Al Geiberger Becomes the First PGA Tour Player in History to Score a 59
When Al Geiberger became the first golfer to shoot a mythical 59 in a PGA Tour event 30 years ago, the automatic comparison some fans made was to Roger Bannister.
"Roger Bannister was the first man to break 4 minutes in the mile," Geiberger said. "Everyone remembers him. No one remembers the guys who came after him."
But while Bannister's 1954 so-called impossible achievement of a sub-4-minute mile has been surpassed thousands of times, Geiberger's 59 in the Danny Thomas Memphis Classic on June 10, 1977, has only been matched twice on the PGA Tour.
Al Geiberger has never seen a replay of the magical round of golf in 1977 that transformed him into "Mr. 59," and provided a marvelous legacy he never expected for his PGA TOUR career.
"I've never even seen myself make that putt on the last hole," said Geiberger, now 69, recalling his historic second round of the Danny Thomas Memphis Classic. "I know the feelings that were going through me, but I'd like to see it from another point of view."
The easy-going Californian proudly claims, however, being the answer to a trivia question in one of those bar-room scenes when Cheers was a popular TV sitcom.
"I think you have arrived when you're a sports trivia question on Cheers," Geiberger said with a laugh.
Once the 59 Club was a big, empty house with just one occupant, Al Geiberger.
Oh, there was talk that Sam Snead had been there in the late 1950s, but Geiberger was the only official resident.
Geiberger, who resides in Palm Desert, moved into the house in 1977 and lived there alone for 14 years. But today that house is bulging at the seams. From LPGA players to Japan Tour players to school boys in Alabama, Geiberger has so much company in the 59 Club they might have to start building an extra wing on the place.