Scott McCormick comes from a long line of mediocre – yet devoted – golfers. He lives in Arizona with his wife Alexis and their two dogs. When not trying to improve his short game on an office putting machine or following his favorite PGA tour pros on Twitter, he works as an freelance writer for GolfNow, specializing in San Diego Golf and Phoenix Golf.
When Tiger Woods demonstrated some poor golf etiquette at this year’s Masters Tournament, the world was watching closely. From uttering unmistakable four-letter words to kicking his nine-iron, any behavior by Tiger Woods that could be deemed juvenile was analyzed to death.
As any old duffer knows, golf can be a frustrating game. For most of us, we have the good fortune to not have our worst moments on the links be recorded for posterity, but not having cameras in his face constantly didn’t stop PGA Tour pioneer Tommy Bolt from earning the nickname “Tommy Terrible” for his rage-induce golf antics during his career that started in 1946.
Bolt became famous for his temper tantrums; throwing clubs, berating caddies and castigating writers and fans were par for the course for Terrible Tom Bolt.
He did put some restraints on his hysterics, however. There were limits to what even a cannon as loose as his would do.
“Never break your driver and your putter in the same round,” he advised.
Sage advice, Tom.
Well, the era of incessant cameras and over-the-top analysis has probably made golfers cut from Tommy’s cloth an extinct breed, but there still have been a number of high-profile outbursts during major PGA events in recent years.
In addition to Bolt and Woods, here are three other golfers who have had memorable temper tantrums on the PGA Tour:
If you aren’t going to be remembered for your golfing prowess, you may as well be remembered for being a world-class jerk, right? Well, that logic doesn’t really gibe for me, but for Pat Perez, it must make perfect sense.
Perez isn’t a totally non-descript golfer; he does have a win on the PGA tour and had a second-place finish at Pebble Beach, which was made memorable when he melted down on the back nine to concede the victory, and infamously broke a club over his leg in the process.
But for the most part, if Pat Perez is known by anyone, it is because he was a penchant for throwing childish hissy fits whenever something goes wrong for him on the course, which is seemingly often.
In 2011’s Reno-Tahoe Open, Perez battled down the stretch for the tournament title, only to miss a makeable putt on 18 that kept him one stroke off the leader, Scott Piercy, who had yet to tee off on the final hole. When Piercy completed the round with a par that gave him the victory, Perez, who had been watching the procedures from near the green with a scowl on his face, erupted into a sulky rage. Perez stormed off the course, and slammed his water bottle down near the feet of two young boys, one of whom offered Perez another bottle of water. Rather than take up the young lad’s generous offer, Perez instead ripped off his golf glove and slammed it into the ground.
All of this occurred under the watchful eye of the Golf Channel’s live camera.
The world’s #1 ranked player, Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy, is not immune to a childish outburst on the golf course. After his resounding victory at the PGA Championship at Kiawah, South Carolina in early August, McIlroy once again became the toast of the golfing world, regaining his lofty perch atop the World Golf Rankings, a place he solidified with another victory at the Deutsche Bank Open over Labor Day Weekend.
But only a few short months before, he had many in the golfing establishment shaking their heads, as he committed a golfing faux pas generally reserved for your weekend duffer after a 12-pack of Schlitz.
In May, McIlroy teed up for the BMW PGA Championship, part of the European Tour that takes place at the historic Wentworth Club outside London. He started off well, sitting at two under par after seven holes. But trouble started for him on the 8th, where he bogeyed. And he followed that up with similar disappointments on 9, 10, and 11.
Then on 12, it got ugly. He shanked his first shot out of bounds, and then his provisional ball landed in the sand. As his ball was finding the bunker, his iron was going airborne, as a frustrated McIlroy hurled his club. He would end up failing to make the cut at the tournament and was slapped with a modest fine for his outburst.
Sergio Garcia was a rising star in the golf world in 1999, having earned his first PGA Tour win in only his sixth start and rising to the level of international superstardom after battling toe-to-toe with Tiger Woods for the PGA Championship (before eventually finishing second).
But later that year, Garcia had a moment that he’d just as soon forget in the 1999 World Match-Play Championship at Wentworth.
Garcia was already trailing in the match to South Africa’s Retief Goosen, and having deposited several balls into the trees already, he was in no mood to watch his tee shot on the 15th beeline towards the shrubbery.
While most golfers in a fit of rage show their displeasure with their clubs, Garcia has always marched to a different beat, and his now-infamous temper tantrum was no different, as he took off his shoe and chucked it into the gallery. When the shoe was promptly returned to him, Garcia wasn’t much interested in putting it back into proper use. Instead, he reared back and kicked it, and capped his hissy fit by angrily tossing his club at his caddy.