It’s all go for January after the R&A and USGA published their finalised Rules of Golf. So what’s coming in? Steve Carroll outlines the changes.
US Masters: The Greatest Shots of All Time?
A great thing about watching the U.S Masters is that you’re constantly poised on the edge of your seat in anticipation that something remarkable is about to happen.
History has been made again and again over the years, and it’s not just the winners who have inspired sudden bouts of brilliance on the greens. Here we list our favourite shots which have left spectators and players open mouthed.
So do you agree with our choices? Think there have been better ones? Why not go onto our Facebook page and tell us what you think.
10) Doug Ford’s Bunker Shot 1957
Doug Ford had already won the PGA Championship that year but would solidify his incredible legacy further when on the green-side bunker of the 18th hole at Augusta National in the U.S Masters Tournament. Ford was one stroke ahead of Sam Snead heading to the 18th hole when he hit his approach shot with a seven iron into a plugged lie. It looked to be over for Ford until he blasted the ball out of the lie and right into the hole for an amazing, and somewhat improbable, birdie to finish the round with 66, which happened to be the lowest final score in U.S Masters history to that point.
9) Phil Mickelson’s 6-Iron Through the Trees 2010
Phil Mickelson looked like a haunted man when his ball came to rest underneath a group of towering Georgia Pines following an uncharacteristic pull back on his tee shot right on the par-five 13th. Faced with a staggering 209 yards to the hole, 187 yards to carry the water fronting the green, and an opening of no more than four feet from which to shoot his ball though, even his caddy Jim “Bones" MacKay felt this was one shot too far. But Mickelson grabbed his six iron and blasted the ball through the pines, over the water and to within four feet of the cup, prompting an explosion of cheers and clapping from an amazed crowd.
8) Sandy Lyle’s Bunker Shot 1998
Sandy Lyle didn’t have the best of starts in 1998’s U.S Masters Tournament final. Hitting the ball off the tee with his one-iron, he had to watch with a grimace as it soared through the trees and right into the left fairway bunker. An up-and-down from 160 yards seemed the only possible shot for a win. Lyle flushed his fairway bunker shot to within 8 feet of the cup and would go on to sink his birdie putt to become the first British player to win The U.S Masters. It was a defining moment in his career, and one that nobody has forgotten to this day.
7) Louis Oosthuizen’s Beauty 2012
What is even rarer to achieve than a hole in one? Maybe you should have watched South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen, who stunned the crowd both in attendance and watching at home when his approach shot on the par 5 2nd hole towards the green trickled into the cup. It was an astounding moment that goes down in U.S Masters history and which is yet to be replicated.
6) Larry Mize Stunner 1987
The great thing about this tournament is that memories last a lifetime, and the shot produced from Larry Mize in 1987 was something to behold. He sealed a dramatic play-off victory over Greg Norman with a birdie at the death after his chip shot on the 14th hole, sending the crowd in attendance into shocked applaud. Such a shot was so out of the ordinary that it has never been forgotten and those who saw it still remember it fondly.
5) Bubba Watson Recovery Shot 2012
The winner of last year’s U.S Masters Tournament, Bubba Watson wowed the crowd with some amazing shots on his way to pulling on the Green Jacket for the first time. But it was his recovery on the 10th hole in the play-off against Louis Oosthuizen that stole the show and helped him push on to seal a massive victory.
4) Billy Joe Patton’s Hole in One 1954
A hole in one by Billy Joe Patton on the 6th in 1954 sent shockwaves through Augusta. Never before had an amateur looked to be heading for victory at the event, and the gallery swelled from a few hundred to a few thousand onlookers as he traversed the course. Unfortunately a devastating double bogey at the 13th after hitting his second shot into Rae’s Creek wound up costing him the tournament and Patton missed out on a playoff with Sam Snead and Ben Hogan by a single stroke.
3) Jack Nicklaus’s 40-Foot Birdie Putt 1975
1975’s U.S Masters Tournament had a real clash of the titans feel to it with Jack Nicklaus, Johnny Miller and Tom Weiskopf all playing exceptionally well heading into the event. It was a close encounter that eventually saw Nicklaus and Weiskopf move ahead of Johnny Miller and the contest was about which of them could topple the other. In the end it fell to Nicklaus’s devastating putter prowess to break Weiskopf’s heart. An amazing 40-footer somehow found the bottom of the cup which sent the crowd into a near frenzy and left Weiskopf standing on the tee with a half stunned, half dejected look on his face.
2) Gene Sarazen’s Shot Heard Round the World 1935
Gene Sarazen trailed Craig Wood by two when the pair reached the par-five 15th. Sarazen required a birdie or better in order to have any hope of catching Wood, so decided on going for the green in two at 15. The problem was that he couldn’t make up his mind as to which golf club to use for the shot. Walter Hagen, his playing partner, finally grew bored of Sarazen’s dithering over his bag and yelled “Hurry up, will ya? I’ve got a date tonight.” This forced Sarazen’s hand and he decided on a four wood, belting the golf ball 235 yards over the pond and right into the hole for a breathtaking double eagle. Sarazen’s double eagle was touted by the press as the “shot heard round the world”, and helped to enliven a game which, until then, was struggling to operate financially.
1) Tiger Woods Chip 2005
You knew it was coming. How could there be a ‘best ever golf shots’ list without mentioning one of the best players to ever grace the Augusta greens. Tiger Woods did what he does best in big-game atmospheres by stealing the show in 2005 when he hit a superb chip shot on the 16th. It has been voted highly in many a fan’s pole and is perhaps the most memorable in the sport’s illustrious history. It was so good, in fact, that Nike even used it for their advert!
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