E.A. Sports Today

Saylors’ big adventure

[corner-ad id=1]‘It just never dawned on me to stop hitting that driver,’ player says after taking 17 on par-5

Ted Saylor rechecks his scorecard after Sunday's round in the Cider Ridge Invitational. (Photo by B.J. Franklin)

Ted Saylor rechecks his scorecard after Sunday’s round in the Cider Ridge Invitational. (Photo by B.J. Franklin)

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

OXFORD — Ted Saylors can laugh about it now, but it wasn’t so funny at the time.

Saylors endured a hole in Sunday’s final round of the Cider Ridge Invitational that would have left many storming off the course, slamming trunk lids and maybe even breaking a few clubs when he took a 17 on the par-5 ninth.

But doing none of that, he stuck it out, and was as much a part of the post-round conversation as Ty Cole’s victory.

“It just never dawned on me to stop hitting that driver,” Saylors said. “It was really kind of embarrassing.”

The adventure started innocently enough with a drive hooking out of bounds, so following the rules — there are OB stakes down both edges of the fairway — he teed up another one and it goes out of bounds.

He proceeded to hook six drives OB total – all of which landed within 20 feet of each other — before finally grabbing a 3-iron that almost became No. 7 before bouncing back into play.

His first shot from anywhere other than a tee box was another 3-iron to get in the fairway, then he punched an 8-iron onto the green and two-putted from 20 feet for his triple par and then some.

“I was 2-over going into the hole and was really looking forward to making birdie,” he said. “I hit all of them good. After that I’m sitting there in the cart and I’m like ‘Oh my gosh.’ Then I thought it’s just a game and I thought about my daughter.

“I was coming around the corner down there and all of that just kind of ran through my head. I thought let’s go to the back side and try to shoot under par; that’d be a good story. I got 1-over, which is good enough.”

Saylors, a 41-year-old Chattanooga surgical tech who was a longtime member at Anniston Country Club, is in some grand company. Tom Weiskopf famously took a 13 on the 12th at Augusta. Kevin Na took a 16 on a par-4 at the 2011 Valero Texas Open. John Daly – oh, John Daly — took an 18 on par-5 sixth at Bay Hill in 1998, a 14 on the 18th at Pebble, a 13 in the John Deere and was on his way to even bigger numbers when he walked off the 11th hole in the Australian Open in 2011.

At least Saylors stuck this one out, although in an earlier time in his playing career he might not have had any clubs left to continue. He apologized to playing partners for subjecting them to such painful maneuvers, but they admired his stick-to-it-iveness through his Tin Cup moment.

“After the first couple ones we were just in shock watching them go in, seeing another one and another one,” Adrian Geeting said. “We never really did see them, we could just hear them hitting in the woods.

“I’ve never seen that before – ever. We were wondering if he was going to walk off, because it would’ve been easy to quit and he kept hitting it. He didn’t say a word for a couple holes, but he was fine after that. I told him afterwards 95 percent of the people in this tournament would have walked off, but he stuck it out.”

Saylors wasn’t the only player to run into trouble on that hole Sunday. Luke Armstrong took a 13 there.

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