Sometimes in golf it’s just hard to find dry land.

Kim Si Woo, who plays golf for a living, experienced this reality in the worst sort of way during the final round of the WGC tournament in Memphis Sunday. By now you’ve likely heard that Kim shot a 13 – a 13! – on the par 3 11th hole at the TPC Southwind course.

Most of us have been there. 

Not to the Southwind course. 

To the score of 13.

It’s easy enough. A shank here, a fat shot there. A drowned ball. A ball lost to the wilderness. Four putts. Before you know it, you’re at a number that’s difficult – in more ways than one – to pencil in on the scorecard. Some of those scorecard boxes are so tiny.

To Kim’s eternal credit, he didn’t explode and throw his club or his bag or his caddie into the water. After hitting five straight shots into the lake, his 11th landed on the earth. Two shots later, he’s finally in the hole. 

To be fair, the hole is menacing. The island green is somewhat of a copy of the famous 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass, one of the world’s most spotlighted island greens, one that the regular golfer would approach with trembling knees and chattering dentures.

Kim’s score of 13 is the worst on a par 3 in a regular PGA tour event since 1983. This is not the kind of notation one wants beside one’s name in the record books. And it’s likely to remain there for some time.

Incredibly, Kim retained his composure and actually birdied the next hole. He finished the round with a 78, an embarrassing score for a pro but, considering the 13, quite nice.

In the interests of keeping those of us who are very amateur golfers sane, here are verified ways to avoid a 13 score:

  • When the alarm sounds for your morning round, roll over and go back to sleep. It’s so pleasant to do that. When your playing partner arrives to pick you up, send the dog out to chase him away.
  • Agree with your playing partners that double (or triple) par will be everybody’s worst score on every hole. This works like magic.
  • Skip water holes entirely, and just pencil in a par. The only water on golf courses should be in the ballwashers.
  • If you reach 11 strokes on a hole, announce that you’ve suddenly become dehydrated and that you have to leave. Wait at the next teebox and announce that you’ve suddenly recovered, thanks to the arrival of the drink cart. Resume round.
  • If you happen upon Kim Si Woo, ask for advice. Gingerly.

Mike Hembree

Mike Hembree is a veteran journalist who has covered a variety of sports for numerous publications and websites, including USA Today, Fox Sports, TV Guide and The Greenville (S.C.) News. He has written 14 books and has won numerous writing awards at the national, regional and state levels. He is a seven-time winner of the National Motorsports Press Association Writer of the Year Award.