When you think of “One in a Million,” what comes to mind? Winning the lottery? Making a hole in one? Well, on August 4, in regular Thursday League play, an entirely different example presented itself—one that no golfer would wish for.
This one-in-a-million mishap sprang from a beautifully struck 9-iron shot on 13. That’s unlucky 13. And, to his credit, Mark Schmidt, on whom this misfortune fell, sucked it up and took it like a man– with no four-letter words of complaint, just a gasp and exclamation at the improbability of it all.
As noted in an earlier post on this page, Mark is a member of my regular Thursday League foursome. And, on August 4th, we teed it up as usual, starting on the back 9, and, as usual, playing the D tees. The weather was ideal, warm but not hot, a light breeze, but not enough to call a wind. Admittedly, holes 10 through 12 presented a few more than their usual share of disappointments, but nothing that hinted at what Unlucky 13 had in store for us that day.
The flagstick on 13 was back right and the action commenced with a good-looking 7-iron hit by yours truly. It was a high, baby draw that floated down right on line with the flagstick, but stopping just on the crest of the slope that descended down about 18 feet to the pin.
Mark hit next. He struck his 9-iron perfectly—an almost identical shot to mine, with a high trajectory and a little draw, but carrying just a bit farther onto the green. In fact, his line of flight was exactly identical to mine—and when I say exactly, that’s just what I mean. From roughly 180 yards, Mark’s ball wound up landing squarely on mine—what are the odds?– and ricocheted violently backwards and to the left, not coming to rest until it reached the far left edge of the green, a good fifty feet from the flag. An almost impossible putt to get close, given the slope up and then down and to the left to the hole.
Of course, no one can say just how close Mark’s tee shot would have come to the hole had his ball not collided with mine, but it’s not much of a stretch to guess that he could have easily faced a birdie putt of no more than just a few feet at most. But instead of stroking a makeable birdie putt, Mark was faced with putting the disappointingly difficult 50-footer, and wound up walking off 13 with just about the least-deserved bogey you could ever imagine.
For what it’s worth, my ball, after colliding with Mark’s tee shot, caromed forward and to the right and rolled almost all the way into the hazard over the green. But of course I got to replace the ball. And, in solidarity with my playing partner’s unlikely misfortune, I three-putted for bogey (although not on purpose).