PORT ARTHUR —
Cricket Owen of Port Neches was saluted in this space last week for making a hole-in-one on the par 4, 6th at Babe Zaharias. In the course of the story, his accomplishment was referred to as both a “double eagle” and an “albatross.”
As it turns out, Owen, in the most technical sense, did not make a double eagle. But he for sure did author an albatross.
So what’s up with all that? Associated Press golf writer Doug Ferguson raised the terminology issue after Louis Oosthuizen sank his second shot on the par 5, 2nd hole in the final round of the Masters. In its story the next day, AP referred to Oosthuizen’s rare feat as both a double eagle and an albatross, same as I did on Owen’s memorable shot.
A few days later, however, Ferguson came back with a column pointing out that in the most literal sense a double eagle would actually be four shots under par on a hole. After all, if an eagle is two under, what is double that?
Ferguson also noted that only in the United States is the term double eagle used. Everywhere else in the world, making an ace on a 4-par, or a 2 on a 5-par is referred to as an albatross.
“I didn’t even know what a double eagle was until I came to the United States,” he quoted Australian pro Geoff Ogilvy as saying. “Maybe they couldn’t think of a word for something better than an eagle, so they called it double eagle. But it’s not really a double eagle, it’s an eagle and a half.”
Double eagle apparently traces its origins in the United States to when Gene Sarazen holed his 4-wood, second shot on the par-5, 15th in the 1935 Masters. Augusta National officials produced two newspaper clippings for Ferguson saying Sarazen had made a double eagle.
Sarazen, however, in a curious choice of words, was later quoted as saying he’d made a “dodo.”
Additional Ferguson research traced the term “birdie” back to 1903. Playing the par-4 second at The Country Club in Atlantic City, N.J., Ab Smith left his second shot inches from the cup. In his excitement, he told the other two guys in his threesome he’d hit a “bird of a shot.”
The term birdie was thus introduced into golf lexicon. It was followed by eagle and, everywhere else but in the U.S., albatross.
Thus concludes today’s lesson in golf history. Meanwhile, I’ll leave it up to Cricket Owen to determine whether he made a double eagle or an albatross. Or both.
CHIP SHOTS: Last weekend’s Nederland Heritage Festival tournament is the latest example that stroke-play events have little appeal to area golfers. With the opening 18 holes set at Babe Zaharias and the final 18 at Bayou Din, only 32 players participated. Kyle Phelan shot 147 (73-74) to win 1st Flight by 3 strokes over Jared Landry. Chris Nelson’s 150 (84-75) topped Brad Brown and Larry Thompson by 3 shots in 2nd Flight. Ron Carlin won 3rd Flight with a 167, edging Jeff Rinehart by two strokes and Dwayne Morvant and Robert Gautreaux by three . . .John Guidry of Port Arthur authored the signature shot of the week. Guidry holed an 8-iron from 130 yards for an eagle on the par 4, 11th at Babe Zaharias. Witnesses were Lee Terro, Crickett Owen, Robert Lynch and James LeBlanc . . . Chris Stroud, after earlier indications that he would skip the Valero Texas Open, has changed his mind and will play in this week’s PGA Tour stop outside San Antonio. Stroud, who had back-to-back ties for 6th when the Texas Open was played at LaCantera, is not a big fan of the Greg Norman-designed course at TPC San Antonio which is in its third year as tourney host. He didn’t play there last year, after missing the cut in 2010. After being off the past two weeks, Chris is now 54th on the PGA Tour money list at $615,869. He tentatively plans to play four straight weeks, going from San Antonio, to the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, to the Wells Fargo Championship in Charlotte, N.C., to The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla . . . The team of Joe Gongora, David Arnaud, Pete Reobroi and Harold Wilkinson finished 20&3 to win the Babe Zaharias DogFight. Three was a three-way tie for second at 17 points. Closest to the pin winners were Roger Koch (No. 2), Art Miller (No. 7), Ben Thornton (No. 12) and Wally Stanley (No. 15) . . . The Seniors at The Babe was played in a flighted, 2-man scramble. In 1st Flight, the team of Larry Morris-E.T. Robicheaux shot 7 under to top the duo of Adam Noel-Richard Darbonne by three strokes. Robert Lynch-Bill Jones posted 1 under to clip Tom Hatcher-Gene Noble by two shots in 2nd Flight. Even par won for Larry Foster-L.J. Hardy in 3rd Flight. Ben Thorton-Mike Hess finished one shot back. Closest to the pin winners were Adam Noel (No. 2), Darbonne (No. 7), Ned Cole (No. 12) and Hatcher (No. 15) . . . The Super Saturday Game at Zaharias was played in a 2 ball format, with the team of Tom Lawton, Thad Borne, Richard Sibley and Charlie Huckaby winning the front in minus 3. On the back, there was a tie at minus 1 between the team of Jim Jordan, Gene Hardy, Larry Johnson and Alex Espinosa and the Lawton team . . . The Patch Seniors 50 Plus game was played in a 3-ball format. There was a three-way tie on the front at minus 3 between the team of Larry Morris, P. Young, Bill Draughon and Benny Epperson, the team of Jimmy Fetters, Bill Avery, David Guarnere and Mike Rachal and the team of Roddy Weatherly, Walter Colvin, Carl Certa and Charles Huckaby. On the back, the foursome of Charles Cooksey, R.J. Simon, Cap Hollier and Charles Scott won at minus 8 . . . In the Friday Seniors at Belle Oaks, Mike Hebert won with plus 8. Twyman Ash was second at plus 6, followed by Jim Brown at plus 4. Ash (No. 8) and Hebert (No. 15) were closest to the pin winners . . . Memorial High School’s 3rd Annual PTSA Tournament is set for 8 a.m. Saturday at Babe Zaharias. Entry fee for the four-person scramble is $75 per adult and $35 for students. Proceeds go toward scholarships for Memorial seniors . . . Entries are still being taken for the 5th annual Estelle and Allen Fetters Center Tournament Saturday, April 28 at The Patch. Cost is $50 per player or $200 per team and includes all fees plus food and cold drinks. Call Leroy Falcon at 962-5047 or 960-2475. There will be shotgun starts at 8 a.m. and 1 p.m.
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PORT ARTHUR —
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