Mental Floss

Brain Game: Unfairway


It's Tuesday Test Time! Fore!

Tim and Tom were well-matched golfers. Playing their favorite 18-hole, 72-par course, both enjoyed the same exact score heading to the final two holes.

Tim scored a par on the 17th hole and a hole-in-one on the 18th hole. Tom scored a double-eagle on the 17th hole and a par on the 18th hole. Who won the golfing match between these two?

Here is the ANSWER.


Most likely, TOM won the game.

The 17th hole must have been a par-5 in order for Tom to score a double-eagle, so he earned -3 on this hole while Tim broke even.

On the 18th hole, which must have been a par-3, Tom made par to break even, and Tim hit a hole-in-one to go -2 for the hole.

So over these two holes, Tom gained one stroke (-3 to -2) to win the game by a single stroke.

IMPORTANT NOTE: While it's possible that the 18th hole could have had a par higher than 3, it's unlikely. In the history of the PGA Tour, only once has player has made a hole-in-one on a par 4, so it's extremely unlikely that either of these two amateurs would pull off such a feat. However, if your answer was that the players were tied or that it's technically impossible to determine who won, you're correct. The purpose of this puzzle was just to make you think (and perhaps learn) a little bit.