pacific ocean before throttling back and hit a 5-iron into the fairway. The in a very un-Daly-like manner, he laid up then hit his approach into the ocean, then found a bunker and hand to hit left-handed. Afterwards, he withdrew with an 83.
Tom Weiskopf – 1980 Masters
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Hole: No. 12, par-3, 155 yards
Score: 13 (+10)
How do you make a 13 on the 12th hole at Augusta? By hitting five balls into Rae’s Creek. Tom Weiskopf spun his first shot off the green and into the water. Then from the drop area, he sank four more balls. He finally got it on the green and two-putted for the 13 en route to a round of 85.
Sergio Garcia – 2012 Cadillac Championship
Hole: No. 3, par-4, 438 yards
Score: 12 (+8)
Sergio Garcia went full Submergio Garcia at the 2012 Cadillac Championship at Doral’s Blue Monster. On the par-4 third hole, El Nino found the pond down the right side and took a drop. From there he rinsed three more balls, then went over the green on his ninth shot. A chip and two putts equal a 12.
Tommy Nakajima – 1978 Masters
Hole: No. 13, par 5, 510 yards
Score: 13 (+8)
While Tommy Nakajima is remembered for his famous nine at St. Andrews’ famous Road Hole which was notoriously dubbed “the Sands of Nakajima,” his 13 during the 1978 Masters was no slouch either. After hooking his tee shot into the creek than runs up the left side on Augusta National’s famous par-5 13th, he played an iron and found the water again. Then he attempted to play it out of the water but it bounced off his shoe incurring a two-shot penalty. He also touched the water with his club which was another penalty. When all was said and done, it was a 8-over 13 on 13.