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Feb. 13 in history: VP strikes multiple fans with drives

Spiro Agnew
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In this new Grill Room feature, we're taking a look back through time at interesting or unusual moments in golf history.

Today's moment comes to you from Feb. 13, 1971.

Vice President Spiro Agnew had about as bad of a start imaginable when he teed off on the first hole at the Bob Hope Desert Golf Classic as part of a pro-am foursome that included Bob Hope, baseball great Willie Mays and pro partner Doug Sanders.

Agnew’s drive off the first tee sliced off the toe of his club and into the gallery striking a 66-year old man and his wife. After taking time to visit with and apologize to the couple, Agnew returned to the tee box but again shanked his tee shot into the gallery, hitting another woman in the ankle and eventually sending her to the hospital for x-rays.

If you’re keeping score at home … that’s two shots, three spectators. Not sure if that’s an official stat, but Agnew’s name should be in the record books somewhere.

The Vice President moved on after that, (as a collective sigh of relief swept across the crowd) and continued play from farther down the hole.

At least he was aiming away from his teammates this time around. A year before he had struck Sanders in the back of the head with an errant shot in the same tournament.

Hope had some good quips about the ordeal, including “He did play the last 15 holes in great shape and on the back nine he got a birdie, an eagle, an elk, a moose and a mason.”

Aside from his poor golf game, Agnew’s political skills came under question as well in 1973 when he was formally charged with having accepted bribes totaling more than $100,000, and became the only vice president in United States history to resign because of criminal charges.