Punch Shot: Favorite shot in Masters history

By Golf Channel DigitalApril 10, 2013, 12:50 pm

The Masters has showcased some of the greatest shots in golf history. GolfChannel.com writers weigh in with their favorite shots in tournament history.


Tiger Woods’ dramatic chip-in on No. 16 in 2005 takes the cake; it oozed drama.

Woods and Chris DiMarco had both birdied the 15th hole to set up a duel down the stretch. DiMarco’s ball was in the center of the green on 16 and Woods pulled his tee shot left.

The set-up by television announcers Verne Lundquist and Lanny Wadkins was perfect.

“He’s picked out a landing spot that is a good 25 feet above the hole,” Lundquist said.

Said Wadkins: “There’s a good chance he doesn’t get this inside DiMarco’s ball.”

Then Woods hit the shot.

“Here it comes. Oh my goodness,” Lundquist said. The ball sat on the edge of the hole, then dropped a couple seconds later. “OH, WOW. In your life have you seen anything like that?”

The patrons went nuts. Woods went nuts and attempted an awkward high-five with former caddie Steve Williams. It all added to the priceless moment.

What many forget is that Woods bogeyed 17 and 18 but dispatched of DiMarco with a birdie on the first playoff hole. Woods hasn't won the Masters since.

Ultimately the chip-in on 16 was a shot that Woods had to have. In my book, it's the best shot in Masters history.

It. Never. Gets. Old.


Maybe it was because it was my 18th birthday. But Tiger Woods’ chip-in on 16 at the 2005 Masters remains one of my most indelible golf-watching memories.

Long and left of the green, Woods pitched onto the green, and his ball took a hard right turn, and it tracked toward the cup, and then it just hung there, impossibly, agonizingly, before finally tumbling into the hole.

In my living room, both my popcorn bowl and IBC Root Beer – hey, I was 18, remember – crashed to the hardwood as I leaped off the couch and touched the ceiling, a tall task, literally, for my 5-foot-9 frame. Having watched the replay herself, my mom wasn’t even upset by the mess.

Much like all the other incredible shots that eventually find a place in Masters lore, Woods went on to win that year, in extra holes. And even now, the replay is hair-raising.


It was called “The Shot Heard 'Round the World.”

Now, it’s the shot that echoes through history.

Gene Sarazen’s albatross, or double eagle, if you like, in 1935 has to rank as my favorite Masters shot even though it's unlikely there’s anyone still alive who saw it. It doesn’t matter. An albatross is rarer than a hole-in-one, so pulling it off in the final round of the Masters and then going on to win has to rank as the best shot in major championship history. Sarazen's famous shot was a holed 4-wood from 235 yards at the 15th hole. The next day, he beat Craig Wood in a playoff.  Notably, Sarazen was playing alongside his rival, Walter Hagen, when he made the shot.


From a trampled-down lie left of the par-3 16th green late on another glorious Masters Sunday in 2005, Tiger Woods hoisted his second shot high into the spring sky and watched as the effort twisted and turned its way to the precipice of the cup where it hung for an eternity. A fraction of a moment later the ball dropped and the ground shook.

It was the perfect shot in every way, from the timing – late in a heated back-and-forth with Chris DiMarco that ultimately ended in a playoff – to the degree of difficulty.

A day later on the practice range at Harbour Town Golf Links, one PGA Tour type put the historic shot in perspective: “It’s not that he chipped the ball in. It’s that his ball almost stopped before it got to the hole. You can’t stop that ball coming from that direction toward the water. That was insane.”

With apologies to Bubba Watson and his twisting wedge shot from the woods right of No. 10 in last year’s playoff and Phil Mickelson and his emotional putt at the 72nd hole to secure his first green jacket in 2004, Woods’ chip-in at the 16th hole is, by any definition, the best in show.


Jack Nicklaus’ birdie putt on 17 that he walked into the hole in 1986. Tiger Woods’ chip that hung on the lip at 16 before dropping in 2005. Bubba Watson’s mercurial bender from the trees in last year's playoff.

What do they all have in common? None of 'em has a name.

OK, so being called “The Shot Heard 'Round the World” even 78 years later may not be the sole thing that separates Gene Sarazen’s albatross hole-out on 15 in the 1935 edition of the Masters, but the fact that it’s still recalled with such reverence so long after the major players in the scenario have passed on speaks volumes as to what a historic moment it was in the history of the event.

To this day, Sarazen’s 4-wood from 235 yards remains the only 2 on the par-5 hole in competition. It allowed him to tie Craig Wood atop the leaderboard, then beat him in a playoff the next day to win the title.

You really can’t go wrong when picking a best shot in Masters history. For me, though, the one heard 'round the world stands above all others.


I’m not sure what the rule is on including a shot you never saw live, but I’m doing it anyway. For me, Larry Mize’s chip-in to win the 1987 Masters embodies everything that is wonderful about this event.

On one hand, there is the shot itself – a 140-foot pitch over mounds to a pin closely guarded by an inviting lake should the effort be just a bit too bold. Mize was playing from a spot short of the 11th green that players rarely visit, but he played the shot like he had been practicing it all week. On a course largely defined by its nuanced greens, it’s only fitting that my favorite shot occurred around one of the more treacherous surfaces Augusta National has to offer. It also didn’t hurt the narrative that Mize’s sudden-death victory came over two of the greatest players of the 1980s, Greg Norman and Seve Ballesteros.

