GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- In 1976, golfer Maurice Flitcroft of Britain shot a 121 for 18 holes -- the worst score ever in an attempt to qualify for the British Open.
His legend lives at Blythefield Country Club in Grand Rapids. Flitcroft will play in the United States for the first time Friday in the 10th annual member-guest tournament named in his honor.
The tournament began in 1978 in tribute to 'good-natured hackers everywhere,' said former club member Terry Moore, editor of Michigan Golfer magazine, who arranged Flitcroft's visit. Moore said his brother, Tim, a club member, named the event after Flitcroft.
'We were inspired to find a way to locate Maurice and arrange to have him play in this year's event,' Moore said. 'I was a guest last year in the tournament. I made a hole-in-one that I've never stopped talking about. My team won and then I realized I had to do something to top that when I came back to the tournament this year.'
Flitcroft, 58, is an unemployed crane operator from Barrow-In-Furness, England. He expressed his surprise that any tournament carries his name after arriving in Detroit late Wednesday with his wife, Jean.
'It's a wonderful good thing, really,' Flitcroft said. 'Perhaps I'll put on a good show and the Buick Open will give me an invite.'
The score Flitcroft posted in the 1976 British Open qualifying attempt prompted officials at The Royal and Ancient Club of St. Andrews to ban him from entering again. But he made an unauthorized comeback in 1983.
Playing under the pseudonym Gerald Hoppy of Switzerland, Flitcroft shot a 63 on the first nine holes of qualifying at Pleasington in Lancashire before withdrawing.
Flitcroft took up golf in 1974.
'I ordered a half-set of clubs from a mail-order firm,' he said. 'The first place I practiced was on the beach when the tide was out.'