A golfer’s hole-in-one joy has turned to horror when he suffered an ankle injury while celebrating wildly during the US Masters warmup.
Tony Finau’s debut at the Masters is in jeopardy after his left ankle buckled beneath him as he jumped and cheered his ace on the seventh hole on Thursday.
The 28-year-old scored the hole-in-one during the Par 3 contest, which is an informal, pre-tournament tradition at the US Masters.
He almost immediately popped his ankle back into place and carried on. But he declined to speak to reporters after leaving the ninth green, instead heading directly to the physio.
X-rays later showed it was not broken, with Finau now waiting on the results of an MRI scan before deciding whether to go ahead with the tournament.
“Crazy day. Thanks for thoughts of concern, messages and prayers from all. I’m optimistic,” he wrote on Twitter.
Good grief, Tony Finau wrecked his ankle celebrating a hole in one pic.twitter.com/8o7JxVi3xQ
— CJ Fogler (@cjzero) April 4, 2018
Hole-in-one celebrations were much sweeter for golfing legend Jack Nicklaus, when he allowed his caddie and grandson Gary Nicklaus to tee off during the Par 3 contest – and he also scored an ace.
The 78-year-old, known affectionately as The Golden Bear, described watching his grandson’s feat as the number one moment of his career.
“What I did doesn’t make any difference to me. But watching your grandson do something special, I have a few tears,” said 18-time Major winner Nicklaus.
“We talked about three days ago and said ‘GT do you want to hit the ball on nine?’ and he said ‘sure’. I said, ‘well I think you’re going to make a hole-in-one’. It’s his first.
“You always want the best for your kids and your grandkids and to watch a grandkid come along and knock in a hole-in-one on the biggest venue in the world wow … I mean what a day.”
Watch Gary Nicklaus Jr’s hole-in-one below:
Jack Nicklaus added: “This is probably my favourite week of the year and this is a special tournament, golf is a sport that I love and for that to happen is just unbelievable.”
Meanwhile, veteran Tom Watson became the oldest winner of the traditional Masters warm-up.
Watson, 68, finished six under par in the nine-hole event to finish a shot ahead of Tommy Fleetwood, who partners Tiger Woods and Marc Leishman in the first two rounds of the tournament proper.
Since the contest started in 1960, nobody has ever become par-three and Masters champion in the same week, so Fleetwood had Watson to thank.
Watson, who lost a play-off for the 2009 Open Championship at the age of 59, told ESPN: “I won it one other time a long time ago and of course I didn’t win the tournament that year, but since I’m not playing the tournament I said ‘Let’s go for it this year.”