We hits shots off telephone poles, house trailers, rocks, bridges and ducks. Four knights of the keyboard played golf yesterday on the U.S. Open course. We did not bring the monster to its knees. It simply collapsed in a giggling fit.
"I had one quintuple bogey, one quadruple bogey, four triples, five doubles and seven bogeys," said one of our mad adventurers. He shot 109, some 20 strokes over his customary score, and said he would sue for $6 million if his name appeared in print.
"If I'd had this many 7s in Las Vegas, I could buy this place," said a 103-shooter who started his day with four straight triple-bogey 7s.
Of all sports we see, golf is one of the few where the common man can face the same test the legends do. So there we were, ready to risk sanity to report to our readers how the common man could do at Cherry Hills Country Club.
Only we didn't realize how common we were.
Oh, how we had enjoyed the U.S. Open. It is always comforting to hear these golf professionals moan. We write snickering stories of pros finally suffering as we all do every time on the links. Typewriters clicked in glee when Jack Nicklaus made a triple-bogey 7 at the 13th hole and blamed the disaster on a stop in a bathroom, where he said he lost his concentration.
Anybody, we said, could do better than 7s on that hole.
The 13th is an easy par-4 hole. Nicklaus made 7 by hitting into a creek.
"Here's our chance to beat Jack," said one scribe on the 13th tee.
"Just keep it out of the bathroom," another said.
The 103-shooter hit his drive sideways about 150 yards.
That's bad at Wide Open Acres C.C. At Cherry Hills, a ball going sideways is eaten alive by rough five inches deep. The 103-shooter chopped it out into the fairway, only 15 yards from the green.
Nicklaus had no chance.
Any dummy could make 6 from 15 yards in two.
This dummy hit it in a trap at the right.
Sand traps are what God made to punish us for playing golf on Sunday. So the 103-shooter took two flailing strokes to escape and then used two putts.
A great 7.
If the 103-shooter couldn't beat Jack Nicklaus, surely he could handle Ray Ainsley, who in 1938 made a 19 on the long 16th hole. Poor Ainsley whacked and whacked his ball in a stream, stopping only when it was declared dead.
A good drive and second shot put the 103-shooter 30 yards from the green.
But he was in the rough. Small children and Volkswagens have disappeared in Cherry Hills rough. Could anyone hit a wedge shot out of that jungle?
Just mark down another 7, please.
That brought our hero to the 17th hole. He was pumped up for this one, a medium length par 5 with an island green. Two perfect shots left him 110 yards from the island.
That was when his playing partner hit one off the rocks.
Rocks lined the water in front of the green. Earlier, another scribbler had caromed a shot off a telphone pole and a house trailer. But this one, bouncing 20 feet high off the rocks, put a negative thought in the 103-shooter's already disturbed mind.
So he hit the shot over the green and into a dozen ducks.
They were swimming on the lake.
The ball sank.
The ducks paddled away, indignant.
No 7 this time.
"A 9?" somebody said.
"Yes, I gave myself a two-stroke penalty for hunting ducks out of season," the 103-shooter said.
At the 18th, where Andy North made a 3 1/2-foot, straight-in putt fo ra struggling 5 to win the U.S. Open, the 103-shooter made a 6 by tapping in a downhill, sidehill 15-footer that made a dent in the cup.
Nothing to this game.