Punch Shot: Greatest shot ever witnessed

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Victor Dubuisson amazed golf fans Sunday with not one, but two incredible recovery shots to keep alive his chances at the WGC-Accenture Match Play. In honor of the Frenchman's dramatics, GolfChannel.com writers offer up the amazing shots they've ever witnessed.

By REX HOGGARD

Based on degree of difficulty and situational style points, Tiger Woods’ famous chip shot on the 16th hole on Sunday at the 2005 Masters is in a class all by itself.

Clinging to a one-stroke lead over Chris DiMarco, Woods pulled his tee shot at the par 3 into the collection area left of the green. After studying the shot for an extended period of time, he pitched his second just onto the putting green and watched as the ball slowly tracked from left-to-right.

Woods’ ball would hang on the lip of the hole for what seemed like an eternity, an iconic moment that has been replayed hundreds of times, before finally dropping and the roar could be heard across Washington Road.

Although he would bogey his last two holes and need overtime to beat DiMarco for his fourth green jacket, the chip at No. 16 was the turning point.

“It’s not that the chip went in,” explained John Engler, a former PGA Tour player who has played Augusta National on numerous occasions, “it’s that it nearly stopped before going into the hole. That’s impossible.”

Woods has authored many memorable shots in his career, but under Sunday pressure on golf’s grandest stage he delivered at just the right time.


By RANDALL MELL

When it comes to awe-inducing shots, Craig Parry gets the edge on my own father’s miracle shot, but just barely.

Eight years ago, my pop and I were playing the Dye Course at PGA Golf Club in Port St. Lucie, Fla. Ted Mell is a high-handicapper who insists he will never forgive me for the suffering I brought into his life introducing him to golf when he was in his mid-50s.

Back in ’06, from 150 yards out in a fairway at the Dye Course, my father hit a hideous “worm burner” that screamed into a right, greenside bunker. The ball appeared certain to rocket on through the bunker and disappear in a water hazard, but it fortuitously struck a rake in the bunker, violently ricocheting 90 degrees left and jumping onto the green.

The ball slammed hard into the pin before disappearing for an eagle 2. Lighting a cigar moments later, pops quipped: “The bump and run is a lost art.”

Parry’s shot was amazing because of the skill, not the luck. Standing behind the green on the Doral Blue Monster’s diabolical 18th hole in ‘04, I watched Parry hole out a 6-iron from 176 yards for eagle to beat Scott Verplank in a playoff at the Ford Championship. The ball took two hops and with just the right speed rolled into the cup. At that moment, the 18th at Doral was ranked the toughest hole on the PGA Tour.


By JASON SOBEL

Shaun Micheel’s tournament-clincher at the 2003 PGA Championship wasn’t the most awe-inspiring shot you’ll ever see. It wasn’t the one you’d continually YouTube and watch over and over. He didn’t blast a 240-yard bunker shot onto the green or climb a tree to smack it out.

His ball was sitting in the left rough on Oak Hill’s 18th hole and he hit it to within 2 inches of the hole. Ho-hum. Nothing we haven’t seen before.

But the context of this Punch Shot is the most “amazing” shot we’ve seen – and Micheel’s 7-iron dagger from 174 yards ranks as amazing for other reasons.

Entering that week, Micheel had never even won a PGA Tour event, let alone a major championship – or even seriously contended in a major. Just one year earlier, while trying to keep his card, Micheel turned a 54-hole lead at the B.C. Open into a share of third place with a final-round 74. This wasn’t the type of guy who was going to enter the final round of a major and play his best golf. But that’s exactly what he did. When he absolutely needed to hit the best golf shot of his life, he did it. To me, that qualifies as amazing.

I still believe – and I spoke with Micheel about this not too long ago – that if this shot was hit by Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson or Ernie Els, we’d more quickly rank it as one of the best shots of the past quarter-century, if not ever. Really, though, wouldn’t it have been less fascinating if it had come from the club of a player with experience in dazzling crowds during crunch time?

The fact that Micheel had never won before – and has never won since – is what makes his famous 7-iron to claim a major exactly what we’re seeking here: amazing.


By WILL GRAY

For me, the craziest shot was authored by golf’s most interesting man, at one of the game’s iconic holes.

When the ball of Miguel Angel Jimenez nestled next to the wall lining the 17th hole at St. Andrews during the 2010 British Open, it appeared that the Spaniard had few, if any, options at his disposal.

Unable to make a backswing, Jimenez instead flipped things around and hit one of the rarest shots in golf – the bank shot. Taking a sizeable backswing in the opposite direction, Jimenez jammed his ball into the wall and got out of the way in time to watch it soar back over his head and land on the green some 20 feet away from the pin.

Now, Jimenez went on to make double bogey – the bank shot was his fourth on the hole – and carded a 74 during the third round four years ago, but he still finished a respectable T-27 for the week.

Consider the degree of difficulty, though: not only getting the distance right, but trying to guess the trajectory for a shot after it caroms off a stone wall.

Victor Dubuisson is getting credit for his miraculous desert shots following the Match Play final, as well he should. But remember, those shots were the definition of all-or-nothing, since the worst that could happen was a loss of hole.

Outside the confines of match play, the potential penalties for a high-risk shot are much greater. If Jimenez had hit the wall incorrectly, his ball could have bounced sideways, or even hit him for a two-stroke penalty. If he was on line but a touch firm, it could have easily bounded into the famed “Road hole bunker.” Instead, the Spaniard pulled the shot off as though he had practiced it all summer, only adding to the lore of one of golf’s coolest characters.