Losing a golf club in a tree? Unlikely. Losing two? Inconceivable. Losing three? All in a day’s work for Joost Luiten.
The Dutch golfer had already been enduring a Sunday to forget at the season-ending DP World Tour Championship in Dubai when his drive from the ninth tee went sailing left into a bunker.
Two-over in the final round and coming off a bogey on the previous hole, frustrations boiled over for the 37-year-old, who launched his uncooperative driver towards a nearby tree at Jumeirah Golf Estate’s Earth Course.
His driver lodged firmly between the branches above his head, so Luiten sent a second – then third – club to the same fate in an effort to dislodge the first. Meanwhile, his caddie copied the tactic with a fallen branch, as a volunteer clambered up the tree in an effort to shake the clubs out.
Six-time DP World Tour winner Luiten then cycled through a series of other ultimately futile remedies – jumping, poking the tree with the roaming scoreboard, and throwing branches – before admitting defeat, kicking his golf bag in one final act of frustration then heading off to play his next shot.
“Taking tree trouble to the next level,” posted the DP World Tour on its X account.
Luiten bogeyed the hole, but was given a lift at the 10th tee when his clubs – eventually retrieved by a volunteer – were hand-delivered by his wife Melanie-Jane, who is eight months pregnant with their first child.
Three birdies in a row soon followed but ultimately came too little too late, as a final round one-over 73 saw Luiten sign off at three-over overall, 48th of the 50-player field.
“I was frustrated, one of those weeks [when] nothing went my way,” Luiten told reporters.
“Lost it and threw my driver and it got stuck up a tree. That sums up my week nicely … one of the volunteers got them out, otherwise it would have been a funny round to finish with 11 clubs.”
Denmark’s Nicolai Hojgaard carded a blistering final round eight-under 64 to take victory, a run of five straight birdies on the back nine powering him to his third DP World Tour win.
The 22-year-old finished on 21-under overall, two shots ahead of Ryder Cup teammates Tommy Fleetwood and Viktor Hovland, as well as England’s Matt Wallace.
“It means a lot, it’s the sweetest one,” Hojgaard told reporters.
“This year has been a really good year if I look back on it, I feel like the only thing missing was a win, and to get it this week, with this field, is unbelievable.”