The Meaning of Bleeding/Stop the Bleeding in Golf

Maybe you've heard an announcer say on a golf broadcast something along the lines of, "Golfer X started bleeding on the third hole," or heard one golfer say to another something like, "You really need to stop the bleeding." In golf, those expressions are lingo referring to poor play.

The "bleeding" in those phrases refers to bleeding strokes: the golfer who is playing poorly is bleeding strokes, meaning losing strokes to par. If Golfer X started "bleeding strokes on the third hole," that golfer might have made a double bogey on the third hole, then followed it up with a couple more bogeys. The specific scores change, but the meaning stays the same: a golfer who is "bleeding" is dropping shots to par through poor play and miscues.

And "stopping the bleeding"? Of course, that means getting your poor play under control again. A golfer who "needs to stop the bleeding" is one who is not playing well and needs a good, solid stroke or one good hole to right the ship and get the round back on track. Saying, "I stopped the bleeding with a par on the sixth hole" implies that the holes before No. 6 didn't go so well for the golfer.

As an example from the world of major championship golf, consider what the New York Post wrote about Tiger Woods' second-round play in the 2022 Masters Tournament.

"Woods got off to a rough start in the second round, bogeying four of his first five holes. That dropped him from a tie for 10th at the start of the day to a tie for 39th," the Post's reporter wrote. But, the writer said, Woods "... finally stopped the bleeding with a two-putt par on the par-3 sixth."

More golf lingo:

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