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The 787-Yard Drive on the PGA Tour

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The Story of Carl Cooper's Blast at the 1992 Texas Open
Carl Cooper Hitting a Drive in 1992

Carl Cooper follows through on a drive during the 1992 PGA Tour season. That year, Cooper hit a 787-yard drive during the Texas Open.

Ken Levine / Getty Images
The longest drive on the PGA Tour in 2011 was a 463-yarder by Dustin Johnson. In 2010, the longest drive was 424 yards; in 2009, it was 467 yards.

But did you know that in the PGA Tour's history there was a drive that was more than 300 yards longer than Johnson's 463-yard blast? That's right, a 787-yard drive actually happened during a PGA Tour event.

True story. But as you've probably guessed, it took a lot of curious bounces and some good luck.

The golfer was Carl Cooper, who at the time was a 31-year-old journeyman. The tournament was the 1992 Texas Open, played that year at Oak Hills Country Club in San Antonio.

Interestingly, Cooper's drive is not included on the PGA Tour's official "longest drive" list for 1992; the recognized leader was a 308-yard drive by John Daly - one of only two drives in 1992 officially measured at more than 300 yards. Which tells you all you need to know about the explosion in distance since then. (The reason is that the PGA Tour's driving stats were compiled using only two designated holes per round - plus, Cooper's mammoth drive, due to circumstances, couldn't be properly measured anyway.)

But back to Cooper's drive: On the par-4, 456-yard third hole, Cooper launched his drive at the 1992 Texas Open. On the fly, the ball hit a downward-running concrete cart path and took off.

The ball rolled past the fifth green. Then it passed the sixth tee. It eventually left the cart path and veered onto an unpaved maintenance road. And finally it came to a stop behind the No. 12 green. At many points along its route it could have rolled out of bounds, but the ball somehow stayed on the course.

Everyone on site agreed it was a minimum of 750 yards from the No. 3 tee box; some thought it was more than 800. The figure of 787 yards is the one most cited because that's the yardage that was determined by Cooper's caddie.

Where the ball was sitting, Cooper had around 300 yards just to get back to the correct green. He hit a 4-iron, then an 8-iron, then a chip shot to get back to the No. 3 green. He wound up with a double bogey.

Daly led the PGA Tour in driving average in 1992 with a mark of 283.4 yards. Cooper was in 12th place at 272.1 yards.

But Carl Cooper is the guy who goes down in history with a 787-yard drive during a PGA Tour event.

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