Hungover Pepperell Nearly Wins The Open

Everyone deals with their frustrations in different ways, but European Tour pro Eddie Pepperell didn’t expect his night of stress relief on Saturday to become a main storyline late on Sunday at The Open Championship. 

Having shot rounds of 71-70-71, Pepperell felt that he hadn’t gotten the most out of his game through three days of golf at Carnoustie. Eight shots back of the 54-hole co-leaders, he felt that he was out of the championship and had a few drinks on Saturday evening with the mindset that whether he shot 73 or 69 on Sunday, it wasn’t going to matter.

As it turned out, Pepperell went on to shoot a 4-under par 67, posted a 5-under par total three hours before the leaders would have completed their rounds and for a while, looked as if he may have a chance at hoisting the Claret Jug.

“Honestly, I was a little hungover. I won’t lie. I had too much to drink last night,” Pepperell said. “I was so frustrated yesterday that today was really, I wouldn’t say a write-off, but I didn’t feel I was in the golf tournament. Whether I shot 69 or 73 today, it wouldn’t have been heartbreaking. As it happens, I shot 67. It’s a funny game.” 

“The only hope I have is that it’s Carnoustie, and the last three, four holes, even though they’re downwind, still anything can happen with obvious pressure and all that sort of stuff out here,” he said.

While the admission likely caught some of the assembled press off guard, eventually the questioning came back around to his previous night. Pepperell, who is one of the most candid and honest players in the game, answered probing questions honestly and with a good sense of humor. 

When asked why, if he was with a coach who is tasked with getting the best performance out him, allowed him to have a few drinks on the night before the final round of The Open, Pepperell answered honestly. 

“Listen, I wouldn’t always have a drink the night before (a big round); sometimes I’ll have a few drinks,” he said as he caught a look at a scoreboard and a mischevious smile came over his face. “Tiger’s minus-7. He didn’t have a drink, I bet. Proper athlete.”

As it shook out, Pepperell was right to believe his 5-under par number wasn’t enough to win outright or make it into a playoff. He did, however, finish in a tie for sixth place alongside Tiger Woods and Kevin Chappell, which earned him a check worth $327,000.