Golf is really the only sport where you, yes you, sitting in your cubicle, have an equal opportunity to tee it up against the world’s very best. The US Open is not a misnomer. Any golfer carrying a 1.4 handicap or better, or anyone who claims professional status is eligible to enter local qualifying. If they make it through locals, they go to sectional qualifying. From there, the top sectional players get to play in the US Open. Pretty simple, right?
Well another means of gaining exemption into the US Open is winning the US Amateur. Although not held to the same regard as playing in the US Open, the list of US Amateur winners is pretty insane, including Arnie, Jack, Tiger, and Phil. Qualifying for the US Amateur is no joke either. You have to have amateur status and carry a 2.4 handicap or better, then be one of the top players at one of the sectional qualifying sites.
For those of you who don’t know, any old schmuck can get a handicap. You simply go to a USGA golf course, pay like 40 bucks, and you can start inputting scores. Now I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that 60% of handicaps are pure bullshit in some regard. After all, a handicap can only be accurate if you’re inputting rounds played to the exact rules of golf, and really, who does that on a casual Sunday round? Most people want to have a higher handicap because then when they go to play in the club championship, they can win their flight and the $50 pro shop gift card that goes along with it. This is called sandbagging. It also helps because you can rip your buddies off when playing for money. I’d venture to guess this is what most people keep a handicap for.
Then there are the other people who fudge scores for their handicap to make themselves appear better then they are. These are the Lavar Balls of the golf world. These are the people who tell you they average 300 yards off the tee, when in reality, they do it once a round with a 15 knot wind gust at their back on an elevated tee box. These are the people who dress head to toe in brand-matching white outfits with monogrammed shoes to hit a bucket on the range, before walking round and offering unsolicited swing advice. Enter our good friend, Bill Neistorowich.
Bill showed up to the US Amateur Qualifier at Ledges Golf Club in York, Maine and shot a fucking 112 on 18 holes. The top player at this qualifying site shot 133 on 36 holes. Now listen, I know everyone has an off day. I know courses can play tough and not suit everyone’s eye, but the next worst score was 88. I said in the title of this blog he missed qualifying by 44 strokes, but I just subtracted the difference between his score and the last qualifier’s first score. Had he played two rounds, the difference probably would have been closer to 90 strokes.
As it turns out, our guy Bill wasn’t having an off day. That’s this motherfucker’s MO. Last year, he played in the New Hampshire open and shot a 106-101 to end up in dead last.
Rarely am I left speechless, but this guy truly did it when I first saw his score. According to the GHIN (handicapping system), he entered the Amateur Qualifier as a 1.3 handicap. I know it seems like I’m doxxing this guy or whatever, but I’m not. This is all public information. Anyone can look it up and he knew that going into the tournament! What the fuck do you do after a round like that? You know how serial killers supposedly just don’t have a conscience? Like they bring them into the court room and they’re incapable of feeling guilt. Well, I feel like old Billy is missing his ability to feel shame. Oh, to be a fly on the wall the next time he walks into his home course.
“Hey, Bill, heard you went quadruple bogey, then double bogey, double bogey on the first three holes. Did you have a few kinks in your driver that day?”
“Yeah, the greens were a little quick, but I almost hit a fairway!”
I looked up the distance from the qualifier in York, Maine to his hometown of Fremont, New Hampshire. Its 38 minutes away. What the fuck was that drive home like? How did he not drive himself off one of New England’s scenic cliffs? Are his kids ashamed of him? Did he go home to make delicate love to his wife and think, “ya know, I left a couple strokes out there?” I have so many questions.
You might be wondering why I care at all. You might even think I’m being a hardo. But the thing is that this guy had one par the entire day. While his playing partners were finishing holes in three and four shots, he was was finishing them in 6 or 7 (or 9 for a quintuple bogey on the tenth hole!) It’s a dick move for him to even show up and slow his partners down like that. It would be the equivalent of training for a marathon and your buddy who hasn’t seen a treadmill since high school asks you to run with him on race day.
Historically, the USGA and state golf associations usually work this stuff out. He’ll probably be banned from qualifying events until he can provide reasonable evidence that he won’t pull this shit again. So I guess at the end of the day, I kind of have to respect his boldness.