Highlights Tours

8 Countries in One Day: the men who broke one of golf’s coolest records

People travel from all over the world to attend or play in the Masters tournament. For one week in the year, the entire golf world comes to Georgia.

For number 8 in our countdown series, we’re travelling from Augusta to Europe, where two men hold the record for most rounds of golf played in different countries in a single day. 

Two men from Belgium played 18-hole rounds of golf in eight different countries in one 24-hour period in 2013. 

An early start

It’s amazing how much you can get done in a day when you get up a little earlier than usual, isn’t it?

Kasper De Wulf and Alexander Hautekiet started their record-breaking day with a very early 2.30 am tee off in Tarvisio Golf and Country Club in the Friuli Venezia Giulia region of north-eastern Italy. The club, just 6 kilometres from the Austrian border, sits at the foot of the Alps and offers some truly stunning views.

The course in Tarvisio is the top rated in the Alpe Adria golf region. (Image:

From Italy, they played in various courses in neighbouring Slovenia and Austria before heading north to Germany, France, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.

According to Guinness World Records, the pair finished their final round in their home country of Belgium at 1.01am on the 25th of June 2013 at Damme Golf and Country Club. One of Belgium’s largest golf clubs, Damme GCC has 27 Championship holes and 9 Compact holes to its name.

More from the countdown series: If 2020 was a golf shot…

They were keeping score, too. De Wulf won overall in their stroke play match, hitting a 727 over the course of the day. Hautekiet posted the day’s lowest round with an 80 at their second stop in Bled, Slovenia. 

The proximity of national borders in Europe makes such a feat possible. It’s hard to image that golfers in other parts of the world could tick off so many countries in one day.

How many times can you play golf in a day?

The all-time record for most holes played in a single day goes to former Major League Baseball star Eric Byrnes in Half Moon Bay, California. He walked 105 miles and used glow-in-the-dark balls to play 420 holes in 24 hours. He played more than 23 rounds of golf that day to raise money for the Let Them Play Foundation, a charity in California that offers scholarships to youth sports groups so that they can buy sports equipment. 

Back to Augusta, where it will be about quality rather than quantity next week as we see the first tee off in just 8 short days.

This article is part of our Countdown to The Masters series. Join us every day between now and April 7 for fun facts and interesting stories about golf and The Masters tournament.

Highlights Tours

The Best Rounds in Masters History

Only nine days left!

We’ve already looked at the worst records in Masters history in this series. Today, as we get closer and closer, let’s look at some of the best. 

Augusta National is regarded as a true test of golf for the very best in the world; a test that a rare few have passed with flying colours. 

The record low for any round at Augusta National during the Masters is 63, or 9 under par.

The honour for having shot the best single round doesn’t go to any of the all time great winners of the tournament. 

Nick Price of Zimbabwe hit 63 in his third round in 1986. He claimed at the time that he could have done better if his hungover caddie hadn’t been giving him incorrect distances throughout the round.  

Ten years later, in 1996, Australian Greg Norman opened with a 63, matching the 9 under record held by Price. 

More from the countdown series: the history of the green jacket

It’s not just the winners who make history

Although great golfers, neither Price nor Norman were able to convert their record rounds into a tournament win and neither man would win a green jacket throughout their careers. In 1986, Price watched Jack Nicklaus win his record breaking 6th Masters. In 1996, Nick Faldo took his 3rd, still the most by any European.

Norman, who was 41 at the time, famously choked in the final round of the 1996 Masters after having maintained a six stroke lead ahead of Nick Faldo. 

Norman started the final round of the 1996 Masters with good prospects, with the crowd eager to see him make history. (Image: Allsport/Getty)

There has been much speculation in the sports world since then about what caused one of golf’s most famous chokes. Reports since then suggest that overthinking and pressure to perform caused the decisive slipup on the last day.

He later told phycologist Rick Jensen that he “didn’t sleep a wink” on the Saturday night before his 78 in the final round. Faldo ended up winning by 5 strokes.

This article is part of our Countdown to The Masters series. Join us every day between now and April 7 for fun facts and interesting stories about golf and The Masters tournament.

Highlights Tours

10: If 2020 was a golf shot

With just 10 days to go until this year’s Masters, let’s recap one of the low points from last year.

