Golf can bring out best, worst

It probably has happened to all golfers at one time or another.

In the middle of an otherwise solid round of golf suddenly your game heads south, and no matter what you try, nothing can get you back on track. It’s a frustrating experience, and one that’s sometimes made worse by trying to “right the ship.”

Amateurs have made the big number on holes and recouped for a rewarding round no matter what he or she may total on the scorecard.

Once in my lifetime, I was able to record a hole-in-one, but the feat was preceded by a seven on a par 4 and followed by a nine on a par 5. My playing partner had to describe the shot to me due to my lack of enthusiasm during the round. A groundskeeper was working alongside the green and witnessed my glorious shot and rewarded me with a congratulatory comment. I responded with a grateful gesture.

It means something to me now upon reflection, but big numbers outweigh the heroic shots.

I have been playing this game since the tender age of six.I learned how to play with character, charm and grace over the years, but I still have yet to lick this sport. One day I will post a great round with lots of small numbers and hopefully fewer big ones on the scorecard.

PGA Tour professionals have seen their fair share of big numbers over the years on many holes, but one golfer set the record for the highest number on a hole in 1998. John Daly, former PGA Championship and British Open winner, recorded an 18 on the par 5 sixth hole at Bay Hill. Daly put six balls in the lake guarding the green. He had just enough golf balls to complete the round. He lost his last two on the final hole due to errant shots. His golf bag was empty and his final score was an 85. This is just one of the big numbers posted by professionals.

Kevin Na was unlucky to tie for second highest number with a 16 on a par 4 in the 2011 at the Valero Open and Gary McCord, a Champions Tour participant and television commentator, duplicated that 16 on a par 5 in 1986 during his final round at the FedEx St. Jude Classic.

A mark that is not officially recorded in the PGA Tour record books since the statistics for this unpopular mark did not begin until 1983 is a reported 23 by Tommy Armour on a par 5 in 1927 during his play at the Shawnee Open.

Golf is a numbers game, the smaller ones make the game fun and the bigger ones make it unforgettable.

Mickelson’s Misery: Golf can be a funny game.

One day after a blistering 29 on the front nine that included an eagle and five birdies, Phil Mickelson couldn’t manage a single birdie on Sunday at the Wells Fargo Open.

Mickelson went out in 37 with eight pars and one bogey. His only birdie of the day came on No. 13 and he shot 76 to tie for 11th at 7 under.

“I had two great rounds and two pathetic rounds,” Mickelson said.

Contact Eddie Thomas at