If you gave a professional golfer who has played in the Ryder Cup 500 straight shots at a 145-yard par-3, would he make a hole-in-one?
That is the question the European Tour asked of Edoardo Molinari, the 36-year-old Italian who featured on the winning European team at Celtic Manor in 2012 and has 10 tournament victories worldwide to his name.
And the answer was nearly a spectacular ‘yes’ on the very first shot. Molinari’s 9-iron pitched right next to the cup and span towards its target, before finishing just four inches from the hole.
Edoardo Molinari takes up the challenge of trying to score a hole-in-one given 500 shots
His very first effort nearly went in, with the ball stopping just four inches from the hole
What followed from then was a sometimes hilarious, sometimes frustrating and sometimes simply staggering 12 hours of chasing what is every golfer’s dream: an ace.
The odds of an average golfer making a hole-in-one are roughly 100,000-1, while the European Tour says stats suggest one of their players’ chances are closer to one in 2,500.
So if Molinari was going to achieve his task, he would have to beat the odds.
Molinari’s 74th shot rolled an inch past the cup. ‘Keep hitting it like this then it’s going to happen,’ he said.
Molinari suffered as he tried all day to hole out from 145 yards with his 9-iron
The task left the Italian exasperated as he chased the ace that every golfer dreams of
Shot No 153 was almost perfect, very nearly landing straight in the hole. But to Molinari’s amazement it rebounded off the flag and away from the target.
‘This is taking the p*** now,’ he spat.
As shot No 361 pitched inches away before spinning towards the hole then stopping a fraction short, Molinari sank to his knees and rolled on the turf in despair.
‘I’m about to cry I promise you,’ he moaned.
Through the course of the day Molinari put 498 shots on the green; 189 of those stopped within six feet of the flag. Quite brilliant ball-striking.
Yet still no ace.
‘Kaput!’ said Molinari as he flopped down onto his back in defeat, before swearing a few more times for good measure.
Golf, if you ever needed reminding, is hard.