THE GREATEST SHOT I’VE EVER SEEN
Players and pundits pick the shots that made even them say ‘wow, that’s impressive!’
From Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player to Andrew “Beef” Johnston, we ask players and pundits about the greatest shot they’ve ever seen.
Rory McIlroy hit 4,338 shots on the PGA Tour last year. Dustin Johnson hit 5,977. There were 106 eagles, 27 aces and one albatross… Yet none of them make it onto this players’ list of the greatest shots ever seen.
To be a truly great shot, it needs something extra special. The degree of difficulty; what’s on the line; how much risk and reward is involved... It’s a tough question – top players and pundits have seen a LOT of shots! But that didn’t stop us asking Major champions and Tour winners to pick the best they’ve ever seen, either in person or on TV.
It takes one to know one, and so when the shots in question immediately popped into the minds of the people we asked, you know they were really good. And it was no surprise to us that three names – Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Seve Ballesteros – cropped up more than once...
JORDAN SPIETH Three-time Major champion
The shot: “Tiger’s chip-in at the 16th at the 2005 Masters. I’ve been there and seen how difficult it was – and still is, with his ball up against the collar. It’s just unbelievable that he produced that shot at that crucial time with the feeling that the title is in his hands at that moment... again something which I know all about. To have the nerve to achieve perfect contact, to know exactly where to hit it and to produce it at that particular time... absolutely unbelievable.”
KARRIE WEBB World Hall of Famer, eight-time Major champion
The shot: “I’ve seen so many great shots, so it’s hard to think of one in particular. I should be thinking of women’s best shots, but my favourite tournament to watch on TV growing up was the Masters. So Tiger’s chip shot from the back of the green on 16 is hard to go past. Only he could hit that shot. I’ve maybe made one or two putts to win on the last hole in my career – but he was, at one point, seemingly able to do that two or three times a year.”
CAMERON MCCORMICK Coach to Jordan spieth
The shot: “I have to go back to Tiger’s shot on 16 at Augusta, I mean just to be in that difficult situation down, short sided, left of the green and to have to convert like he did, just the theatrics and the dramatic nature of the shot. That one was awfully special.
So even the shots you maybe haven’t seen on TV and weren’t quite as climatic as that, the situations you find yourself in at Augusta, some of the shots are unfathomable how these players can pull them off. Anyone that’s ever played there, even outside of the competition, can tell you that. But then when you see guys in competition when it gets shaved down and gets firm and fast, a lot of the shots they do around the greens, it’s pretty amazing.
I’ve seen plenty of ‘are you kidding’ moments from Mr. Spieth, so pick out any of those. Any of the bunker hole outs, the one at Travellers last year was just, it’s an understatement to call it epic right? I’d have to pick out one of Jordan’s but it wouldn’t be fair to pick out just one.”
BRANDEL CHAMBLEE Former Tour player, now Golf Channel analyst
The shot: “It was at Q School in Arizona in the mid-1980s and was a really cold week – so cold I didn’t fancy getting out of the car to warm-up, preferring to listen to “Eye of the Tiger” – the Rocky movie theme – to get me in the right frame of mind to play. I was playing really well and on the last day was paired with Bob Eaks, who not
many people would have heard of – all the talent in the world, but not the greatest disposition to play golf. He was really long and hit the ball straight up in the air with his peculiar swing – he had really high hands and didn’t turn his body much. The last hole was a par-5 and he’s right on the bubble of making it, but he’s ballooned his tee shot into air and it’s finished 50 yards behind me. With a creek in front of the green, it’s a clear lay-up. So I couldn’t believe it when he pulled out his wood.
I couldn’t believe it either when his ball landed in the middle of the green and rolled up by the hole. I said: ‘Bob, that’s the greatest 3-wood I’ve seen in my life’ and he nonchalantly replied with ‘it wasn’t a 3-wood, it was a 5-wood!’ No pressure like Q School pressure.”
BROOKE HENDERSON Five-time LPGA Tour winner
The shot: “I’ve seen so many great shots. But I’ve been lucky to have seen quite a few holes-in-one over the years. I’m not sure it’s the best shot that I ever hit or seen, because I got a bit lucky with the roll o the apron, but I had a hole-in-one on the par-3 13th at Sahalee a few years back. It helped propel me to the lead to win my first major, so I’ll take that one. It was a 7-iron from 152 yards.”
BERND WIESBERGER Four European Tour wins
The shot: “I was playing at the 2014 PGA Championships at Valhalla on the Saturday with Phil Mickelson. On the par-4 3rd, he tried to drive the green. The landing area was quite big at the front, but it was a lot narrower towards the back of the green; maybe three-and-a-half paces to each side. Mickelson drove right of the green and then had to play off a downslope from the rough with a bunker just in front. It was a really tight pin, but he took a really big swing and it landed so softly. It ended up about two feet from the hole. He made it look like the simplest shot in the world, but it was a 35-40-yard lob shot. That was impressive.”
VAUGHN TAYLOR 2016 AT&T Pebble Beach winner
The shot: “I was competing at the Bob Hope Classic about six years ago, playing with an amateur off about 20 who hadn’t been finding the clubface in the two previous rounds! We arrived at the 204-yard par-3 5th – surrounded by water – fearing the worst. He only went and holed out with a 6-iron for the most unlikely of aces. His father had recently died and the chap was flooding tears. With Dottie Pepper and the TV crew on site, it made his golfing life!”
HANNAH GREEN LPGA Tour player
The shot: “Well it’s probably one of Tiger’s putts – probably the one at TPC (Sawgrass) on the 17th in 2001. I don’t remember where I was watching it, I don’t think it was live because I was probably at school. But I remember watching it and I was like, ‘ holy crap, wow, that’s when you know you can play’. I thought it was awesome.”
