Just the other day, near his home in Palm Desert, Calif., Al Geiberger was telling someone who didn’t know him from any other trim, tan retiree in the Coachella Valley, “You know, I have a record in golf.”
Yes, he does. “Mr. 59″ shares it now, but Geiberger was the first. Thirty-five years ago, on June 10, 1977, he shot a 13-under 59 in the second round of the Danny Thomas Memphis Classic, becoming the first golfer to break 60 on the PGA Tour.
Geiberger is 74 now, but what he did as a 39-year-old on that broiling Friday afternoon at Colonial CC when he hit every fairway and every green and had only 23 putts resonates still. Before Chip Beck, David Duval, Paul Goydos and Stuart Appleby (players to subsequently shoot 59s on the PGA Tour), there was Geiberger.
“I respect it more and more,” Geiberger says of his achievement. “When I initially shot it, I thought if I can do it, then anybody can do it. I didn’t understand how hard it is to do. When someone gets close to a 59, they tend to run out of holes.”