Wonky Wagers

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 A pair of hard-nosed gamblers gladly took hustler Titanic Thompson’s bet that he could hit a golf ball an unbelievable 500 yards. The only stipulation was that the ball had to be driven from a tee, but it didn’t have to land on a fairway. In the dead of winter, Thompson hit his shot onto an ice-covered lake. The ball was still rolling as Thompson pocketed his money.

  • Thompson  would also make bets that he could sink three out of five putts from 30 feet away. He usually won by sinking four!  His victims never knew that the trickster would go out the night before and place a heavy hose from the edge of the green to the cup that would  make it easy for him to send the ball into the hole.
  • In 1966, 55 year-old English amateur golfer Harold Dean won a strange $20.00 bet. He played the Dunkenfield course in Manchester, England, swam one mile, and drank three pints of beer–all within two hours.
  • David Strath bet all comers in 1876 that he could play the bunkers and huge greens at St.Andrews in less than 100 strokes in the DARK! With only the full moon and a full complement of bettors to accompany him, Strath shot 95, and did not lose a ball. In memory, the front bunker on the 11th hole was named the Strath Bunker.
  • American Willie Hunter won the British Amateur in Hoylake, Englund, in 1921 after spending almost all his money to get there. He bet his last $10 at odds of 33 to 1 on himself to win. After finishing first, Hunter won $330, a windfall for a penniless golfer!
  • During a 1936 four-ball match, Richard Scott and Joe “Clown Prince” Ezar were 4 down to Michael Scott and Bobby Locke with five-holes to play, Joe asked Richard if he had ever seen five birdies in a row. Richard said no. Ezar bet $500 that he could do it, then, amazingly, bagged five consecutive birdies to win the match one up.
  • Payne Stewart had the pants beat off him after making a wacky wager during the 1988 Leukemia Classic exhibition match in Wilmington, Delaware. Playing against a trio of top women golfers, Stewart bet he’d beat their best score per hole, with the loser dropping their pants. The women rose to the challenge by defeating Stewart, who lived up to the bet and removed his famous knickers, causing a squeal from the shocked gallery….. “I think he must have had a big laugh!”
  • Many golfers carry their golf bags, but in full battle gear? That is what Nick Farrar did on a wager just before WW l  broke out. The wager was  10 to 1 that Farrar couldn’t go around England’s Royston Links in less than 100 strokes wearing his full infantry battle gear, water bottle, field kit, and a haversack. He shot a 94!
  • The Honorable Guy Butler, a 12 handicapper, played the Kingswood course in Surrey, England, in 1973 with a CROQUET MALLET! It took him 151 shots, including only 33 putts. Butler easily won a bet that he would finish the round in fewer than 250 strokes.
  • Leo Diesel used to hustle 15 handicappers back in the 1930s by offering to play the front nine off his right foot, and the back nine off his left. When he had a pigeon far enough down, he’d play him double or nothing with his feet crossed. He’s always win that bet, as well.
  • After Tiger Woods won the 1997 Masters, a British bookmaker offered 50 to 1 odds that the golfer would be elected POTUS by the time he turns 50…..  Well, we all know how that will turn out?
  • In 1907, John Ball Jr., one of England’s greatest amateur golfers, accepted a bet that he could play Hoylake in dense fog in under two hours, 15 minutes and not lose a ball. Mr. Ball not only beat the time, but shot an 81 using a  BLACK ball!
  •  Another famous golfing gambler was renowned golf professional, Ben Sayers of North Berwick. He took the money off an American visitor to the Royal Burgess Golf Club in Edinburgh when the man doubted Sayers claim that he could play every hole in 4! (including par-5-s and par-3’s) Sayers duly went out the following day and in a round of incredible consistency, took 72 strokes and his doubter’s money.
  • Before the 1930 season began, pro Bobby Cruickshank made a bet that the great Bobby Jones would win all four major  tournaments (The U.S. Open and Amateur and the British Open and Amateur championships) that year. The odds of that happening were 120 to 1. Jones wound up winning all four majors and Cruickshank enriched himself by $60,000.
  • John Daly, a self-confessed compulsive gambler, admitted during an ESPN interview that he was so pissed off for being left off the 1995 Ryder Cup team at Oak Hill that he bet against our American team to win the cup. Daly never revealed how much he won.


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