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Those familiar with golf know the sport has its own unique vocabulary. You’ve got eagle, birdie, par, bogey (or the dreaded double, triple, quadruple, etc.), OB, ace, slice, duck hook, draw, fade, and so on and so forth. But perhaps the most rare term used in golf is albatross. And there’s certainly a reason for that.

For those unaware, an albatross is when a golfer scores three strokes under par on a given hole. Obviously, making an albatross, which is also known as a double eagle, on a par-3 is impossible, so one can only occur on a par-4 (holing out in one shot) or a par-5 (holing out in two shots).

What are the odds of making an albatross in golf?

And just how rare is an albatross? Think about this. The odds of making a hole-in-one are roughly 12,500 to 1. And the odds drop to 3,000 to 1 for a PGA Tour player.

As for an albatross, the odds are roughly six million to 1. That means you have a better chance of being struck by lightning than you do of holing out in two on a par-5.

Named after a large, rare seabird, the term first entered the golf lexicon in 1929 but wasn’t widely used until decades later. Even now, double eagle is more widely used than albatross. But whichever you prefer, both are correct.

Every albatross in major championship history

Louis Oosthuizen after making an albatross during the final round of the 2012 Masters
Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa smiles after making an albatross on the second hole during the final round of the 2012 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 8, 2012 | Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

As we’d be here for quite a while going through every albatross ever made on the PGA Tour, the European Tour, the LPGA Tour, or any of the other big tours around the world, we’ll just stick to those made in major championships.

Men’s majors

You’ll notice the first on the men’s side was recorded at The Open Championship all the way back in 1870. What’s fun there is that the par-6 was still in play, meaning Young Tom Morris holed out in three for his albatross.

Young Tom Morris1870The Open ChampionshipPrestwick116/3
Gene Sarazen1935The MastersAugusta National4155/2
Bruce Devlin1967The MastersAugusta National185/2
Johnny Miller1972The Open ChampionshipMuirfield255/2
Bill Rogers1983The Open ChampionshipRoyal Birkdale1175/2
T.C. Chen1985U.S. OpenOakland Hills125/2
Darrell Kestner1993PGA ChampionshipInverness Club1135/2
Jeff Maggert1994The MastersAugusta National4135/2
Per-Ulrik Johansson1995PGA ChampionshipRiviera CC2115/2
Manny Zerman2000The Open ChampionshipSt. Andrews255/2
Jeff Maggert2001The Open ChampionshipRoyal Lytham165/2
Greg Owen2001The Open ChampionshipRoyal Lytham3115/2
Gary Evans2004The Open ChampionshipRoyal Troon145/2
Joey Sindelar2006PGA ChampionshipMedinah CC355/2
Paul Lawrie2009The Open ChampionshipTurnberry475/2
Shaun Micheel2010U.S. OpenPebble Beach465/2
Louis Oosthuizen2012The MastersAugusta National425/2
Nick Watney2012U.S. OpenOlympic Club1175/2

Women’s majors

On the women’s side of things, two double eagles were recorded in tournaments that later became major championships. Sandra Post made one during the 1978 du Maurier Classic, and Sophie Gustafson made one at the 1999 Women’s British Open. But as each albatross was made when those tourneys weren’t officially majors, we can’t include them on the official list. Still, they deserved recognition.

Dawn Coe-Jones1993du Maurier ClassicLondon Hunt Club145/2
Asa Gottmo2002Women’s British OpenTurnberry475/2
Karen Stupples2004Women’s British OpenSunningdale GC425/2
Vikki Laing2014Women’s British OpenRoyal Birkdale2175/2

And there you have it — every albatross in major championship history.


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