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Mike Reasor, the PGA Tour Player Who Scored 93-Over Par

Journeyman Tour Member Plays One-Handed, Using One Club Only, In Tour Event

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golfer Mike Reasor

Golfer Mike Reasor, pictured in 2000 when he was attempting to qualify for the European Senior Tour. In 1974, Reasor shot rounds of 123 and 114 playing one-handed at the PGA Tour Tallahassee Open.

Paul Severn / Getty Images
What are the highest scores ever posted in a PGA Tour tournament round? Officially, we don't know, because the PGA Tour doesn't keep that record. But unofficially, we can say with some confidence that the highest scores belong to a golfer named Mike Reasor. What we can say with absolute confidence is that the scores posted by Reasor in the third and fourth rounds of the 1974 Tallahassee Open are the highest ever recorded by a PGA Tour player after making the cut.

Reasor's scores in those rounds? Third round: 123. Fourth round: 114. Yes, Reasor shot 237 on the weekend. But you might be at least a little impressed with those scores when you learn why they were so high: Reasor was playing with significant injuries, swinging the club with just one arm, and using a 5-iron only.

Reasor played on the PGA Tour from 1969 to 1978. He never won, but he did manage to finish in the Top 10 ten times during that span.

At the 1974 Tallahassee Open, Reasor got off to a decent start over the first two rounds: He was at even-par 144 following 36 holes, good enough to make the cut.

Then, following the second round, Reasor decided to relax by going horseback riding. What he thought would be a fun outing turned into a painful one when his horse, apparently spooked by something, ran Reasor right into a tree.

His injuries were significant: torn rib cartilege, damaged knee ligaments, separated left shoulder. Surely, he could not continue in the golf tournament. And yet, he did.

Reasor did continue, playing the third round swinging with just his right arm, keeping his left arm immobile by tucking his left hand into the beltline of his slacks. Other than putting, he used only a 5-iron.

And in the third round, Reasor shot 123, 51-over par. The original Associated Press article about Reasor's third round, published on April 28, 1974, included these comments from Reasor:

"You should have seen them laughing on the first tee. I stepped up with a 5-iron and barely got it to the ladies tees. ...

"I think the fact that I made it around that course is commendable. I almost didn't make it going up the hill on 16. I was woozy there. I've got all kinds of medications in me. ...

"What a way to get recognition."

The next day, in the final round, Reasor did it again, improving to 114, a mere 42-over par. So, over the final two rounds, Reasor carded a 93-over-par 237.

Now, you might be wondering: Why did Reasor decide to play on? Why didn't he withdraw due to injury?

The 1974 Tallahassee Open was played at a time before the advent of the PGA Tour's "all-exempt" era. Today, in the all-exempt era, PGA Tour members receive exemption status based on their achievements - major wins, tournament wins, money list finishes or FedEx Cup finishes, etc. And each tournament field is filled almost entirely on the basis of those exemptions. Only four spots in the field (at full-field tournaments) are reserved for golfers trying to get in through Monday qualifying.

But in 1974, a much smaller number of tour players were exempt from Monday qualifying. Anywhere from a quarter to half of tournament fields were filled via Monday qualifiers, and unless you had one of those precious exemptions - or earned one by finishing high enough the previous week - you had to enter the qualifier and play your way into the main event.

And the 1974 Tallahassee Open offered an exemption: Everyone making the cut was exempt from having to play the qualifier for the next week's tournament, the Byron Nelson Classic. But only those who made the cut and completed the tournament.

Reasor didn't know if he'd be healthy enough to play the next week, but he was a journeyman and he knew he had to finish out the Tallahassee Open to hold onto that exemption from the next qualifier.

So that's what Reasor did, playing one-handed, hitting 5-iron only, posting scores of 123 and 114.

When the Tallahassee Open was finished, Reasor's score was 93-over 381.

Turns out, it was all for naught: Reasor had to withdraw from the Byron Nelson Classic, and it was more than a month until he was healthy enough to enter another tournament.

Two other facts about Reasor:

  • He was Arnold Palmer's caddie during the 1966 U.S. Open, the one in which Palmer blew a 7-shot lead with nine holes to play and eventually lost in a playoff to Billy Casper.

  • Reasor died at age 60 in 2002 after suffering a heart attack during a golf tournament. Reasor was playing the Pacific Northwest Section PGA Senior Championship in Oregon. The heart attack apparently struck during tournament play, and Reasor died later that day.
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