News & ToursJuly 6, 2015

A serious, scientific examination of the greatest upsets in golf history

Joey Chestnut, the reigning eight-time champion of the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest, was usurped from this throne by Matt Stonie -- a man referred to as "the Jordan Spieth of tubed beef" -- this weekend in what the event's emcee called "one of the greatest upsets in sports history."

Granted, this might be a tad hyperbolic, but such is to be expected from an event that awards its winner a mustard-plated belt.

The proclamation did get us thinking: What are some of the biggest shockers in the history of golf?

Francis Ouimet's legacy withstanding that terrible Shia LeBeouf movie

You would think pulling off the thriller of the century -- Ouimet, a 20-year-old amateur besting two of the game's best in Harry Vardon and Ted Ray -- would be tough to tarnish. But that LeBeouf film came damn close.

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Jack Fleck over Ben Hogan, 1955 U.S. Open

Hogan was the unquestioned face of the game, while Fleck was a club pro in Davenport, Iowa. Tied after 72 holes at the Olympic Club, the two faced off in an 18-hole playoff, with Fleck winning by three shots. To rub salt in the wound, Fleck won with a set of clubs manufactured by Hogan's company.

If something similar happened today, the First Take guys would have a collective heart attack.

__Rory McIlroy defeats alarm clock, Keeg__an Bradley

McIlroy almost missed his tee time on the final day of the 2012 Ryder Cup, excusing his tardiness for time-zone confusion. The explanation was flimsy; if McIlroy thought he was on the East Coast, wouldn't he be early for his match at Medinah, which, thanks to its Illinois location, resides in Central Standard Time?

Despite only getting a few practice putts, McIlroy managed to beat his Sunday singles foe, Bradley, and helped spur the European team to an epic comeback.

Orville Moody, 1969 U.S. Open

A military man, Moody retired from the Army to attempt a career on the PGA Tour. In his third year on the professional circuit, Moody won the 1969 U.S. Open, finishing ahead of a crowded leader board featuring Al Geiberger, Bob Rosburg, Deane Beman, Miller Barber and Arnold Palmer.

Alas, it would be Moody's lone victory, further adding to the aura of his national championship.

John Daly's "Hit it Hard" song charting

When an athlete produces a record, 99.9 percent of the time, it will make one's ears bleed. But Daly's "Hit it Hard" ballad, shockingly, isn't terrible! You know, for a country song, that is. It even reached as high as No. 10 on the HIGHWAY Hot 45 Countdown, which I'm told is a real thing.

Larry Mize, 1987 Masters

Not sure what's more impressive: Mize, an Augusta native, winning the Masters in a playoff over Greg Norman and Seve Ballesteros with a chip-in at the 11th, or somehow avoiding scorn for that purple ensemble he was rocking. C'mon, Larry, only the Hornets can make the lavender-n-green combo work.

Zero streaker incidents at the 16th hole, Waste Management Open

Perhaps we should add the caveat of "Yet."

Jack Nicklaus, 1986 Masters

It would be blasphemy to even consider making light of this moment. Long live the Golden Bear.

Happy Gilmore over Shooter McGavin, Tour Championship

Bonus points to Happy for overcoming a hit-n-run from a Volkswagen, the death of his mentor and a TV tower blocking his line on the 18th green.

Y.E. Yang beats Tiger Woods, 2009 PGA Championship

Not sure if you've been keeping up with Woods, but he's been in a tad of a major slump ever since his runner-up finish at Hazeltine.

Follow @JoelMBeall


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