Armed with unlimited mulligans, Rick Reilly sets out to match Rhein Gibson’s legendary 55 at River Oaks

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Above, from left to right: Ryan Munson, Rhein Gibson, Curt Munson, author Rick Reilly and River Oaks owner Andy McCormick make the 55 sign.

One of the entertaining vignettes in Rick Reilly’s new book So Help Me Golf is his recount of his effort to match Rhein Gibson’s record-smashing round of 55 shot May 12, 2012 at River Oaks Country Club in Edmond.

The new book is a collection of many such examples of entertaining and often lovable oddities Reilly has encountered in his decades covering the game for Sports Illustrated, other national publications and for himself.

Gibson, 33, a native Australian who is a member at Oak Tree National and has been a touring pro on both the Korn Ferry and PGA Tour for a decade now, shot the 55 with eyewitnesses that included good friend and River Oaks member Ryan Munson, an Edmond-based financial advisor.

Reilly wondered how many mulligans it would take for him to shoot a 55 at River Oaks and enlisted Munson’s help in recreating the round. Gibson himself turned up late in the round, and they were joined by Munson’s father Curt and River Oaks owner Andy McCormick.

Reilly’s son sparked the idea by telling his dad it would take him over 100 mulligans to equal the 55. Gibson said maybe 150. Munson, thinking more strategically, thought he could do it in under 100 if he concentrated on hitting irons close to the hole and did not try to reach the par-5s in two.

“Rick played really well,” Munson said. “I thought we would be there all day trying to match this, but he made a birdie on his own on the first hole. He hit most fairways and hit some really good irons.

“He’s also a sharp guy and a lot of fun. He told some great stories.”

Reilly got the job done with 16 birdies and two pars with the use of “just” 59 mulligans.

The River Oaks story takes up just a few of the 257 pages of the book which goes on sale May 10. It is Reilly’s ninth golf book, with the previous one being Commander in Cheat about a former president’s penchant for being less than forthcoming about his golf scores and more.

One thing readers will learn throughout the book is which side of the Tiger-Phil divide Reilly comes down on. While not excusing Phil’s recent stumbles, he gives him high marks overall for being open and entertaining with him and other writers for 40 years, while Tiger kept them locked out. Those thoughts probably don’t play exceptionally well at the moment, but Reilly is beyond caring about that.

A book signing with Reilly may be held at River Oaks and/or Oak Tree National, we will provide details as available.

– Ken MacLeod



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Ken MacLeod

Publisher Golf Oklahoma | Oklahoma's No. 1 Golf Source