Skip to main content

No Joke Professional Golfer Beaten By Clown

You might know Chris Smith as the first, and thus far only player to earn a 'battlefield promotion' from the Buy.Com Tour to the PGA Tour.
You might know Smith as the record holder for the longest drive in PGA Tour history - a 427-yard blast in the final round of the 1999 Honda Classic.
Smith would prefer you recognize him for those accomplishments and not the embarrassing incident that took place in 1997 at a Charity Skins Game in South Dakota - when he lost to a clown.
That's right, the 31-year-old former Buy.Com Player of the Year lost to a clown.
'He was in full clown garb,' Smith recalled. 'He had the big shoes on. He had everything, the red nose, the wig, the baggy outfit, everything. I think he got every skin but one.'
His name was Divot the Clown, a trick-shot artist from Port St. Lucie, Fla., named Kevin Compare. Smith was playing with Mark Carnevale and Joe Daley - the three top money winners at the time on the Buy.Com Tour.
The event was for charity, so it began light-heartedly. Then the clown started winning - and winning and winning. And that's when the fun subsided.
'He's hitting in the middle of the greens and making these bombs across the green, and I'm like, `This can't be happening,'' said Smith.
But it was.
'And another bad thing was that he wouldn't talk. He was one of those clowns that wouldn't talk. And when he's making putts, he's honking his horn, and I'm just like, `This is not right. This can't be happening,'' Smith said.
But it was.
'He was loving it. It was making me mad. And I was bitter. I tell you, I was bitter at Divot the Clown.'
After the match, reporters interviewed Smith. His response was a bit trite. 'I'm sorry. I've got to go practice. I just got beat by a clown.'
The practice paid. Smith went on to win that week and the week after, earning his way onto the PGA Tour. Three victories in one season equals the coveted 'battlefield promotion.'
Smith managed to stay on the big tour in 1998 and '99. He slipped back down to the developmental circuit in 2000, but responded with five runner-up finishes and a sixth-place finish on the money list.
This year, Smith has garnered a couple of top-10 finishes and entered this week's Honda Classic 42nd in earnings. Once again, Smith is in contention in Coral Springs, Fla. He stood just three shots off the 36-hole lead.
The way things are going, Smith may soon be known as a PGA Tour winner. But for now, he's still trying to live-down that dreadful South Dakota afternoon in 1997.
In two weeks, his son, Cameron, will turn four years old. Odds are there won't be any clowns at the party.