UPDATE: In an interview with Golf Digest, Nick Price said the story Dave McNeilly recounted in the video was “very tongue in cheek” and largely untrue. “He was 100 percent normal,” Price said of McNeilly’s behavior. “If he’d been that drunk, he’d have been looking for another job.”
Dave McNeilly was hungover on that Georgia morning.
The caddie’s golfer was even hotter. It was third round of the 1986 Masters, and McNeilly had given Nick Price the wrong yardage on his approach shot on the first hole at Augusta National. Price flew the green. He was forced to take a drop, he cleaned up for a bogey, and they walked over to the 2nd tee. Price didn’t want to hear from McNeilly again. Especially since he could smell him.
“Walk over to the second tee, he turns around to me and says, ‘David, I can smell the drink off you. Give me the yardage book,’” McNeilly said.
Price was the hottest golfer Augusta National had ever seen after that.
When people ask McNeilly what’s been his worst day on the golf course, his answer is one of Price’s best days.
An Augusta National course-record 63.
“So how this came about was on the Friday, he shot 69, and he made the cut,” McNeilly said on a video tweeted out Sunday by The Tour Caddies website. “So I decided, well, I’m going to go out and I’m going to celebrate that. But I actually overdid it, and I was way, way too drunk when I arrived on the Saturday.”
He was still hurting when they got to 15. Though Price wasn’t, having shot three under on the front nine and having birdied 10, 11, 12 and 13.
“And then he gets to the 15th hole, he hits his tee shot and he stops after about 100 yards and he waits for me — I’m about 50 yards behind him — and he says, ‘David, stop the sulking because this is really, really starting to affect me now,’ ” McNeilly said. “It’s affecting my concentration. So you need to stop the sulking. So now there’s the yardage book. Stop the sulking.’ ”
Price told McNeilly that he hadn’t caught his drive flush on the par 5 and needed only the yardage to lay-up to the water in front of the green.
“So now he comes out and says, ‘Well, how far do we got to the water?’ I said, ‘275 yards,’” McNeilly said, drawing out the words 275.
“He says, ‘Well, you see, that’s a good yardage. I like that. I’m going to hit my 5-wood here.’ And I said, ‘Nick, I love the 5-wood. Get on the 5-wood. Ten, jack, queen, king, ace — it’s the 5-wood.’ ”
Price’s shot did not lay-up to the water.
Price’s shot did not land in the water.
Price’s shot landed 12 feet from the hole.
“So he’s looking at me, and he says, ‘I’m trying to lay up short of the water here, and I’m on the frickin’ green. Give the yardage book back,’ ” McNeilly said. “All right, so that’s it. So he goes ahead and birdies that, and the place is just going ballistic.”
Price adds a birdie on 16. Should he par the closing the closing holes, he beats the course record by a stroke. Should he birdie one of the holes, he sets the record for lowest score in a major championship.
Price pars 17.
He dumps his drive into a trap on 18.
McNeilly wants him just to get out. Price wants him to get out.
“I said, ‘Nick, we’re wasting our time down here. Chip it over the bunker, where we got landmarks, and we’ll take it from there,’ ” McNeilly said. “He says, ‘Well, it looks like a 4-iron to me.’ I said, ‘Well, whatever.’ ”
Price lands it 25 feet from the pin.
A two-putt gives him the Masters record. A birdie gives him the first 62 at a major.
“He’s got a 25-foot putt, hits it, it’s about 4 feet from the hole – it’s one of those ones where you just know what’s happening here – and I go, ‘I’m going to get involved. I’m going to get involved,’” McNeilly said. “And I just go like this, I go, ‘Go in.’
“Horseshoes all the way back. Nick Price, now rolling around the green, putter up in the air, looking at the gods, going, ‘He opened his frickin’ mouth.’
“Worst day of my life.”