If you can cast your mind all the way back to November last year, you’ll remember one of the most gut-wrenching moments of last year: Tiger Woods’ 10.

The five times Masters champion disappointed fans by hitting 10 strokes at the par 3 12th hole at Augusta during the final round of the 2020 tournament in November last year. 

More from the countdown series: Masters winners by nationality

The defending champion made an incredible comeback in 2019, winning the Masters for the first time in 14 years following a string of various physical injuries.

After much deliberation and confusion about the direction of the wind, Woods shot the ball into the water a total of three times, the last time from a bunker on the other side of the green. 

“I committed to the wrong wind,” he said afterwards, “I thought the wind would come off the right but it came off the left”.

“This is unlike any other sport, you’re so alone out there, you have to figure out how to fight”.

Just goes to show that even legends make mistakes sometimes.

Woods was hoping compete at this year’s event before a car crash in the Los Angeles area last month that left him with severe leg injuries.

He is currently in recovery and is undergoing physical therapy. Many celebrities and famous figures reached out to offer their support.

Fans, while disappointed that he won’t be participating in this year’s Masters, have been expressing their relief on social media that the crash had not been fatal or caused any more serious injuries.

This article is part of our Countdown to The Masters series. Join us every day between now and April 7 for fun facts and interesting stories about golf and The Masters tournament.


Restrictions Eased: Golf Back in England

After a long wait and a bleak winter, restrictions are finally starting to ease in England.

The sun is shining, birds are chirping, and we can now take part in a limited selection of government sanctioned outdoor activities like tennis, grassroots football and golf.

In accordance with the government’s plan to gradually ease lockdown measures, golf courses across England have been given the green light to reopen from the March 29th.

England’s courses have been closed since January 5th in order to limit community spread of COVID-19.

The decision was confirmed by vaccines minister, Nadhim Zahawi, in a series of televised press interviews on Monday 22nd February.

Golf came back in Wales on Saturday March 13th, while courses in Scotland remained open throughout the Winter, albeit with limited capacity.

Casual golfers or anyone looking to start a new hobby may not be setting up their first post-lockdown tee for a little while yet. A large number of clubs in England have reopened to members only as a way to keep numbers down as restrictions continue to be in place.

Players will still have to maintain social distancing and other measures to limit the risk of spreading COVID-19. (Image: Getty)

Club houses are set to open up to guests on April 12th, with hungry golfers only allowed to bring takeaway food and drink in the meantime.

Attempts to reopen courses earlier than March 29th were unsuccessful.

England Golf and the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Golf published a report detailing how golf could be played safely in accordance with COVID-19 health guidelines, which led to strong public criticism of the government’s decision to close golf courses.

Criticism of the decision frequently centred on impacts on mental and physical health.

A petition to reopen golf courses immediately gained more than 130,000 signatures. It was debated in parliament one week ago on the 22nd of March, with no decision reached to open earlier than the planned date.

“Sport is crucial for our mental and physical health,” the government responded to the petition in a statement on the 18th of January.

Other outdoor activities like tennis and football are allowed from today. Prime minister Boris Johnson has described such activities as the “best way to restore freedom while minimising risk”.

March 29th is a big step forward in the government’s reopening programme which is currently still on track to be over by the 21st of June 2021.

Highlights Tours

11: Masters Winners by Country

Often referred to as US Masters, qualifying golfers from all over the world are invited every year, not just Americans.

While it may be true that most competing players – and winners – have been American, there are 11 countries in total who have won the major at one point or another in its 87 year history. 

The Masters is becoming more diverse than ever. In 2021, players representing 23 different countries have been invited to compete.

Of the 87 players, 46 are international players while just 41 are US nationals. 

Carlos Oritz of Mexico and Englishman Joe Long are among a handful of players making their Masters debut this year. 

Ahead of the 2021 event, here’s how the winners’ nationalities have been divided up so far: 

United States – 62 wins

South Africa – 5 wins

Spain – 5 wins

England – 4 wins

Germany – 2 wins

Scotland – 1 win

Wales – 1 win

Fiji – 1 win

Canada – 1 win

Argentina – 1 win

Australia – 1 win

Gary Player became the first non-American player to win the Masters in 1961. 

Player won over 160 professional tournaments on six continents over seven decades and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1974. 

