There is surely plenty of wisdom in the saying, “if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again,” but try telling that to the player caught on video in a battle with his new nemesis - the stone wall that runs along the back of the green at the Road Hole on the Old Course at St Andrews.
No doubt the player had something far different in mind as he approached one of the most well-known holes on the planet. Perhaps watching his tee shot sail over the Old Course Hotel to settle comfortably on the fairway, or maybe nonchalantly chipping over the notorious pot-hole bunker in front of the green on his way to an inevitable birdie before striding confidently onto the 18th.
Instead, he found himself close to the famous wall that runs behind the green on the other side of the road that gives the hole its name. No problem - simply summon the memory of Miguel Angel Jiminez at the 2010 Open, ricochet the ball onto the wall and gracefully take the applause as it loops onto the green. Fate, unfortunately, had other ideas – and, to make matters worse (for him), there was a small crowd and someone videoing to witness his imminent ignominy.
⚠️ Road Hole Fail pic.twitter.com/vfkVWEhpOLJanuary 10, 2023
After a couple of practice swings, the player’s big moment arrives - he duly strikes the ball against the wall from a couple of feet or so, only to see it almost apologetically loop back then trickle closer to the wall than before.
After the groans subside, the determined player presses on, and his second attempt seems far more promising. Now, there is genuine trajectory as the ball heads encouragingly in the direction of the green. At that moment, a man can even be heard calling: “There we go!”... until the ball takes one bounce on the road separating peril from safety and opts for peril, this time nestling so tight against the wall it’s unplayable. At this point, the onlookers – and the player, who takes his epic fail in good spirits - break into laughter, and he finally takes the drop.
Naturally, the video has caused a stir on social media, with some suggesting he should have taken the drop, or even just played towards the green in the first place. One response even shows how it should be done:
This is how it’s done! Via: @Richard50942461 pic.twitter.com/VcbpRf1LsdJanuary 11, 2023
Alas, it wasn't to be. Of course, the player is far from the first to fall victim to the Road Hole wall - he can at least take some comfort knowing he won’t be the last.
Mike has over 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on a range of sports throughout that time, such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance staff writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the game's most newsworthy stories.
He has written hundreds of articles on the game, from features offering insights into how members of the public can play some of the world's most revered courses, to breaking news stories affecting everything from the PGA Tour and LIV Golf to developmental Tours and the amateur game.
Mike grew up in East Yorkshire and began his career in journalism in 1997. He then moved to London in 2003 as his career flourished, and nowadays resides in New Brunswick, Canada, where he and his wife raise their young family less than a mile from his local course.
Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.
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