DI­VINE IN CON­TENTION

The top-10 mo­ments in pro golf that turned su­per­nat­u­ral

Golf Digest (South Africa) - - Contents - BY GUY YO­COM

The top-10 mo­ments in pro golf that turned su­per­nat­u­ral. By Guy Yo­com

HE LAST THING A PRO WOULD SEEM TO NEED IS A MIR­A­CLE.

They are blessed with so much al­ready – ac­tion-fig­ure physiques, swings is­sued straight from heaven, and as video re­plays show daily, a sur­feit of good bounces. In truth, the as­tound­ing things that have hap­pened to them over the years are for our ben­e­fit as much as theirs. They in­still a sense of won­der, add to the lore, and sug­gest we might be on the re­ceiv­ing end next. What qual­i­fies as a mir­a­cle, any­way? The cri­te­ria is rub­bery, but it be­gins with an event that in­dis­putably is a one-off, some­thing that could never hap­pen again. Four play­ers mak­ing aces on the same hole on the same day at a US Open, as hap­pened in 1989? Not quite; the cup was cut where balls fun­nelled, mak­ing it more fluke. But Arnold Palmer’s aces on the same hole on con­sec­u­tive days? What a com­bi­na­tion of a place, per­son and time. When Fred Cou­ples’ball hung on the bank at the 1992 Mas­ters,it was as though prov­i­dence was tap­ping Fred­die (and mil­lions of fans) on the shoul­der and whis­per­ing, I’m here. Here­with, the top-10 mirac­u­lous events that have hap­pened to those who play for pay.

BOBBY JONES WALKS ON WA­TER 1930

Dur­ing the se­cond round of the 1930 US Open at In­ter­lachen Coun­try Club out­side Min­neapo­lis, Bobby Jones at­tempted to reach the par-5 ninth hole in two. Just as he be­gan his down­swing, Jones saw out of the cor­ner of his eye two young girls sprint­ing into the fair­way. Jones flinched, and his ball, badly hit, seemed des­tined to go only half­way across a lake in front of him.The ball, how­ever, struck a lily pad and bounded for­ward, free of the wa­ter and only 30 me­tres short of the green. This dose of Jones magic – and the fairly rou­tine birdie that re­sulted – was con­se­quen­tial. He won that US Open, his fourth, by two strokes over Mac­don­ald Smith.

BOBBY CRUICK­SHANK’S COME­BACK 1932

In a 36-hole, first-round match at the 1932 PGA Cham­pi­onship, Al Wa­trous, a suc­cess­ful tour player and later head pro at Oak­land Hills, led Bobby Cruick­shank, 9 up, with 13 to play.Wa­trous, feel­ing sorry for Cruick­shank, con­ceded a six-foot putt for a half on the sixth hole. Big mis­take. Cruicky, mainly through spec­tac­u­lar putting, which in­cluded a 70-footer on the 15th hole, came back and tied the match in reg­u­la­tion, then won on the fifth ex­tra hole.“I played well,”Wa­trous later re­counted.“My ad­vice to you is, don’t ever con­cede your op­po­nent a putt – not even a two-incher!”

HOMERO BLANCAS’ 55 1962

Now 79, Homero Blancas was an ex­cel­lent PGA Tour pro who ex­celled as a se­nior. But as a young am­a­teur, Blancas pro­duced what is per­haps the most phe­nom­e­nal round in golf his­tory. In 1962, at a Texas bar­beque-cir­cuit event known as the Pre­mier In­vi­ta­tional, Blancas shot 55, an in­cred­i­ble 15 un­der par.The par70 course was just 4 600 me­tres and con­sisted of a sin­gle nine holes us­ing two sets of tees. Still, he made 13 birdies and an ea­gle. De­tract­ing from the mir­a­cle not at all was the fact he missed a three-footer.The score to this day has never been bet­tered, though in 2012 an Aus­tralian pro, Rhein Gib­son, equalled it in a non-com­pet­i­tive set­ting.

IL­LUS­TRA­TION BY NI­CO­LAS ORTEGA

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