Honorary starters and Masters champions Gary Player of South Africa (left) and Jack Nicklaus (right) stand on the first tee during the First Tee ceremony to start the first round of the 2019 Masters. (Image: Getty)

More from the countdown series: the highest score in Masters history

Nick Faldo became the first non-American to successfully defend his title and win the tournament two years in a row in 1989 and 1990.

The Englishman shares the record for most consecutive wins with two of golf’s biggest legends, Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus.

This article is part of our Countdown to The Masters series. Join us every day between now and April 7 for fun facts and interesting stories about golf and The Masters tournament.

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12: Where did the Green Jacket Tradition Come From?

Anyone who wins the Masters is allowed to keep the famous green jacket for 12 months, until the next event is played.

After that, the jackets are kept in Augusta in their very own special-purpose cloakroom.

This tradition, like everything else, was interrupted in 2020 when the 2020 Masters was postponed until November due to the coronavirus outbreak. This means that last year’s winner, Dustin Johnson, will have only had his jacket for 6 months before he has to hand it back in to Augusta National.

2020 aside for a moment, let’s take a look back at the story behind the green jacket in honour of the 12-month tradition.

It was never meant to be part of the award ceremony…

The iconic Masters green jacket was not always given to those who win the tournament in the way it is today. In fact, it was first introduced in 1937 as a uniform for members of the club to wear so that they could be recognised by visitors. 

The first time it was presented to the winner at the award ceremony was in 1949, to Sam Snead.

Snead, who that year didn’t get off to the best start in the first two rounds after posting a 73 and 75 in the first rounds, won by three strokes after posting two consecutive rounds of 67 at the weekend.

Sam Snead (R) stands with Byron Nelson (L) and Gene Sarazen (C) at the 1999 Masters at Augusta National, fifty years after being awarded his first of three green jackets.

Not to be left out of the fun, the jacket was also awarded retrospectively to the previous 12 winners up until then. 

Since then, the previous year’s winner presents that year’s winner with the jacket.

World number 1 Dustin Johnson was awarded the Green Jacket by 2019 Masters champion Tiger Woods during the Green Jacket Ceremony after winning the 2020 Masters. (image: Getty)

Gary Player was famously the only Masters winner who didn’t bring back his jacket the next year after winning his first Masters title in 1961. At the time, he claimed to have accidentally left it at home in South Africa. 

Green jackets for sale, anyone?

Short of winning the Masters itself, the only way you can get your hands on a green jacket of your own is if you have a few hundred thousand dollars to spare.

Horton Smith, the winner of the very first Augusta National Invitation Tournament in 1934, had his jacket sold at auction for $682,229 in 2013. It’s said that no other piece of golf memorabilia has ever sold for such a high price.

Pantone 342 is the official colour of the jacket. However, due to various changes in manufacturers over the years, the tone can differ slightly from year to year. 

It’s just over 2 weeks until we find out who Dustin Johnson will present the next green jacket to.

This article is part of our Countdown to The Masters series. Join us every day between now and April 7 for fun facts and interesting stories about golf and The Masters tournament.

Highlights Tours

Unlucky 13: the record high at the Masters

History is made on the golf course when a player does something that no other player has ever done before.

The best remembered records are usually for players who have – in a good way – outperformed all others in their field.

Unfortunately for Tom Weiskopf, Tommy Nakajima and Sergio Garcia this is not always the case. 

As far as records go, one you probably don’t want on your repertoire is the record for the highest record score above par on a single hole at the Masters – 13.

Last November, many thought that Tiger Woods’ 7 above par on the 12th hole at Augusta might have been the highest on Masters record. It wasn’t, but we’ll get back to that later in the series. 

Tommy Nakajima of Japan, was the first to reach unlucky number 13 at the Masters in 1978 – on the 13th hole, no less. Next came American Tom Weiskopf in 1980 on hole 12 and then, after a long wait, Spaniard Sergio Garcia in 2018 on the 15th. 

More from the countdown series: Apollo 14 and the first golfer in space

“I don’t like to be one of the three that is always going to be mentioned as making the highest score on any hole. But it sure doesn’t haunt me,” Weiskopf said, reflecting on the shot.

Tom Weiskopf reacts to the crowd after sinking an 80-foot putt on the second hole during second round play in the US Open 1996 (Image: Getty)

And neither it should. Weiskopf has had an otherwise successful career, picking up 16 PGA Tour titles and winning the British Open in 1973 in Troon, Scotland. 

