It was the mission of all missions, but Golf Monthly has given it a go! Through hours of research, we have brought together our list of the 100 greatest golf shots ever played. From old-school legends like Ben Hogan to the modern-day mavericks of John Daly, it’s time to pour yourself a brew, sit back and enjoy…
1. Tiger Woods – Chip, 16th hole, 2005 Masters
At first we were reluctant to put Tiger’s chip on Augusta’s par-3 16th at the top of our list. For starters, it seemed too obvious. There was talk of being a bit left-field with our choice in the hope we could impress our readers by unearthing a hidden gem that was more deserving of such an accolade. Then there were the other top-10 contenders: Padraig Harrington’s 5-wood, Tom Watson’s chip, Seve’s 3-wood from the bunker. But in the end, after careful deliberation and a tot up of the respective scores, it became clear there was no other shot like the one Tiger executed in the early hours (UK time) of Monday morning, April 11, 2005.
At the time, Woods’ mantle as the world’s best player, officially at least, had passed to Vijay Singh. He hadn’t won a Major since the 2002 US Open and injuries were beginning, it seemed, to take hold. At the 2005 Masters, he had struggled with a 74 in his opening round, but fired back as the rain delays stuttered the fluency of leader Chris DiMarco. Woods, come Sunday, had a three-shot lead. It looked like it was game over.
But DiMarco, his game polished, would win the early exchanges on that final day, and by the time the pair arrived at Augusta’s 16th – a one-shotter of 170 yards with water to the green’s front and left – Woods led only by a single stroke.
DiMarco, with the honour, hit to 15 feet. Woods fired an 8-iron through the back, his ball coming to rest against the second cut, which meant he would struggle to get a clean contact on the ball. With the 16th one of Augusta’s most contoured putting surfaces, he then began to weigh up his options, walking back and forth to a landing zone some 20 feet left of the flag. Then he hit the shot; the galleries lifting their heads in unison, the ball checking in the exact spot where he had stood seconds before…
Drawing ever closer to the cup, respective commentary teams began to voice their amazement. Anything inside 10 feet would have been good, but the ball rolled and rolled, easing up as its Nike logo became more visible. Watching on television, it seemed to last an age, and just when you thought it had stopped, it turned over once more with the BBC’s Peter Alliss muttering the eternal words: “Thank you.”
“I was just trying to throw the ball up there and let it feed down,” said Woods. “All of a sudden, it looked pretty good. Somehow an earthquake happened and it fell into the hole.”
GM Rating 99.5/100