The Worst Single-Hole Scores Ever by Pro Golfers

Including the Highest Scores on One Hole for the PGA Tour

Golfer John Daly pictured in 2005
John Daly once made an 18 on a single hole in a PGA Tour tournament. Grant Halverson/Getty Images

The worst score ever on a single hole in a PGA Tour tournament was a whopping 23, and a Hall of Famer and golf legend holds the record.

Worst Single-Hole PGA Tour Scores

  • 23 - Tommy Armour on par-5 at 1927 Shawnee Open
  • 19 - Ray Ainsley on par-4 in 1938 U.S. Open
  • 19 - Hans Merrell on par-4 in 1959 Bing Crosby National Pro-Am
  • 19 - Dale Douglass on par-4 in 1963 Bing Crosby National Pro-Am
  • 18 - John Daly on par-5 at 1998 Bay Hill Invitational
  • 17 - George Bayer in 1957 Kentucky Derby Open
  • 16 - Kevin Na on par-4 at 2011 Valero Texas Open
  • 16 - Gary McCord on par-5 at 1986 FedEx St. Jude Classic
  • 16 - Ed Oliver on par-3 at 1954 Bing Crosby Pro-Am

This is, as far as is known, the full list of scores of 16 and higher on a single hole in PGA Tour history. Some surprising names on the list, eh? And some that are...not so surprising.

A few notes:

  • Armour's "leading" score of 23 happened one week after he won the 1927 U.S. Open. Armour dubbed the score of 18-over par an archaeopteryx, after a bird-like dinosaur. How did it happen? The Silver Scot hit 10 consecutive drives out of bounds.
  • Daly's 18 happened on the sixth hole at Bay Hill and was earned by putting six balls into the water. Daly, by the way, also has single-hole scores of 14 and 13 in his career.
  • Bayer's 17 was truly self-inflicted. He was angry over poor play, and decided to punish himself by using a 7-iron to chip the ball the entire length of the hole. This temper tantrum got him a $200 fine and a 90-day suspension from the PGA Tour.
  • Na's 16 started with a drive way right into the trees and Texas scrub brush, and included a couple unplayables and a penalty for the ball hitting the player.

Single-Hole High Scores on the European Tour

On the European Tour, the worst single-hole scores are:

  • 20 - Philippe Porquier on par-3 at 1978 French Open
  • 17 - Andrey Pavlov, 2015 Lyoness Open
  • 17 - Chris Gane at 2003 Diageo Championship at Gleneagles

Other Tours and Majors

On other tours, Mitsuhiro Tateyama scored 19 on a par-3 during the 2006 Acom International on the Japan Tour.

The highest single-hole score recorded in a U.S. Open is, as noted in the PGA Tour list above, a 19  scored by Ray Ainsley on a par-4 in the 1938 U.S. Open. How did it happen? Ainsley hit his ball into a creek and, apparently, didn't know the rules. Instead of taking a penalty and dropping, he kept trying to hit the ball out of the water. Bad idea!

The highest single-hole score in The Masters is 13, recorded twice. Tommy Nakajima was the first, scoring 13 on the par-4 13th hole in 1978. And Tom Weiskopf made 13 on the the par-3 No. 12 in 1980.