It’s Garcia, however, whose 13 on the 15th in 2018 contributed to the single worst round in Masters history: 169, or 97 over par. With that, the previous year’s green jacket winner made history two year in a row.

Sergio Garcia accepts the Green Jacket from Danny Willett after winning in a playoff during the final round of the 2017 Masters Tournament on April 9, 2017 in Augusta, Georgia. (Image: Getty)

No other player can recount such highs and lows at the Masters in such a short space of time.

This article is part of our Countdown to The Masters series. Join us every day between now and April 7 for fun facts and interesting stories about golf and The Masters tournament.

Highlights Tours

14: to Augusta and Beyond

Next up in our countdown series we’re asking: what’s the furthest golf has ever been played from Augusta?

Technically speaking, it’s the moon. Astronauts hit a few golf balls on the moon’s surface during the Apollo 14 mission.

A bit too far to go to get some swing practice?

Apollo 14 was the third manned lunar landing mission. Between January 31 to February 9th 1971, it was commanded by Alan B. Shepard, Jr, who had been the first man in space.

1971: Astronaut Alan B Shepard holds the pole of a US flag on the surface of the moon during the Apollo 14 mission. (Image: Getty)

Of the three astronauts aboard, Edgar D. Mitchell was the youngest at age 40 and lived until 2016.

November 1970: Apollo 14 Lunar Module Pilot Edgar Mitchell. (Image: Getty)

Commander Shepard hit two golf balls with a six-iron head strapped to the handle of a tool used for sample collection.

He also holds the record for the first (and only) extra-terrestrial hole in one after they found one of the golf balls in a crater.

Apollo 14 commander Alan B. Shepard Jr. is seen playing golf using tools he had smuggled in during the mission’s second moonwalk activity on February 6, 1971. (Image: Getty)

The only other sport to be played on the moon is javelin. In the same Apollo 14 mission, Shepard threw a javelin that landed just a few meters ahead of his golf ball.

While there might not be an official course on the moon (yet), there are still plenty of golf courses in extreme locations here on Earth: 

Davis Golf Links in Antarctica: golfers have to play with brightly coloured balls so they don’t get lost in the snow-covered landscape.

Arctic Links in Finland’s Arctic Circle region: in the summer, this course is open all day long due to the 24-hour daylight.

Himalayan Golf Course in Pokhara, Nepal: visiting golfers can play among the clouds, right in front of the worlds largest mountain range.

None of these courses are more extreme than the single par 3 hole at the UN Joint Security Area between North and South Korea. You’d better be confident with your short game as the green is surrounded entirely by land mines!

Maybe it won’t be long until there’s a golf course in space, who knows. Until then, there’s plenty to look forward to down here on Earth with less than two weeks until this year’s first tee time at Augusta.

This article is part of our Countdown to The Masters series. Join us every day between now and April 7 for fun facts and interesting stories about golf and The Masters tournament.

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15 days to go: Augusta wasn’t built in a day

With 15 days to go until the Masters, it’s time to have a closer look at the course at Augusta National itself. 

Did you know that there have been as many as 15 different architects who have led renovation projects on the course since it first opened in January 1933?

Bobby Jones and course architect Alastair Mackenzie designed the Augusta national together, supposedly inspired by the Old Course in St Andrews. Today, we’re looking at some of the biggest changes that have been made over the years- the ones people love and the more controversial choices. 

Let’s start with one of the biggest names in Augusta architecture: Tom Fazio. He has worked as the in-house architect at Augusta since the 1990s and has been responsible for overseeing renovation projects ever since, whether directly or indirectly.

In 2002, Tom Fazio’s design company lengthened nine holes, adding 285 yards to Augusta in total, and made various fairway and bunker changes.

Fazio (L) walks with Fred Couples off a tee box before the start of the 2010 Quail Hollow Championship on April 28, 2010 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Image: Getty)

Four years later, in 2006, Fazio’s team was met with criticism after they did some work on the fifth hole. The tee was shifted and pushed back a full 40 yards.

Other features of the course have not been changed as much over the years. The 10th hole, for example, is virtually unchanged from MacKenzie’s original design. The only really noteworthy adjustment on the 10th was when Perry Maxwell moved the green back all the way in 1937. 

