A shot in the dark


Manufacturers dubbed 2010 the year of the wedge, an ode to the U.S. Golf Association’s grooves rollback, but on pure theatrics we’d rate this calendar the year of the 6-iron.

Although there are still two official events remaining before the credits fill the screen that is the ’10 PGA Tour season, Jonathan Byrd’s walk-off to win last week in Las Vegas prompts a review of the year’s “Shot of the Year” candidates.

The nominations are:

-Byrd called his ace at the fourth extra hole, a 6-iron from 204 yards in fading light, the “best shot I’ve ever hit.” Shag Bag can’t argue with him, even if it came at a Fall Series event.

-Although Phil Mickelson dismissed the heroics of his second shot from the pine straw on Sunday at Augusta National’s 13th hole most agree the 6-iron from 207 yards was Lefty at his bold and blazing best.

-Forget the fact Rory McIlroy was already roaring to victory, his 42-footer for birdie at Quail Hollow’s 72nd hole was the perfect punctuation for what may be the round of the year (62).

-Rocco Mediate at the Frys.com Open. Pick a day, any day will do. Actually, the affable veteran holed out for eagle for four consecutive days, but it was his pitching wedge from 116 yards at the 17th hole on Sunday that ultimately lifted him to his sixth Tour title. But the other eagles were pretty good as well.

-The degree of difficulty may not move you, but Jim Furyk’s shot from a greenside bunker on the final hole Sunday at East Lake rates consideration because, essentially, the 54-foot blast was worth $11.3 million in prize and bonuses. That’s roughly $209,260 per foot.

-Some will count Dustin Johnson’s run in with Whistling Straits’ hazardous hinterland among the snapshots of the year, but it was DJ’s wayward drive that sailed some 60 yards offline and onto the infamous public beach that led to one of the all-time heart-wrenching rules snafus.

-It didn’t deliver a title. Didn’t even yield an eagle, but for many Tiger Woods’ towering 3-wood from 260 yards at Pebble Beach’s scenic 18th hole on Saturday at the U.S. Open stands out on pure entertainment value, if not for suspense.