BEN CRANE Five PGA Tour wins
The shot: “I was playing with Tiger on the Saturday at Bay Hill, probably 2013, when he hit a kind of spinny 3-wood off the 15th tee. It floated into the wind and didn’t even get up the hole far enough to reach the dogleg. He’s got this huge bush in front of him and I couldn’t see how he could make the green from there. Wrong.
He takes a 3-iron into the wind and from around 210 yards, cuts it maybe 30 yards and puts it to within a foot of the hole. On the next hole, a par-5, he hits a 5-iron about the same distance against the wind to within three feet to go birdie-eagle. Pure genius.”
LEE WESTWOOD 23 European Tour wins
The shot: “Probably Phil Mickelson’s shot out of the trees on 13 at Augusta in 2010.
In Detroit at that Ryder Cup, Tiger Woods hitting a 3-wood, massive cut into the 2nd, the par-5. He obviously didn’t have a club for it. He was in the fairway, pin was cut front left and he started it 40-yards left of the green and hit a massive high balloon cut with 3-wood. He only had like 230, so he had to take plenty o it and I mean it just come in so soft to about four feet.”
BILLY FOSTER Lee Westwood’s caddie
The shot: Phil Mickelson on 13 at Augusta – the second best golf shot I’ve ever seen. Seve Ballesteros behind the wall (Crans Sur Sierre, Switzerland), undoubtedly. Incredible. To have the imagination to see it in the first place is beyond all … nobody else would see that shot. I told him to chip it out four times.
Arguably the best shot I have seen, it was Seve at Hazeltine, the 16th that goes around the lake and it goes into like a peninsula green. There used to be a massive oak tree on the right corner o the tee and it got hit by lightning, it knocked it down and its not there anymore but it was a massive Oak tree. He’s hit a 3-wood o the tee and he was probably 30-yards from the tree and it just covered the whole green and it was like 150-160 yards, it was like an 8-iron shot really. And he said watch this and pulled a 3-iron out and he must of hit it 80- yards left at the clubhouse, I mean an 80-yard cut with a 3-iron. Just opened it up and he cut it 80- yards onto that peninsula green and it was just bonkers how good a shot that was. It wasn’t in competition, it was in a practice round.”
RICKY BARNES Runner-up, 2009 US Open
The shot: “It has to be Tiger on a par-5 at the 2003 US Open at Olympia Fields. Blocked out by trees with his second shot, he carried his 3-wood about 270 yards, cut it about 55 yards and it rolled up and onto the green. He two-putted for birdie. I was playing with him and Ernie Els and we simply nodded, ‘great shot’. As good as I’ve seen.”
ROBERT GARRIGUS PGA Tour winner
The shot: “I’ve got to go with Tiger Woods and his 3-iron out of a bunker at the PGA Championship, 2003 I think. He somehow hooked it 220 yards under the wind to within 15ft and made the putt. Probably one of the best shots you’ll ever see in your life!”
DANNY WILLETT 2016 Masters Champion
The shot: “There is a really famous one of Tiger’s at the Canadian Open out of the trap that was obviously amazing, I wasn’t there but you still see it televised. It’s funny though isn’t it that some of the best golf shots you will ever see are actually from some of the worst first shots you will ever see. Tiger’s chip-in on 16 (2005 Masters) was amazing, how he’s got there is a miracle. But then to chip in is then a ridiculous miracle. Tiger’s Canadian Open is probably one of the top three golf shots that you ask anybody who plays golf and they will remember Tiger’s 6-iron from like 215 out of the trap.
The 4-iron that he holed at The Open at Hoylake, when it was burnt out as anything, he hit iron everywhere that week, didn’t go in a single bunker, hit it 260 o every tee with a 4-iron and boxed one. In fairness to Tiger, there is going to be a lot of Tiger’s golf shots in the highlight reel.
But then I am going to throw in mine on 16 at Augusta from 176 with an 8-iron, because of the situation. It’s the one you can only remember purely because about what it meant. I’ve hit a lot of good golf shots but in the situation I think with everything going on, when your hands are shaking, it’s always nice to know you can still hit shots like that.”
TED SCOTT Bubba Watson’s caddie
The shot: “Obviously, everyone talks about the hook shot Bubba hit on No.10 at Augusta, but one of my best moments was on No.11 when he was deep in the pine straw on the right on the Friday in the 2012 Masters. We were three under at the time and I said ‘hey, let’s just chip it out’ because the worst he was going to make was bogey. But he said he wanted to make a big old hook, starting it left of the water at the scoreboard from a terrible lie. Firstly, I’m thinking how is he going to keep it low enough, under 15ft, for the first 30 yards? And secondly, how can he hook it about 20-25 yards to miss the water? He insisted ‘I’ve got this’ and I’m thinking it’s end of tournament time. He actually over-hooked it and it caught the slope and ran onto the front of the green. A shot I’ll never forget.”
ANDREW ‘BEEF’ JOHNSTON 2016 Spanish Open Champion
The shot: “It was at Oakmont (2016 US Open) I think it was Patrick Rodgers, he hit one of the best putts I’ve ever seen, ever. It was the 9th hole and they put the pin on the right and he was front left. I mean it was a 60-foot putt, but he’s got to putt it across like two tiers and anything that goes past the hole is basically going o the green. I putted it o the green from 30-foot, someone else nearly putted it o the green from 15-foot, and he was about 60-foot away. And Rodgers has hit this putt across the green and its gone like past the hole, over a ridge and sort of just got over the hill and he has knocked it to like literally tap in, and I mean it was ridiculous. There is no way he could do it again.”