On a day of PGA chaos, an unexpected hero emerges

Mark Hubbard

Mark Hubbard on Friday on the 15th green at Valhalla Golf Club.

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. — He’s to the right of the 7th green, his ball buried, and he tries to loft one to a downhill flag about 20 yards away. It doesn’t work. He comes up long. His ball goes about 10 yards past the hole. After a two-putt for par, he makes eye contact with a familiar face and mouths some creative English. 

A hole later, he’s now 7 feet away for birdie. He misses. He tilts forward over his putter as if it’s stabbed him in his belly, which it kinda has. After he cleans up for par, he also gives a look back at the break, which he still believes doesn’t exist. 

He also believes that if he weren’t a golfer, he’d have been packed up for French Polynesia by now and be tending bar. That’s some image.

He also deploys a ‘snail’ putt. You have to see this, and you can in a sec.

He also seemingly saw Scottie Scheffler’s police report. Questioned it. Called himself fat in response. 

And Mark Hubbard just might win this thing.


Some introduction is in order, but know this: On a day of PGA Championship chaos at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky, a king has emerged, unlikely as Hubbard may be. He’s more flavorful than the bourbon here. Packs just as much of a punch, too. 

He’s needed. Early Friday, the news was of the grimmest kind. A tournament vendor had been killed after being struck by a shuttle bus. Shortly afterward, Scheffler was arrested by Louisville police after he had tried to enter the course as traffic in the area snarled, was stopped by an officer and continued driving, causing injury, according to an incident report. He is to face four charges, though he eventually did return to the course and shot a 66.  

Serious matters. Didn’t matter. Soon, social media shared the police report. Said Scheffler was 6-foot-3 and 170. The former checked out to Hubbard. But not his girth. “No f-ing way Scottie only weighs 170…f*$& I’m fat,” HomelessHubbs wrote on social media after arriving at the course. By 6:30 Friday night, the thought had received over 200,000 views. 

Did he know it was spreading?

“No, no, no idea.” 

“What spurred that one on?” 

“I just, I mean, I saw as everybody did the mug shot and the police report,” Hubbard said, “and I’m glad he made his tee time and, I mean, unbelievable that he gets arrested and then goes out and shoots 66. That just speaks to how good he’s playing. He can’t — you can’t stop him right now. But, yeah, I saw that. I’m like, Scottie’s bigger than me; there’s no way he’s 170. Like I got to get in the gym and stop eating so much of my kids’ leftover mac and cheese.”


But the funniest thing here is, Hubbard’s also been striping it. On Thursday, during the PGA Championship’s first round, he fired a six-under 65. On Friday, he birdied his opening hole, the par-5 10th, after a wedge to 11 feet. He birdied the par-4 12th after dropping an iron to 10 feet. On the par-5 18th, he wedged his ball to 7 feet and birdied. The second nine was untidier. Parred 1. Bogeyed 2. Birdied 3 and 4. Bogeyed 5 and 6. The 7 and 8 results are at the top of this story. But then he birdied the par-4 9th, his closing hole, and he shot a three-under 68 and he was strokes off the lead.

All of it’s continued a surge, too. A pro since 2012, Hubbard has carved out a desirable career for himself. Nine mill in PGA Tour winnings. Thirteen PGA Tour top 10s. But no wins. Just one runner-up, in 2019, at the Houston Open. But something’s also clicked this year for the 34-year-old. No missed cuts. Thirteen events. Third paychecks. You can never time these kind of things, but you love it when they come. 

“Yeah, I mean, it’s kind of just been one thing or the other each week,” Hubbard said. “Some weeks I’ve driven it really well, some weeks my irons have been great, some weeks I’ve done it all with my putter. So I’m kind of waiting for that week where it all comes together. But I think that speaks to the work I’ve done with my coach and just getting my whole game a little more consistent. I feel like mentally I’ve been pretty good, too. So, yeah, it’s just been a solid year and like I said, hopefully I can get a tournament where it all comes together.”

There’s more here, though, of course. Hubbard’s personable. There are no cliches here. Nothing vanilla. 

There’s the French Polynesia thing. That’s on Hubbard’s profile on the PGA Tour’s website, where it reads:

“If not a professional golfer, he would probably just move to Bora Bora, open a tiki bar and disappear off the grid.”


“I mean, look at this weather,” Hubbard said, referring to a rainy, muddy, sunless Louisville day. “That sounds pretty good right now, doesn’t it?”

Scottie Scheffler on Friday at the PGA Championship.
The full story of Scottie Scheffler’s shocking arrest: How tragedy, chaos struck at PGA
By: Dylan Dethier

There’s also the ‘snail’ thing. It’s what he calls a move he’s performed a handful of times with his putter. It’s indescribable, though a GOLF.com story once tried.

To do the Snail like him:

You hold the putter with your left hand.

You shuffle your feet. 

You extend your right arm out parallel to your shoulders. 

You extend your pinky finger out, too. 

You start to gyrate, while circling your right arm out in front of you, while squatting downward. 

You grip the putter just above the head with your right pinky, while staying hunched over. 

You putt! 

Below is a video:

Which begs a question:

“If you win on Sunday or you’re ahead big on Sunday, will we see the Snail? 

“We definitely will not,” Hubbard said. “I actually, the last two tournaments, I’ve switched to a longer putter, so it’s even further down there for me to bend, and I’m getting older, got my 35th birthday coming up here next week, and, yeah, I’m not trying to get that low to the ground.”

That’s OK. Success from the unexpected king on a day of chaos has been welcome. A win would be extraordinary, though. It would be his first, at 34, after 12 years a pro. 

One more story. One more revelation about Hubbard. It maybe says the most about the man.

His press conference on Friday ended with this exchange, started by a reporter: 

“If you won Sunday, what would that mean?” 

“Oh, yeah, I mean, if I win an opposite field event, it’s great, let alone a major,” Hubbard said. “At the end of the day, though, I mean, my life’s awesome, I got a great family and two great kids. I got to sleep in an extra hour and play with stuffed animals with my oldest daughter in bed. That’s what it’s all about. 

“This is so cool being here and feeling like I can actually compete, but it’s just my job, it’s a job that I really, really like and I really, really care about, but it changed my bank account, but not much else.”

Nick Piastowski

Nick Piastowski

Golf.com Editor

Nick Piastowski is a Senior Editor at Golf.com and Golf Magazine. In his role, he is responsible for editing, writing and developing stories across the golf space. And when he’s not writing about ways to hit the golf ball farther and straighter, the Milwaukee native is probably playing the game, hitting the ball left, right and short, and drinking a cold beer to wash away his score. You can reach out to him about any of these topics — his stories, his game or his beers — at nick.piastowski@golf.com.

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