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Golfing tantrums: 6 times golf professionals epically lost their cool

BY Tim Ellis

10th Oct 2022 Sport

Golfing tantrums: 6 times golf professionals epically lost their cool

Golf is typically seen as being a bit slow and good-natured, but it has its dramas like any other sport! Here are 6 golfing tantrums

The generally good-natured world of golf has been rocked by the breakaway Saudi-backed LIV Tour, causing more bad blood in months than has been seen on the greens in decades. 

That’s not to say tantrums never happen on the fairways. Golf is a game designed to wear patience thin as that little white ball refuses to go into the hole. Here are six of the worst on the scorecard.

1. John Daly goes down under in water

The “Wild Thing” calmed down enough to win two major championships at the 1991 US PGA Open and the 1995 Open. However, the larger-than-life American spent much time at the 19th hole and even more in the casinos.   

Daly lost money almost as fast as losing golf balls at the Australian Open in 2011 when he shot seven balls straight into the water, eventually storming off the course when he ran out of stock.  

“It’s very disappointing for the tournament…that he has treated the championship this way,” said Trevor Herden, Golf Australia’s director of tournaments. Sunday morning hackers have all been there. 

2. Sergio Garcia: The raging bull

The Spaniard has been known to kick off at almost everything and everyone at times, starting with chucking a shoe into the crowd at the 1999 World Match Play Championship. At the 2019 Saudi International, things got very hairy when he took two to get out of a bunker and reacted by smashing his club into the sand several times, swearing in his national language.  

"The crimes against golfing humanity just kept piling up"

The following day, the 2017 Masters champion purposely damaged five greens by dragging his feet and making scuff marks. Several groups playing behind Garcia complained about his behaviour which directly led to his subsequent disqualification.  

The crimes against golfing humanity just kept piling up when he withdrew from the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth after just one round to watch American College football with his wife in Texas

3. Thomas Pieters snaps

Royal Troon has the beauty of a links course with a beastly interior as Thomas Pieters found out during the 2016 Open Championship. The eleventh is a monster of a hole, running at almost 500 yards for a par 4 and the Belgian was driven to despair, breaking the shaft of a short iron over his knee and tossing both halves into a gorse bush after playing his seventh shot. 

He finished the hole with a nine, which messed up all his good work from earlier in the round and admitted: "Not a great example breaking my club today. Sometimes golf gets the best of me."

4. Victor Dubuisson has a meltdown

The Frenchman was known for his debonair manner before deciding to draw on a little bit of home town Cannes film drama with an out-of-character hissy fit during the final round of the 2016 WGC-Cadillac.  

Victor Dubuisson playing golf

Victor Dubuisson playing golf © Marie-Lan Nguyen via Wikimedia Commons

After finishing with a decent round of 72, a clearly frustrated Dubuisson was seen kicking his golf bag, destroying his club, throwing a ball and even taking aim at himself. It’s good to know that the tools of the trade weren’t entirely to blame then.

5. Miguel Angel Jimenez and Keegan Bradley have words 

Never has the 19th hole been more needed than at the end of this dead rubber at the 2015 WGC-Cadillac Match Play in San Francisco, which suddenly sparked into a confrontation. 

The cigar-loving Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez was steamed up about opponent Keegan Bradley following the proper rules in dropping his ball on the 18th hole.    

Bradley felt he had already received the correct advice from the official and didn’t need the avuncular Jimenez to come over and give him the lowdown.

At one point, Bradley’s caddie, Steven Hale, told Jimenez, “Do not tell me to shut up!”  Bradley then got in Jimenez’s face to say: “Don’t tell him to shut up!” It wasn’t quite Golffight at the OK Corral but things were getting heated. 

The two squared with each other at the final green in a conciliatory but awkward exchange which didn’t quite seem to douse the issue. The American said: “I have nothing but respect for him. He’s a great player out here, but I have to be able to stick up for myself when I feel something is wrong.” 

6. Phil Mickelson not clicking with photographer

The American veteran has certainly had a chequered past—and present—and this came to the fore at the 2016 Open Championship during the third round. Mickelson was visibly irritated by the click of a camera on his backswing at the final hole, especially as the ball landed up in the bunker. 

"The American veteran has certainly had a chequered past"

“That’s so s**t to do that,” he said, looking in the direction of the offending photographers huddled together. “I can’t believe that. I get you gotta cover (the event), but why do you gotta interfere with it?” Later, Mickelson admitted that he was a little bit “jumpy” on the day.   

The left-hander managed to scramble a par to keep just one shot behind Henrik Stenson, but the Swede shot a 63 the next day to claim the tournament. 

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