This week marks the 43rd anniversary of one of the most curious performances in professional golf. After making the cut at the 1974 Tallahassee Open, journeyman Mike Reasor carded rounds of 123 and 114 on the weekend.
What? How the heck did this happen? How did a guy who played well enough to make the cut pencil in two rounds a 20-handicapper would be ashamed of?
Well, determination, for one. If that doesn’t make any sense, consider these few facts first. Unlike today, a cut-making golfer had to finish a tournament to get paid. And with only the top 60 golfers on the money list exempt, getting paid was essential to any hope of fully exempt status. Also, players made a hell of a lot less back then, with most barely scraping by.
Reasor was a die-hard competitor, as his friend Mike Tindall told PGA.com’s T.J. Auclair:
“[Reasor] Loved to compete and if you’re out there at PGA West, he’d bet you he could run to top of the mountain and back in 30 minutes or less.”
Back to how Reasor ended up following up a second-round 71 with two 100-plus efforts. After the aforementioned second round, Reasor went horseback riding with a friend.
“Bandy,” Reasor’s horse, got spooked and threw the golfer from the saddle. Hitting the ground hard, Reasor separated his left shoulder, wrecked his knee, and cracked a pair of ribs. But he wasn’t about the withdraw and forfeit a paycheck and a spot in the next week’s tournament.
When he arrived at the course Saturday morning, he was essentially unable to use his left arm. “No worry,” Reasor though, apparently. He pinned his left arm to his side and made a one-armed swing. Using predominately his 5-iron, Reasor could only hit it 120 yards, but he was undeterred.
Insane. Jim Barber, who played alongside Reasor in round three described the injured golfer’s play.
“We moved around quick enough and he did fine in that regard,” Barber said. “He wasn’t taking any time over the ball as his scores kind of indicate. He wasn’t trying to reach back and get any extra,” Barber continued.
“He was just trying to limp in. He couldn’t do much. It wasn’t a real wind up. He could hit it, but it was more of a pitch. It was like a 10-yard wedge effort into the green. It took a while to get down there. He was hitting it on the run, wasn’t worrying about yardages or a preshot routine. He just walked up and polo-ed it down there. He was just trying to limp in and finish.”
Limp in and finish he did, collecting a paycheck and earning a spot in the next week’s tournament (which he was ultimately too hurt to play in). So while Mike Reasor’s scores may suggest the worst rounds in PGA Tour history, they really represent the most dogged and determined effort to get to the clubhouse.