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Wednesday, September 21, 2005

How Many Shots Does It Take To Make a Hole-In-One?


There's a mildly interesting story from the Tall Corn State playing itself out on Court TV.

If you're familiar with charity golf events and similar tournaments, you're probably familiar with the concept of "buy a mulligan". This is the key concept in a recent lawsuit between the FFA and the kid pictured. See:
The gist is this: Kid enters tournament sponsored by the FFA (which apparently no longer calls itself "Future Farmers of America"; I wonder why the change?). Kid buys 5 "mulligans" (if he doesn't like a shot he plays, he can use one of the "mulligans" he bought to re-hit the shot). On a par 3 hole where a hole-in-one is rewarded with a big prize ($10,000 in this case), Kid hits crap shot, elects to use mulligan, then hits hole-in-one. The FFA says thyat since he used the mulligan, he's not entitled to the prize (one reason the FFA is giving is because the insurance the FFA bought expressly excludes coverage for mulligan efforts). Kid says he was going to use the $10,000 for tuition to college his first year (awwwwwww....).

My anecdotal experience in these matters is that when I've been involved in those sorts of tournaments, the organizers expressly tell you that you can not win the "big prize" for a hole-in-one if you make the hole-in-one when you're using a purchased mulligan.

If the FFA didn't make this clear during this tournament, the FFA should lose. Interestingly, the FFA did give his team a score of "1" on that hole. They dispute only that he is entitled to the big prize (the $10,000). This argument is especially strong since the FFA's insurance expressly excluded mulligans from coverage (so presumably the FFA should have been alert to this issue).

It's interesting (mildly) to think about this issue from the insurance company's point of view as well. It is extremely difficult to make a hole-in-one. The odds of one golfer making a hole-in-one on any one swing are about 33,000 to 1 against (from one of the FAQs on that page). It's hard to imagine that those odds appreciate materially if you take a mulligan on any one hole. But apparently the insurance company thinks they do.

At least enough to have an express exclusion in the policy.

CONCLUSION:
Based on the info I've seen to date, the FFA should lose. It sounds like the FFA screwed up. Also, I'm stunned this case made it to trial. It's impossible to imagine the FFA could take this to trial for less than $10,000 (the amount of the big prize). And what horrible publicity. Poor kid was thinking he'd won his tuition money for next year. Or drinking money, anyway.

UPDATE:
Apparently the case settled. That's dull.

6 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, this your wife, huh? A lovely lady. Hey baby, you must've been something before electricity.

11:44 AM, September 21, 2005  
Anonymous spackler said...

This is a hybrid. This is a cross, ah, of Bluegrass, Kentucky Bluegrass, Featherbed Bent, and Northern California Sensemilia. The amazing stuff about this is, that you can play 36 holes on it in the afternoon, take it home and just get stoned to the bejeezus-belt that night on this stuff.

11:45 AM, September 21, 2005  
Anonymous Danny said...

Noonan!

11:56 AM, September 21, 2005  
Anonymous White Sox Baseball said...

Hawk: DJ?

DJ: Yes Hawk?

Hawk: I luv yellow mustard.

DJ: You do.

Hawk: YEE-es.

This is White Sox baseball. Catch the fever.

2:14 PM, September 21, 2005  
Blogger Dongley Shlongford said...

This must mean his first shot was a rim shot.

2:45 PM, September 21, 2005  
Anonymous Chris's wife said...

I have linked from The Only Living Boy in Des Moines site to yours Rhet. It's interesting to find you discussing this. Our part-time employee was the FFA officer that testified. She cannot say anything about the settlement.

2:27 PM, September 22, 2005  

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