Another who scored in the 90s wrote a nine-page letter saying that the FBI had followed him during his round because he had knowledge that some ex-U.S. presidents had played a role in the assassination of John Lennon. "The agents made me nervous when I was putting," he wrote.
Sometimes the excuses come in the form of phone calls, although Adamson tries to discourage that. One man called a USGA official and said the reason he had shot a high score was that his son was caddying for him. When the official said that he didn't see the relevance, the man answered, "Now stay with me, you'll understand. I was actually playing O.K., but about halfway through the round my son said to me, 'Dad, I have something to tell you. I'm gay.' At that point, my game just kind of fell apart."
The watchdogs at the USGA can sympathize with all the reasons why a golfer's game can go south under pressure. "We aren't out to get people," Adamson says with a trace of defensiveness. "We are just trying to ensure the integrity of the competition. Being placed on the ineligible list is not a life sentence. People can play their way off it. We hope they do."
And how often does a good excuse alone get a player back in the USGA's good graces? Not often. Here's one example of the kind of letter that just won't work.
"Dear Mr. Adamson: I could give you all kinds of reasons why I played poorly, but let me tell you, since that gloomy, sad, dark and cheerless time of my life, I'm now happy to announce that the clouds have parted, the sun is shining, and my putting stroke is again as solid as that of a 12-year-old caddie. Let me play next year because I'm comin' on BIG TIME!"
For this poor soul, obviously, U.S. Open bottom was very near.