Brian Barnes' French Open Meltdown? 12 Putts on a Par-3

What happens when you lose your cool over a missed putt during a casual round of golf? You might slap your putter at the ball a couple times, missing the hole, until you are finally able to tap it in. Hey, who's counting. But we don't expect that sort of tantrum to get the better of a pro tour golfer. In 1968, at the French Open, it did. And Brian Barnes' tantrum resulted in a score of 15 on a par-3 hole.

It happened in the second round, and Barnes was playing well up to that point. The eighth hole on the Golf de Saint-Cloud golf course, outside Paris, was a short par-3 hole. Barnes, a Scottish golfer who eventually won nine times on the European Tour and played in six Ryder Cups, put his shot between three and four feet from the cup.

Barnes had a reputation as a hard partier, a heavy drinker, and an eccentric. Perhaps some of those qualities had something to do with what happened next. What happened next? He lost his head, and any chance at the golf tournament.

Barnes line up his 3-to-4-foot putt and stroked the ball. He was a decent putter, not great, but not bad, either. This short putt, however, lipped out. Barnes reached across the hole with his putter and tried to rake the tap-in into the cup. He missed. Then he missed again. And again and again.

Really incensed now, Barnes jabbed at the ball while it was still moving, earning his first penalty. He missed another several attempts, then, earning another penalty, he finally stood over the golf ball, his feet on either side of it — he straddled the putt, in other words — and managed get the ball into the hole.

Twelve putts, two penalty strokes, and a score of 15 on a par-3 hole for Brian Barnes in the 1968 French Open. Certainly one of golf's greatest (or is that worst?) meltdowns.

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