For a golfer to score less than 60 for 18 holes of golf is remarkable. Every shot must be hit perfectly and not a single hole can be over par. In fact, a golfer would have to shoot under par on at least 12 holes to accomplish the feat. The chances of shooting a 59 become less the longer the course runs.
Shooting a round of 59 is so rare in golf that even professional sports’ rarest feats pale by comparison. Baseball’s unassisted triple play or throwing a perfect game happens more often. Until 2010, NBA’s quadruple double happened more often.
This year, two professional golfers on the PGA Tour fired rounds of 59. Stuart Appleby shot a 59 at the Greenbrier Classic less than a month after Paul Goydos equaled the feat at the John Deere Classic.
Not to be outdone, a Japanese golfer on the pro tour in Japan shot a 12 under par 58 to shoot the lowest round ever on a major tour. Ryo Ishikawa is only 18 years old and made 12 birdies on the Nagoya Golf Club course. Par for the course was 70 and not 72. One of Ishikawa’s birdies was a chip in from ten yards away.
The only 58 to be shot on American soil has been a 13 under 58 for a U.S. Open qualifier in 2000 by Japanese golfer Shigeki Maruyama. Ironically, Maruyama was the third round leader of the same tournament that Ishikawa won thanks to his fourth round score of 58.
It is only a matter of time before a PGA player scores a 58. As golf clubs get better, athletes stay in shape, and golf swings are broken down millisecond by millisecond golfers are turning into finely tuned machines built to deal with slices, headwinds, narrow fairways, and fast greens. Will Tiger Woods shoot a 58? That would be the only record he probably doesn’t own in his career. Chances are it will be someone younger and in better shape who takes the tour by storm just as Tiger did when he first started.
ESPN and Golf.com provided information for this article.