A score of 3-under par on a golf hole, whether it’s dubbed a double eagle or an albatross, is close to the game’s Holy Grail, which few golfers ever come close to obtaining.
Danny Syring, 27, of Tampa, Fla., was in the same boat until last Sunday. That’s when Syring performed the unthinkable at the Nicklaus Tournament Course at PGA West in La Quinta, making two double eagles in the same round.
“I wouldn’t believe it if it hadn’t happened to me,” Syring stated.
Syring made a 2 on the par-5 11th hole of the Nicklaus Tournament Course, holing a 6-iron from 200 yards, in a foursome with his father Kevin, a PGA professional from New Jersey, and friends Jay and Renate Green of La Quinta. Syring then hit a 5-iron from 205 yards on the difficult par-5 15th hole, which has an island green.
“It almost sounds like a fish story if I wasn’t there,” said the elder Syring, a 40-year PGA pro and head pro at Deer Run Golf and Tennis Club in Lincoln Park, New Jersey.
“If I hadn’t seen it myself, I wouldn’t be repeating this story,” Jay Green said. “However, it was simply extraordinary, unbelievable.” For the past 63 years, I’ve been playing golf. A double eagle is something I’ve never seen before.”
Syring’s is only the third known case of a player making two double eagles in the same round, according to Michael Christensen of the website doubleeagleclub.org. Both times, the golfers made two holes-in-one on short par 4s, the first in 1964 and the second in 2015.
According to Christensen’s website, the odds of making a single double eagle are impossible to calculate, with estimates ranging from 1 million to 6 million to 1 on the internet.
“On the (PGA Tour), there might be one or two double eagles and 15 or 20 holes-in-one certain years,” Christensen added.
“Danny usually makes fun of me because I’ve made 11 aces and he hasn’t,” the elder Syring explained. “However, I’ve been playing golf for 50 years and have never had one, and I’ve only seen two before that day.”
Syring hit his tee shot on the 490-yard par-5 11th hole into the thick Bermuda rough just left of the fairway while playing with his father from the Nicklaus Tournament Course’s blue tees.
Syring remarked, “I had 200 yards and struck a kind of high, thin 6-iron.” “I always felt it was because I shot the ball so high that I never had a hole-in-one. First, I’m not lucky, and second, I hit the ball so high that it falls to the ground and comes to a halt.”
When the foursome arrived at the green, Syring’s ball was nowhere to be found.
“When my wife came out of the cart, she asked, ‘Danny, where is your ball?’ and he answered I think it’s in the hole,” Green explained. “And it was my wife who was the first to look in the hole, and there was the ball.”
“I was pretty pumped up,” Syring admitted. “I snapped a photo and posted it to Facebook; hey, I just made a double eagle.”
“I told him when he made the first one, that’s like making five aces,” recalled the elder Syring.
A second albatross has arrived.
Syring had to take the photo down after four holes. Syring’s drive put him in the fairway 205 yards from the cup on the 516-yard 15th hole, considered one of the toughest in the rotation of the PGA Tour’s American Express tournament.
Syring stated, “I hit a 5-iron because it was a little against the breeze.” “It also looked good.” My father, who is 62, is unable to see it, and the Greens are both older, so I was the only one who could.”
Syring tried to persuade himself that the ball had vanished because it had rolled over a hump that runs from left to right across the green.
“He has a really good strike rate. “It would never have gone in the hole if it had been a regular trajectory 5-iron because it would have hit the front of the green and just run to the back,” Green said. “And because I’m 74 years old, I couldn’t see where it ended up.” And Danny agreed that it may have been in the hole. And when we got up there, the ball was already in the hole.”
Kevin Syring described the experience as “nearly unreal.” “It was like, ‘There’s no way that got in,'” she says.
Any clubhouse celebrations for the two albatrosses had to be postponed because a one-hour frost delay at PGA West meant the father and son only had enough time to throw their clubs in the back of their car and drive nearly three hours to Los Angeles International Airport to catch flights back to the east coast.
In reality, Syring believes the time constraint contributed to a three-putt bogey on the 16th hole and an approach ball into a greenside bunker for another bogey on the 18th hole, resulting in a 32 on the back nine and a round of 70.
“I didn’t play really well,” Syring said. “I shot 70 and was 6 under par for those two holes.” I wouldn’t have bogeyed two of the last three if I was making it up.”
Syring works for a medical job recruiting firm in Tampa. He was a decorated high school player in New Jersey who, like any college player, flirted with the thought of turning pro while playing at the University of Tampa. Syring stated that he continues to play, but only three times per month in the previous three months.
Syring says he hopes he doesn’t make another double eagle the next time he plays.
He chuckled and said, “Who would believe that?”
Despite his two double eagles, Syring believes there is still something missing from his golf resume.
“I’d take a hole-in-one over one of (the double eagles),” he remarked.