The Old Course at St. Andrews may have yielded some low scores at the Open Championship this week, but the Road Hole, its famous par-4 17th, remains as tough as ever.
Often called the “toughest hole in golf,” 17 played .655 strokes over par throughout the event, nearly half a stroke tougher than the next toughest hole.
The Road Hole surrendered just nine birdies and produced 203 pars, 217 bogeys and 43 double bogeys or worse after being played 472 times over four rounds.
The world’s best stumbled on 17 when it mattered most. A bogey on 17 kept eventual winner Zach Johnson from winning in regulation and Grand Slam candidate Jordan Spieth from entering the four-hole playoff.
In that playoff, the 17th stood strong again as all three players — Johnson, Louis Oosthuizen and Marc Leishman — finished with bogeys, with Johnson having to make an 8-foot putt to avoid a double. In the five times he played the hole, the 2015 Champion Golfer of the Year made par just once.
Johnson had a clever way of summing it up on Thursday afternoon. According to Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard, when Johnson was told there had been no birdies on 17 that day, he responded: “That’s not right, the group in front of us all made 4s.”