Today's an important date in golf history. The professional part of the game is turning 154 years old today.
— Best of British (@bestofbritishuk) October 17, 2014
While not played for the Claret Jug at the time, that tournament is the precursor to the Open Championship. In fact, the first Claret Jug would not be presented to the winner until 1873.
So what was golf like back then? Here's the description of the event, which was won by Willie Park Sr., from the Open Championship website:
[Park] opened his bid for the first championship at Prestwick in 1860 with a tremendous tee shot that was described by one onlooker as “sounding as if it had been shot from some rocket apparatus” and after three rounds of the 12-hole course he came to the final hole with a one shot lead over his great rival Old Tom Morris. Two putts from 10 yards would have secured him victory, but in his usual fashion he gave the ball a firm rap and it bumped and bobbled across the uneven surface before diving into the hole. He was the first champion golfer by two clear shots.
And who was this Park? Here's how the Open Championship website describes him:
Willie Park, winner of the first Open Championship in 1860, was the Arnold Palmer of his day. "He goes bold at everything," was the generally held view, "especially with his long putts." It was felt that his aggressive style of play, so often successful in match play, would let him down over 36 holes of stroke-play in the first championship, but he was emphatically to prove his detractors wrong with four Open titles and four runner-up places in a 16-year spell.
An eagle on the golf course is usually a great thing.
In this particular case, however, it didn't help anyone's scorecard.
Check out this video where an actual, real life eagle picks a golf ball up of the green and takes off:
If a ball at rest is moved by an outside agency, there is no penalty and the ball must be replaced.
What's better than a well-executed prank?
That's exactly what tennis star Rafa Nadal pulled off recently on a course in Majorca, Spain, on a couple of unsuspecting golfers.
It was all part of a hidden-video prank by PokerStars, in which Nadal would work on his, "poker face," to convince the golfers he had been hit in the head with a ball and had amnesia.
Check it out here:
Now that was good stuff. The two golfers looked genuinely concerned when they saw a man down on the green and then you could see on their faces it quickly escalated to panic when they realized the man down was one of the world's most famous athletes.
PGA of America Championships
Benton Harbor, Mich.
Sahalee Country Club
Baltusrol Golf Club
Hazeltine National Golf Club