Annika Sorenstam, a legendary golfer for whom I have great respect, has said that someone will eventually shoot 54.

54 is a golf number with which I am familiar. I can recall numerous rounds in which I shot 54 – on either the front or back nine.

To shoot 54 over an 18-hole course seems nearly impossible, and, in fact, so far that has been the case.

The lowest recognized round is 55, shot by Rhein Gibson, a professional player from Australia, on a course in Oklahoma. He had 12 birdies and two eagles on a par-71 course. And he likely had several celebratory beers afterward.

The lowest PGA Tour round, a 58, was recorded by veteran Jim Furyk, who put together nines of 27-31 in 2016.

Best on the women’s tour is a 59 by none other than Sorenstam, who shot 28-31 in Phoenix in 2001, logging a remarkable 13 birdies.

What about Tiger? Jack? Arnie? Woods leads the Big Three in going low, having shot 61 four times. Nicklaus and Palmer both shot 62, two times each.

So none of the game’s acknowledged giants has even been within shouting distance of 54.

What makes Sorenstam think it will happen?

Look at the raw numbers, and it doesn’t look overly difficult. Let’s imagine a typical par-72 course with two par fives, two par threes and five par fours – a standard layout – on each side. It’s possible to shoot 54 on this course without scoring an eagle. All you gotta do is birdie every hole. That’s a minus 18 score, and that’s a 54.

Or, let’s assume eagles on two of the par fives. Accomplish that, and your round can include pars on two of the par fours, and you still get your 54.

Or, hammer out eagles on all four par fives (this isn’t crazily  difficult for golfers of the professional persuasion), and that gives you the fudge room of adding two more pars on the par fours.

All in all, seems pretty simple. Major surprise that no one has done it.

Consider Bryson DeChambeau. With a bit more strength training, he eventually might be able to drive most par fours. This would put him in position to eagle those holes, making lower scores even more likely. None of the previous “54” scenarios include eagles on par fours.

Imagine eagling four par fives and birdieing every other hole. That’s a 25-25 – 50. The talent exists in the professional ranks to record that number, but, of course, everything would have to go perfectly and every putt – no matter how long and twisting – would have to fall.

These easy-chair exercises in addition and subtraction seem to make 54 a possibility. But it’s worth noting that Jack Nicklaus hasn’t done it and hasn’t even come close.

That’s an indication that it might never happen.

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.