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…
50. Seve Ballesteros – From the car park, 1979 Open, Royal Lytham
During the final round of the 1979 Open, Seve spent as much time playing from the fairway as a 36handicapper on a bad day. But it didn’t affect his scoring. On the 16th, he found a temporary car park from the tee. After a drop, he pitched to 20 feet and holed the subsequent putt en route to a three-shot victory.
GM Rating 83.8/100
Padraig Harrington targeted a par at Carnoustie’s 18th to apply pressure on Sergio Garcia in an effort to win the 2007 Open. However, the contours of the fairway and bounces of the bridge over the Barry Burn had other ideas and the Irishman’s ball finished under water.
His third short was fat and ended further downstream. Flustered and under pressure, Harrington rallied ahead of his fifth. “When I hit it in the water [for the second time] I was disappointed,” he
said. “But once I walked up there, I said, ‘look, I’ve got to get this up and down. If I’m going to win an Open, my break is going to happen at some stage. I hit a lovely pitch…”’
At first, it looked as though it might run past the pin. “That needs to get down quick,” said the BBC’s Peter Alliss, the crowd around the green sharing his concern before the ball checked and held four feet from the pin. “Brilliant!” exclaimed Alliss. Harrington made the tricky putt and after a brief look of relief, shared a wide smile. He won the ensuing play-off after Garcia missed a putt to win it in regulation.
GM Rating 84/100
48. Hubert Green – 8-iron on 15th at Southern Hills, Final round of the 1977 US Open
Before reaching the 15th tee in the 1977 US Open’s Final round, police pulled Hubert Green aside to inform him they’d received a call stating he would be shot dead on the 15th hole. He had the option of leaving the course, but he played on. The situation got to him on the tee and he hooked into the rough, but from somewhere he found the courage to blast it onto the green and save par. He went on to win by one.
GM Rating 84.3/100
47. Jack Nicklaus – Holes a monster at 16, US Masters, 1975
As Jack Nicklaus carefully studied his birdie putt on the 16th green on Masters Sunday, an audible roar from the 15th revealed Tom Weiskopf had moved one ahead. The Golden Bear responded by dispatching his sloping 40-footer, sending the crowd into frenzy and dealing his rival, who was watching on the tee, a crushing blow. The dejected Weiskopf went on to three-putt from similar range and miss out on a play-off by one shot.
GM Rating 84.8/100
46. Edoardo Molinari- Birdie putt on 17, 2010 Johnnie Walker
In 2010 at The Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles, everything was on the line for Edoardo Molinari; there was one final chance to qualify for the Ryder Cup. He needed to win. A shot behind with two to play he was faced with a 40-foot birdie putt with at least 20 foot of swing – but it never looked like missing. A birdie on the last sealed the victory and later Colin Montgomerie confirmed the Italian as a captain’s pick for Celtic Manor. Quite a day!
GM Rating 85/100
45. Jack Nicklaus – Drive on 18th at St Andrews, play-off, 1970 Open
One ahead of Doug Sanders with one to play in an 18-hole play-off, Jack Nicklaus decided to fire the final nail into Sanders’ coffin. He famously took off his sweater and ripped a drive right through the back of the 18th green, it travelled some 370 yards. It was a great demonstration of power and determination and he, deservedly, got up and down to win by a stroke.
GM Rating 85.5/100
44. Phil Mickelson – Flop shot, 18th, 2005 USPGA
Phil Mickelson validated himself as one of the finest golfers of the modern era with a second Major triumph at Baltusrol. He needed a birdie on the last to win outright, but that seemed improbable after his second to the par 5 settled down in thick, wet rough. Mickelson, though, demonstrated his short-game prowess with a moment of sheer wizardry, flopping out to two feet for a tap-in birdie and a maiden PGA Championship title.
GM Rating 86/100
43.Tiger woods – 72nd hole putt to force a play-off, 2000 USPGA
In three of Woods’ first four Major triumphs, the margin of victory had been eight shots or more. Not so at the 2000 USPGA. Little-known Bob May, who had never contended in a Major, pushed Woods all the way in an enthralling final-day tussle. On the 72nd hole, the world number one was faced with a slippery left-to-right six-footer to make the play-off. The holed putt and subsequent
play-off victory were almost inevitable.
GM Rating 86.3/100
42. Annika Sorenstam – Holed chip shot, 2000 Solheim Cup
Annika Sorenstam and Janice Moodie were one down to the USA’s Kelly Robbins and Pat Hurst after 12 holes of their fourball match. Sorenstam holed a brilliant chip on 13 to seemingly salvage a half, but she inadvertently played out of turn, and the American’s invoked rule 10-1c to make her play again. She missed, burst into tears and the Europeans lost 2&1. Fortunately, Europe triumphed 14.5-11.5 overall.
GM Rating 86.9/100
41. Tony Jacklin Drive – on 18th at Lytham, Final round, 1969 Open
The pressure was on Tony Jacklin as he strove to be the first home Open winner since Max Faulkner in 1951. On the 72nd he knew a par would seal it, but it’s one of the most testing driving holes in Open golf. He composed himself and belted one straight down the middle. “What a corker!” said the BBC’s Henry Longhurst.
GM Rating 87.1/100