This article was originally published in 2009.
To call Mark Roberts the Tiger Woods of streaking would be an insult — to Roberts. Tiger’s 12 majors? Please. Since 1993, Roberts has streaked 449 events in 13 countries, including three British Opens and a Ryder Cup. Nearing retirement, the 42-year-old Roberts bared all about baring it all.
One of your more famous streaks was at the 1995 Open at St. Andrews, where you stormed the 18th green on Sunday just after John Daly putted out for the title. Walk us through it.
As with all my streaks, I didn’t want to interfere with the game. As soon as the ball went into the hole, I jumped on. I had children’s golf clubs on me shoulder, a cloth cap and “19th hole” written on me back with an arrow pointing to me butt. The police were laughing their heads off as they chased me around the green and down the fairway. When I was arrested, the police were laughing so much they could hardly ask me questions. It was fantastic.
Did Daly say anything to you?
No, not at all. I was going to go up to him and shake his hand because that’s what some golfers do. But when his wife came on, I ran away because she looked at me like, “What the hell’s going on here?” I didn’t want to cause any more hassle for the man.
How did you get into streaking?
I worked in a bar in Hong Kong 14 years ago, and there was a rugby event on called the Rugby 7s. There was a girl who streaked (the event) on the Saturday, and I was at a bar that evening. I said to me friends, “Oh, come on, anybody can streak.” I had no intention of doing it, but the next day I had a couple more beers. I went into the stadium and it was like a carnival; everybody was dancing and singing — it was fantastic. So (when the game started) I jumped on the pitch, took the ball from the best rugby team in the world (the New Zealand All Blacks) and scored a try (like a touchdown). The whole stadium started screaming their heads off, cheering like mad. Even the All Blacks rugby team started to clap.
You’re not embarrassed?
When I did the first one in Hong Kong I was absolutely — excuse my French — s*****ing myself. I’m not a big guy down there either, you know. So when I jumped on I was just trying to make sure I didn’t lose face with my friends. But when the crowd went crazy I forgot all about being naked. People say to me now and then, “You’ve only got a little one.” And I say, “I didn’t know an inch could take me so far.”
What goes through your head as you disrobe?
Your adrenalin is at a fever pitch. If anyone sat next to you and they looked at your chest, they’d see your heart beating through your shirt.
At the 2006 Ryder Cup at the K Club, you dashed across the 18th green before J.J. Henry and Paul McGinley had finished their match. That was poor streaking etiquette, no?
Biggest mistake of my streaking career. I saw one ball get putted, and I waited for a while and I thought, “Is it finished?” So I called to somebody (with a better view), and he said, “Yeah, it’s finished. It’s all over; it’s done.” So I jumped onto the green while (Henry) was lining up his putt. I couldn’t believe I’d jumped on while someone was lining up his putt. That was not my intention, and I’d never made a mistake like that in me whole career. When I tried to get off the green I saw the police waiting for me, so I turned around and belly-flopped into the lake. What I didn’t realize was that because (McGinley) conceded the hole, it cost Europe the most points won over the U.S. in Ryder Cup history. It’s not something I wanted on me C.V., so to speak.
Any tips for aspiring streakers?
Leave it the professionals. (Laughs.) You need to time it right so you don’t interfere with the event. Be prepared to spend the night in jail. Don’t eat spicy food the night before. Tell your mother you’re going to be late home for your tea. And know that it’s going to be a day you’ll never, ever forget.
Are there any other upcoming golf tournaments where we can look for you?
No. I think golf has seen its fair share of me.
So the R&A needn’t worry about you at Carnoustie?
No, not at all.
Your fans will be disappointed.
Thank you for the encouragement.