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.

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Ortiz takes Web.com Tour clubhouse lead in Bahamas

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:19 am

Former Web.com Tour Player of the Year Carlos Ortiz shot a bogey-free, 4-under-par 68 Monday to take the clubhouse lead in The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay.

Four other players - Lee McCoy, Brandon Matthews, Sung Jae Im and Mark Anderson - were still on the course and tied with Ortiz at 6-under 210 when third-round play was suspended by darkness at 5:32 p.m. local time. It is scheduled to resume at 7:15 a.m. Tuesday.

Ortiz, a 26-year-old from Guadalajara, Mexico, is in search of his fourth Web.com Tour victory. In 2014, the former University of North Texas standout earned a three-win promotion on his way to being voted Web.com Tour Player of the Year.

McCoy, a 23-year-old from Dunedin, Fla., is looking to become the first player to earn medalist honors at Q-School and then win the opening event of the season.

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Randall's Rant: Can we please have some rivalries?

By Randall MellJanuary 16, 2018, 12:00 am

Memo to the golf gods:

If you haven’t finalized the fates of today’s stars for the new year, could we get you to deliver what the game has lacked for so long?

Can we get a real, honest-to-goodness rivalry?

It’s been more than two decades since the sport has been witness to one.

With world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and former world No. 1 Rory McIlroy at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship this week, an early-season showdown would percolate hope that this year might be all about rivalries.

It seems as if the stars are finally aligned to make up for our long drought of rivalries, of the recurring clashes you have so sparingly granted through the game’s history.

We’re blessed in a new era of plenty, with so many young stars blossoming, and with Tiger Woods offering hope he may be poised for a comeback. With Johnson, McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Brooks Koepka and Rickie Fowler among today’s dynamic cast, the possibility these titans will time their runs together on the back nine of Sundays in majors excites.

We haven’t seen a real rivalry since Greg Norman and Nick Faldo sparred in the late '80s and early '90s.

Woods vs. Phil Mickelson didn’t really count. While Lefty will be remembered for carving out a Hall of Fame career in the Tiger era, with 33 victories, 16 of them with Tiger in the field, five of them major championships, we get that Tiger had no rival, not in the most historic sense.

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Phil never reached No. 1, was never named PGA Tour Player of the Year, never won a money title and never dueled with Woods on Sunday on the back nine of a major with the title on the line.  Still, it doesn’t diminish his standing as the best player not named Tiger Woods over the last 20 years. It’s a feat so noteworthy it makes him one of the game’s all-time greats.

We’ve been waiting for an honest-to-goodness rivalry since Faldo and Norman took turns ruling at world No. 1 and dueling in big events, including the back nine of multiple majors. 

In the '70s, we had Nicklaus-Watson. In the '60s, it was Nicklaus-Palmer. In the '40s and '50s, it was Hogan, Snead and Nelson in a triumvirate mix, and in the '20s and '30s we had Hagen and Sarazen.

While dominance is the magic ingredient that can break a sport out of its niche, a dynamic rivalry is the next best elixir.

Dustin Johnson looks capable of dominating today’s game, but there’s so much proven major championship talent on his heels. It’s hard to imagine him consistently fending off all these challengers, but it’s the fending that would captivate us.

Johnson vs. McIlroy would be a fireworks show. So would Johnson vs. Thomas, or Thomas vs. Day or McIlroy vs. Rahm or Fowler vs. Koepka ... or any of those combinations.

Spieth is a wild card that intrigues.

While he’s not a short hitter, he isn’t the power player these other guys are, but his iron game, short game, putter and moxie combine to make him the most compelling challenger of all. His resolve, resilience and resourcefulness in the final round of his British Open victory at Royal Birkdale make him the most interesting amalgam of skill since Lee Trevino.

Woods vs. any of them? Well, if we get that, we promise never to ask for anything more.

So, if that cosmic calendar up there isn’t filled, how about it? How about a year of rivalries to remember?

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McIlroy: 2018 may be my busiest season ever

By Will GrayJanuary 15, 2018, 6:28 pm

With his return to competition just days away, Rory McIlroy believes that the 2018 season may be the most action packed of his pro career.

The 28-year-old has not teed it up since the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in early October, a hiatus he will end at this week's Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. It will be the start of a busy spring for the Ulsterman, who will also play next week in Dubai before a run of six PGA Tour events leading up to the Masters.

Speaking to the U.K.'s Telegraph, McIlroy confirmed that he will also make a return trip to the British Masters in October and plans to remain busy over the next 12 months.

"I might play more times this year than any before. I played 28 times in 2008 and I'm on track to beat that," McIlroy said. "I could get to 30 (events), depending on where I'm placed in the Race to Dubai. But I'll see."

McIlroy's ambitious plan comes in the wake of a frustrating 2017 campaign, when he injured his ribs in his first start and twice missed chunks of time in an effort to recover. He failed to win a worldwide event and finished the year ranked outside the top 10, both of which had not happened since 2008.

But having had more than three months to get his body and swing in shape, McIlroy is optimistic heading into the first of what he hopes will be eight starts in the 12 weeks before he drives down Magnolia Lane.

"I've worked hard on my short game and I'm probably feeling better with the putter than I ever have," McIlroy said. "I've had a lot of time to concentrate on everything and it all feels very good and a long way down the road."

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What's in the Bag: Sony Open winner Kizzire

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 15, 2018, 6:05 pm

Patton Kizzire earned his second PGA Tour victory by winning a six-hole playoff at the Sony Open in Hawaii. Take a look inside his bag.

Driver: Titleist 917D3 (10.5 degrees), with Fujikura Atmos Black 6 X shaft

Fairway Wood: Titleist 917F2 (16.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Blue 95 TX shaft

Hybrid: Titleist 913H (19 degrees), with UST Mamiya AXIV Core 100 Hybrid shaft

Irons: Titleist 718 T-MB (4), 718 CB (5-6), 718 MB (7-9), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

Wedges: Titleist SM7 prototype (47, 52, 56, 60 degrees), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

Putter: Scotty Cameron GoLo Tour prototype

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x