It's been another busy year for golf news.
From first-time major champions to remarkable comebacks and all points in between, there has been plenty to cover for those of us who write about the game for a living.
There have also been plenty of odd stories. You know, the kind of stories that you can't quite believe you're actually writing.
Here's our guide to the seven weirdest golf stories of 2021...
1. Fallen Ángel
As you read this, former Masters champion Ángel Cabrera is doing time in an Argentine jail after being convicted of convicted of domestic violence charges. The 51-year-old two-time major champion was found guilty of assaulting, threatening and harassing his former girlfriend Cecilia Torres Mana. What makes this story particularly extraordinary is the fact that Cabrera was arrested in Brazil in January after going on the run, even winding up on Interpol’s ‘Red List’. He was extradited back to Argentina in June where he stood trial, where he was found guilty and sentenced to two years in prison. So, no Masters Champions Dinner for him in 2022…
2. Criminal Masters mind
Speaking of The Masters, a man was arrested in February after being caught trespassing on the grounds of Augusta National Golf Club. Grayson Beveridge, a 26-year-old from the Augusta suburb of Martinez, reportedly told officers that he had snuck onto arguably the most famous property in golf because he “was bored” and wanted to have “some fun”.
3. Take me to your clubhouse leader
It’s unlikely any golfer made as many headlines this year as Bryson DeChambeau. This, though, was probably his most bizarre. Ahead of the US PGA Championship in May, the American told the SiriusXM PGA Tour Network radio show about the time he encountered a UFO. DeChambeau detailed how he, instructor Chris Como and friend Adam Hurley were in his backyard in Texas during the COVID-19 lockdown in 2020 when they saw “three little silver metallic discs” moving in the distance. “They were all moving in a triangle shape,” he said the 28-year-old. “We were out there for literally just under an hour thinking, ‘What the heck is this?’” The discs vanished after the trio went briefly indoors. Apparently.
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4. Mum's the word
Golf’s a hard enough game without your own mother calling a penalty on you – and yet that’s precisely what happened to Viktor Hovland during The PLAYERS Championship in March. The Norwegian was given a two-stroke penalty in the opening round at TPC Sawgrass after he accidentally putted his ball from the wrong place on the 15th hole. Hovland had moved his marker to clear the line for playing partner Justin Thomas. When he returned it, he moved it in the wrong direction… something his eagle-eyed mother Galina noticed whilst watching on TV. She phoned Viktor after his round and brought it to his attention. The then 23-year-old then raised the issue with tournament rules officials, reviewed the footage and was assessed a two-shot penalty for his error. Why wasn’t he DQ’d for signing an incorrect scorecard you ask? You’ll find your answer under Rule 3.3b3, which allowed him to be retroactively penalised for unknowingly violating a rule. Lucky boy.
5. Naked ambition
The final round of the US Open was interrupted briefly when a streaker tore through the Torrey Pines ropes. The surreal moment happened just as defending champion Bryson DeChambeau was preparing to play his second shot out of the rough on the 13th. The naked interloper brought along a golf club and some balls – golf balls – and took a couple of wild swipes before being led away by security. The following day, a YouTuber called Connor Murphy claimed credit (if that’s the right word) for the stunt.
6. Imperfect 10
Making just his second PGA Tour start in three years, Mark Hensby suffered a brutal stroke of misfortune during the Palmetto Championship at Congaree. The Aussie was two-over through the first eight holes of the tournament when disaster struck. He noticed that he was using a ball that didn’t belong to him. Rather, it was a ball belonging to fellow pro Pat Perez. Hensby had accidentally picked it up prior to his round after the had been practising side by side on the putting green. He had put it into play on the fourth hole after dunking one of his own into a water hazard. That put Hensby in violation of the tour’s ‘One Ball Rule’ (Model Local Rule G-4) and cost him two shots for each of the holes on which he had used the ball on – TEN shots in all. He eventually signed for an 84 and withdrew from the tournament.
7. Fight! Fight! Fight!
Pro golf is serious business. Just ask Luke Smith and Austin Dailey. The pair were reduced to fisticuffs during a qualifier for a Korn Ferry Tour event in June. Smith, who had his father on the bag, was aggravated by Dailey’s pace of play; Dailey was frustrated by Smith’s refusal to help him find lost balls or tend the pin. Tempers finally spilled over when Dailey confronted Smith and his father on the green of the par-3 seventh after being left to search for his own ball once again. It was reported that Smith then attacked Dailey whilst his father fended off attempts to break up the fight. Smith was taken back to the clubhouse before being arrested. It’s only a game, lads…