[Ads-l] mulligan (golf)--warning: speculative

Stephen Goranson goranson at DUKE.EDU
Tue Jun 8 09:14:12 EDT 2021

Thanks, Garson; that might lead somewhere.
Both of the quotations from Dave Wilton yesterday (June 7) are repeats from his blog and before that Peter's blog. Been there; read that.
These are not, imo, slam dunk connections to a golf mulligan. And the Swat Milligan name spelling did persist as well; one might reasonably expect at least some appearances of that spelling in the proposal. Anyone? I've been mistaken before, but I call special pleading.

Not to leave on that--and maybe we agree that a specific golfer named Mulligan is not proven as the source--here's what may be a very small lead. O. O. McIntyre (1884-1938) was a long-time newspaper columnist, including the long-running "New York Day by Day.". OED's first quotation is:
"1936   Big Springs (Texas) Daily Herald 5 May 4/5   Another McIntyre-ism is the use of the ‘mulligan’—links-ology for a second shot employed after a previously dubbed shot."
Given excellent researchers here (I've failed on this so far): which McIntyre column (if column it was) and what date? Please?

Stephen Goranson

From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> on behalf of ADSGarson O'Toole <adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM>
Sent: Monday, June 7, 2021 8:41 PM
Subject: Re: mulligan (golf)--warning: speculative

While exploring the term "mulligan" I came across a semantically
related set of terms: a "'No Alibi' golf event" and an "alibi shot".
An "alibi shot" is a second shot without penalty, i.e., a mulligan. A
"'No Alibi' golf event" is an event in which each participant is
allowed a limited number of "alibi shots", e.g., five.

Here is an explanation for the "alibi" term: After a tournament an
individual who did not win would sometimes complain that one or two
bad shots ruined their score. These bad shots provided an alibi. A "No
Alibi" tournament made this type of excuse impossible.

The first citations for "alibi" with the pertinent sense occurred by
1927, and they continued into the 1930s. I have not yet located a
crossover between "alibi shot" and "mulligan". Nevertheless, future
researchers may find the citations below helpful because they reveal
that the concept of a "mulligan" was being employed in the 1920s under
a different name.

Date: August 19, 1927
Newspaper: The Meriden Daily Journal
Newspaper Location: Meriden, Connecticut
Article: Personal Paragraphs
Quote Page 9, Column 4
Database: Newspapers.com

[Begin excerpt]
The men of the Highland Country club will hold a "No Alibi" golf event
tomorrow afternoon. The players will have the privilege of replaying
five shots without penalty.
[End excerpt]

Date: May 17, 1928
Newspaper: Meriden Record
Newspaper Location: Meriden, Connecticut
Article: Golf Schedule
Quote Page 11, Column 5
Database: Newspapers.com

[Begin excerpt]
Saturday, August 18—"No Alibi" event. (Players may replay any five
shots without penalty.)
[End excerpt]

Date: August 25, 1928
Newspaper: The Hartford Courant
Newspaper Location: Hartford, Connecticut
Article: Hartford Golf Club Host To District Championship
Author: William J. Lee
Quote Page 13, Column 5
Database: Newspapers.com

[Begin excerpt]
Middletown has the most Interesting Saturday tournament In the
district today. It is a no alibi contest. A contestant may replay any
five shots without penalty.
[End excerpt]

Date: November 12, 1928
Newspaper: The Corsicana Daily Sun
Newspaper Location: Corsicana, Texas
Article: Numerous Golfers Take Part in Alibi Tournament Monday
Quote Page 2, Column 7
Database: Newspapers.com

[Begin excerpt - tournament is misspelled in original text]
More than forty golfers had entered the “alibi” golf tournement at the
Corsicana Country club shortly after 1 o’clock Monday afternoon and
the entry list was expected to be materially swelled.
. . .
Each player was allowed half his handicap as "alibi” or second shots
without penalty.
[End excerpt]

Date: November 13, 1928
Newspaper: The Corsicana Daily Sun
Newspaper Location: Corsicana, Texas
Article: Alibi Golf Tournament Held at Corsicana Country Club
Quote Page 9, Column 5
Database: Newspapers.com

[Begin excerpt]
The golfers received their handicaps and then were allowed half as
many alibi shots as their handicaps. Only one alibi shot was allowed
to each hole and the golfers could declare their alibi shot without a
penalty when they desired.
[End excerpt]

Date: April 23, 1936
Newspaper: Brooklyn Times Union
Newspaper Location: Brooklyn, New York
Article: Dyker Golf Group Remains Active
Author: Lou Niss
Quote Page 1A (9), Column 5
Database: Newspapers.com

[Begin excerpt]
The first event of the season was the No Alibi tournament ...
In this tournament each player was allowed to replay four shots
without penalty, checking all possibilities of nineteenth hole alibis.
[End excerpt]


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