More from the series: Is this the greatest golf shot of the 21st century?

In general, adding distance to holes has been well received. Architects and course designers usually justify such changes as a way to adapt to technological developments in the game. 

Less popular course adjustments involve tree planting.

To explain, when Bobby Jones and Alastair Mackenzie first designed the course, they wanted to give golfers the opportunity to be creative in their shots with wide open fairways. Over the years, architects have planted more and more trees on the course, making the opportunities for creativity ever less frequent. 

There is no better example of how the trees made more creative shots near impossible than on the 17th hole. It has been widely noted that on today’s narrower course, Jack Nicklaus would have never been able to make his legendary tee shot on the 17th in 1986 that led to one of the greatest moments in Masters history. 

Most of the so-called “narrowing” has taken place in rennovation project since 2002.

Marc Leishman of Australia plays his shot from the 17th tee during the second round of the 2018 Masters. Before the changes, the trees on the right would not have blocked a direct path to the green. (Image: Getty)

Tiger Woods is among the many top pros who has criticised the narrowing of Augusta. He claims that the version of the course when he first won in 1997 “wasn’t that hard”.  

This article is part of our Countdown to The Masters series. Join us every day between now and April 7 for fun facts and interesting stories about golf and The Masters tournament.

European Tour

Austrian Golf Open added to 2021 European Tour schedule

The European Tour today announced the Austrian Golf Open will be played at Diamond Country Club in Atzenbrugg from April 15-18, 2021.

The tournament returns to the European Tour’s schedule after last being played in July 2020 when it marked the Tour’s resumption following a three month suspension in the season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Austrian Golf Open, which has a prize fund of €1million, moves into the date vacated by the Tenerife Open at Golf Costa Adeje, which will now take place from April 29 – May 2 following the postponement on Friday of the Portugal Masters at Dom Pedro Victoria Golf Course, in Vilamoura, due to ongoing travel difficulties. 

Keith Pelley, Chief Executive of the European Tour, said: “Throughout the pandemic, we have had to be agile with our scheduling and today’s announcement is another example of that. 

“We are naturally grateful to Diamond Country Club and the Austrian Golf Federation for once again helping us to continue to provide a full schedule and playing opportunities for our members.

“Diamond Country Club is obviously a venue that we know very well, and we look forward to returning there next month.”

Dr. Peter Enzinger, President of the Austrian Golf Federation, said: “We are very proud that the European Tour has, once again, chosen Austria to host a European Tour event and that the Austrian Golf Federation is able to contribute.

“The Covid-19 pandemic continues to pose major challenges for international sporting bodies, but in spite of this, working together with our partners in the Federal Ministry of Sport, we have been able to provide all the necessary information, in a very short space of time, to the European Tour making their decision much easier.

“Diamond Country Club in Atzenbrugg has distinguished itself many times as an excellent host already and we are very happy that Europe’s elite will be teeing off again this year in the region of Lower Austria. Obviously, the tournament will go ahead in compliance with the strictest Covid-19 prevention measures, but they will definitely not detract from the delight of the game of golf at its best.”

Christian Guzy, President of Diamond Country Club, said: “Our long-standing collaboration with the European Tour stems from, and is based on, mutual trust, especially given the difficult circumstances presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Last year, along with the European Tour, we showed courage in hosting the first European Tour tournament of the COVID-era, a challenge we mastered beyond expectations.

“With this year’s tournament, we hope to once again showcase golf in Austria and use the international media presence to support local tourism as the summer season is nearing.

“I am grateful to the everyone at the Austrian Golf Federation and the Ministry for allowing us to represent our country internationally. Of course, we are also grateful to everyone else who has made it possible to organise the 2021 Austrian Golf Open within such a tight timeframe.”

The Austrian Golf Open was first played on the European Tour in 1990 when Major Champion Bernhard Langer won the title.

This year’s tournament will be the 22nd edition and the 11th consecutive time it has been played at Diamond Country Club, in Atzenbrugg, near Vienna, which is part of the European Tour Destinations network of world class golf venues. Scotland’s Marc Warren became the most recent winner of the Austrian Open last July, finishing one shot clear of Germany’s Marcel Schneider to claim his first European Tour victory in six years.                                                                   

(Text: European Tour Communications)