More than just the execution, though, Mize's shot has come to represent the seismic shift a player’s career undergoes with a victory amid the azaleas. With one deftly placed shot, a relatively unknown player from Augusta, Ga., became a major winner – a Masters champion – and earned the privilege of returning year after year to relive not just his win, but the winning shot itself. That’s the Masters in a nutshell: one brief moment of greatness, if executed when called upon, can earn a player a lifetime of adulation.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 1:00 pm

This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.

The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.

Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.

The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

A green jacket was only the start of a transformative year for Garcia, 37, who heaped credit for his win on his then-fiancee, Angela Akins. The two were married in July, and months later the couple announced that they were expecting their first child to arrive just ahead of Garcia’s return to Augusta, where he'll host his first champions’ dinner.

And while players often cling to the notion that a major win won’t intrinsically change them, there was a noticeable difference in Garcia over the summer months. The weight of expectation, conscious or otherwise, seemed to lift almost instantly. Like other recent Masters champs, he took the green jacket on a worldwide tour, with stops at Wimbledon and a soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona.

The player who burst onto the scene as a baby-faced upstart is now a grizzled veteran with nearly two decades of pro golf behind him. While the changes this year occurred both on and off the course, 2017 will always be remembered as the year when Garcia finally, improbably, earned the title of major champion.

Masters victory

Article: Garcia defeats Rose to win Masters playoff

Article: Finally at peace: Garcia makes major breakthrough

Article: Garcia redeems career, creates new narrative

Video: See the putt that made Sergio a major champ

Green jacket tour

Article: Take a look at Sergio's crazy, hectic media tour

Article: Garcia with fiancée, green jacket at Wimbledon

Article: Watch: Garcia kicks off El Clasico in green jacket

Man of the people

Article: SERGIO! Garcia finally gets patrons on his side

Article: Fan finally caddies for Sergio after asking 206 times

Article: Sergio donates money for Texas flood relief

Article: Connelly, Garcia paired years after photo together

Ace at 17th at Sawgrass

Growing family

Article: Sergio, Angela get married; Kenny G plays reception

Article: Garcia, wife expecting first child in March 2018

Departure from TaylorMade

Article: Masters champ Garcia splits with TaylorMade

Squashed beef with Paddy

Article: Harrington: Garcia was a 'sore loser'

Article: Sergio, Padraig had 'great talk,' are 'fine'

Victory at Valderrama

Article: Garcia gets first win since Masters at Valderrama

Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 12:30 pm
Getty Images

Montana parents can't watch kids play high school golf

By Grill Room TeamDecember 11, 2017, 9:47 pm

Well, this is a one new one.

According to a report from KTVQ in Montana, this line in the Montana State High School Association rule book all but forbids spectators from observing high school golf in that state:

“No spectators/fans are allowed on the course except for certain locations as designated by the tournament manager and club professional.”

Part of the issue, according to the report, is that most courses don't bother to designate those "certain locations" leaving parents unable to watch their kids compete.

“If you tell a parent that they can’t watch their kid play in the Thanksgiving Day football game, they would riot,” Chris Kelley, a high school golf parent, told KTVQ.

The report lists illegal outside coaching as one of the rule's chief motivations, but Montana State women's golf coach Brittany Basye doesn't quite buy that.

“I can go to a softball game and I can sit right behind the pitcher. I can make hand signals,” she is quoted in the report. “I can yell out names. I can do the same thing on a softball field that might affect that kid. Football games we can yell as loud as we want when someone is making a pass or a catch.”

The MHSA has argued that unlike other sports that are played in a confined area, the sprawling nature of a golf course would make it difficult to hire enough marshals to keep unruly spectators in check.

Meanwhile, there's a lawyer quoted in the report claiming this is some kind of civil rights issue.

Worth note, Montana is one of only two states that doesn't allow spectators on the course. The other state, Alaska, does not offer high school golf.

PGA Tour suspends Hensby for anti-doping violation

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 8:02 pm

Mark Hensby has been suspended for one year by the PGA Tour for violating the Tour’s anti-doping policy by failing to provide a sample after notification.

The Tour made the announcement Monday, reporting that Hensby will be eligible to return on Oct. 26, 2018.

The statement reads:

The PGA Tour announced today that Mark Hensby has violated the Tour Anti-Doping Policy for failing to provide a drug testing sample after notification and has been suspended for a period of one year. He will be eligible to return on Oct. 26, 2018.

Hensby, 46, won the John Deere Classic in 2004. He played the Web.com Tour this past year, playing just 14 events. He finished 142nd on the money list. He once ranked among the top 30 in the Official World Golf Ranking but ranks No. 1,623 today.

The Sunshine Tour recently suspended player Etienne Bond for one year for failing a drug test. Players previously suspended by the PGA Tour for violating the anti-doping policy include Scott Stallings and Doug Barron.

The PGA Tour implemented revisions to its anti-doping program with the start of the 2017-18 season. The revisions include blood testing and the supplementation of the Tour’s prohibited list to include all of the substances and methods on the World Anti-Doping Agency prohibited list. As part of this season’s revisions, the Tour announced it would also begin reporting suspensions due to recreational drug use.

The Tour said it would not issue further comment on Hensby's suspension.