On a day of chaos at PGA, an unexpected hero emerges

Mark Hubbard

Mark Hubbard Friday on the 15th green at Valhalla Golf Club.

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. — He’s to the right of the 7th green, his ball is buried, and he’s trying to throw one toward a downhill flag about 20 yards away. It does not work. It takes a long time. His ball passes about 10 meters from the hole. After a double putt for par, he makes eye contact with a familiar face and speaks creative English.

One hole later, he is now 7 feet away for birdie. It’s missing. He leans forward over his putter like he’s stabbed him in the stomach, which he sort of has. After cleaning up for par, he also returns to the break, which he says still doesn’t exist.

He also thinks that if he wasn’t a golfer, he would have already packed his bags for French Polynesia and tended bar. It’s an image.

He also deploys a “snail” putt. You have to see this, and you can do it in a second.

He also appears to have seen Scottie Scheffler’s police report. I questioned it. In response, he called himself fat.

And Mark Hubbard might just win this case.


An introduction is in order, but know this: On a day of chaos for the PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky, a king appeared, as improbable as Hubbard was. It’s tastier than the bourbon here. It is also just as powerful.

It is necessary. Friday morning, the news was grim. A tournament vendor was killed after being hit by a shuttle. Shortly after, Scheffler was stopped by Louisville police after attempting to enter the course while traffic in the area was congested, was stopped by a police officer and continued to drive, causing injury, according to an incident report. He faces four charges, even though he eventually returned to the course and shot a 66.

Serious business. It didn’t matter. Soon, social media shared the police report. Said Scheffler was 6-foot-3 and 170. First left Hubbard. But not its girth. “No way, Scottie only weighs 170…f*$ and I’m fat,” HomelessHubbs wrote on social media after arriving at the class. As of 6:30 p.m. Friday evening, the thought had received more than 200,000 views.

Did he know it was spreading?

“No, no, no idea.”

“What prompted that one?”

“I mean, I saw everyone doing the mug shot and the police report,” Hubbard said, “and I’m glad he made his tee time and, I mean, amazing for him to be stopped and then go out and shoot 66. That shows how well he’s playing – you can’t stop him right now. Scottie is taller than me; there’s no way he’s 170 years old. Like I should go to the gym and stop eating so much of my kids’ leftover mac and cheese.


But the funny thing here is that Hubbard crossed it out too. On Thursday, in the first round of the PGA Championship, he shot a six-under 65. On Friday, he birdied his first hole, the par-5 10th, from a wedge to 11 feet. He birdied the par-4 12th after dropping an iron to 10 feet. At the par-5 18th, he wedged his ball to 7 feet and made a birdie. The back nine was messier. Parred 1. Bogeyed 2. Birdied 3 and 4. Bogeyed 5 and 6. Results 7 and 8 are at the top of this story. But then he birdied the par-4 9th, his final hole, and he shot a three-under 68 and was a few shots out of the lead.

All of this also continued to increase. A professional since 2012, Hubbard has carved out a coveted career. Nine million in winnings on the PGA Tour. Thirteen top 10s on the PGA Tour. But no victory. Only one finalist, in 2019, at the Houston Open. But this year too, something clicked for the 34-year-old. No missed cuts. Thirteen events. Third paychecks. You can never time these kinds of things, but you love it when they happen.

“Yeah, I mean, it’s kind of one thing or another every week,” Hubbard said. “Some weeks I drove it really well, some weeks my irons were great, some weeks I did everything with my putter. So I’m kind of waiting for this week where everything will unfold. But I think it’s a testament to the work I’ve done with my coach and the fact that my game is a little more consistent. I feel like mentally I’ve been pretty good too. So yeah, it’s been a solid year and like I said, hopefully I can put on a tournament where everything goes.

There’s plenty more here, of course. Hubbard is friendly. There are no clichés here. Nothing vanilla.

There’s the French Polynesia thing. It’s on Hubbard’s profile on the PGA Tour website, which reads:

“If he wasn’t a professional golfer, he’d probably move to Bora Bora, open a tiki bar and disappear off the grid.”


“I mean, look at this weather,” Hubbard said, referring to a rainy, muddy, sunless day in Louisville. “It looks pretty good right now, doesn’t it?”

Inside Scottie Scheffler’s Shocking Arrest: How Tragedy and Chaos Hit the PGA


Dylan Déthier

There’s also the “snail” thing. It’s what he calls a move he’s made several times with his putter. It’s indescribable, although a GOLF.com story has already been attempted.

To make the Snail like him:

You hold the putter with your left hand.

You shuffle your feet.

You extend your right arm parallel to your shoulders.

You also hold out your little finger.

You begin to rotate, while circling your right arm in front of you, while squatting down.

You grip the putter just above your head with your right little finger, while remaining bent over.

You putt!

Below is a video:

Which raises a question:

“If you win on Sunday or if you are ahead on Sunday, will we see the Snail?

“We certainly won’t,” Hubbard said. “Actually, the last two tournaments I’ve switched to a longer putter, so it’s even lower so I can lean, and I’m getting older, I’m 35 here next week, and, yeah , I’m not trying to be that low to the ground.

It’s OK. The king’s unexpected success on a day of chaos was welcome. A victory, however, would be extraordinary. It would be his first, at 34, after 12 years in the pros.

Another story. Another revelation about Hubbard. This is perhaps what says the most about the man.

His press conference on Friday ended with this exchange, started by a journalist:

“If you won on Sunday, what would that mean?

“Oh, yeah, I mean, if I win an opposite field event, that’s awesome, let alone a major,” Hubbard said. “At the end of the day, my life is great, I have a great family and two great kids. I was able to sleep an extra hour and play with stuffed animals with my oldest daughter in bed. That’s the whole story.

“It’s so cool to be here and feel like I can actually compete, but it’s just my job, it’s a job that I really, really love and really care about, but this has changed my bank account, but not much else.”

Nick Piastowski

Publisher of Golf.com

Nick Piastowski is the editor-in-chief of Golf.com and Golf Magazine. In his role, he is responsible for editing, writing and developing stories in the golf space. And when he’s not writing about ways to hit the golf ball farther and straighter, the Milwaukee native is probably playing the game, hitting the ball left, right and short, and drinking a cold beer to clear his score. You can contact him on any of these topics – his stories, his game or his beers – at [email protected].

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