SI Vault
 
Flashback
Cameron Morfit
June 22, 1998
Call Him Aqua-ManRay Ainsley coulda been a contender in the 1938 U.S. Open. Instead, he waded into history. At Denver's Cherry Hills 50 summers ago, Ainsley hit a five-iron approach into a brook at the 397-yard, par-416th hole. He tried a splashy mashie but got nothing but splash. He flailed again and again as his official scorekeeper flopped to the turf, laughing. Fans abandoned Gene Sarazen, who was playing an adjoining hole, to watch Ainsley, who kept slashing and splashing. When at last he lifted his ball from the drink and finished the hole, he had taken 19 strokes, a total that still stands as the worst single-hole score in Open history. Ralph Guldahl won his second straight Open that week. Ainsley was left with a little girl's voice ringing in his ears. "Mummy," the girl said when he finally picked up his ball, "it must be dead now because the man has quit hitting it."
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font
June 22, 1998

Flashback

View CoverRead All Articles View This Issue

Call Him Aqua-Man
Ray Ainsley coulda been a contender in the 1938 U.S. Open. Instead, he waded into history. At Denver's Cherry Hills 50 summers ago, Ainsley hit a five-iron approach into a brook at the 397-yard, par-416th hole. He tried a splashy mashie but got nothing but splash. He flailed again and again as his official scorekeeper flopped to the turf, laughing. Fans abandoned Gene Sarazen, who was playing an adjoining hole, to watch Ainsley, who kept slashing and splashing. When at last he lifted his ball from the drink and finished the hole, he had taken 19 strokes, a total that still stands as the worst single-hole score in Open history. Ralph Guldahl won his second straight Open that week. Ainsley was left with a little girl's voice ringing in his ears. "Mummy," the girl said when he finally picked up his ball, "it must be dead now because the man has quit hitting it."

1