The Story Behind Tiger Woods' Holed 4-Iron At The 2006 Open At Royal Liverpool

We look back on how Tiger Woods played one of the most iconic shots in recent Open times

Tiger Woods at Hoylake, 2006
Tiger Woods at Hoylake, 2006
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The 14th hole at Royal Liverpool measured 456 yards for The Open in 2006. For the members it plays as the Stroke Index 4 and, according to the club's website, it's one of the best on the property. 

"Arguably the finest hole of the links, 'Hilbre' is a dog leg to the left. The big hitters and the brave may try to carry the bunkers protecting the corner of the hole but this is a lot to ask."

Tiger Woods' strategy for the week was one of playing what was sitting in front of him. If the wind meant that he could carry the fairway bunkers then he would, otherwise he would lay up in front of them. The woods, by and large, would stay in the bag and he would put on a ball-striking display that was as good as anything.

Woods, playing alongside Sir Nick Faldo and Shingo Katayama on the Friday, came to the 14th at four-under for the day and nine-under in total. He had found the middle of the fairway, short of the traps, and he then played a shot that has become one of the most iconic in recent Open history.

"I don't know what I had to the hole; I had 194 to the front. And I was trying to lay the ball on the front edge and let it chase on wherever it chases on, and I had a 4-iron on there. On 12 I had 190 and hit a nice little 4-iron up on the green, and I was basically hitting the same shot, just trying to hold the ball in the wind," Woods explained after his second round.

"And I really hit it flush and held it nicely. And I hit it on my line, I was looking at the left edge of the TV tower, and if the wind blows it over, that's fine, it blows it over, but it if it doesn't I'll be at the flag or left of the flag, and it depends on the bounce. But I was just trying to land the ball on the front edge and let it chase on there and get my 4 and go on. It happened to go in."

After the shot there was a momentary delay when Woods and his caddie Steve Williams didn't appear to know quite what had happened.

"I didn't see the top of the flag. I didn't see anything, I was too far back. We didn't know if it went in or hit the flag and ended up just right next to it. I asked one of the TV guys there and they said it was in, and that's when I knew it was in. Otherwise I couldn't tell by the reaction because it was one of those where it could have gone in or maybe it just hit the flag and everybody was oohing and aahing."

Royal Liverpool 14th

The dogleg 14th 'Hilbre'

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Woods would finish the week with a third Claret Jug and an 11th Major.

In terms of ball striking Woods admitted that the week at Hoylake was pretty special though not as good as one stand-out week a few years earlier.

"I really felt like I was able to shape the ball both ways and really control my traj. Sometimes it was higher than others, sometimes really low. But I was able to hit the golf ball on the flight that I really wanted to. And when you're doing that, if you look at most of my shots, they were around pin high. 

"It's awfully nice to do that on a links golf course. It's easy to do when it's plugging up there. But when you have to control the bounce on the greens and fairways, yeah, I really felt like I was in control of my flight."

Had he ever done it better?

"I did a pretty good job at Pebble Beach in 2000, I think."

Mark Townsend
Contributing editor

Mark has worked in golf for over 20 years having started off his journalistic life at the Press Association and BBC Sport before moving to Sky Sports where he became their golf editor on He then worked at National Club Golfer and Lady Golfer where he was the deputy editor and he has interviewed many of the leading names in the game, both male and female, ghosted columns for the likes of Robert Rock, Charley Hull and Dame Laura Davies, as well as playing the vast majority of our Top 100 GB&I courses. He loves links golf with a particular love of Royal Dornoch and Kingsbarns. He is now a freelance, also working for the PGA and Robert Rock. Loves tour golf, both men and women and he remains the long-standing owner of an horrific short game. He plays at Moortown with a handicap of 6.