With the 2014-15 PGA Tour campaign in the rear-view mirror, GolfChannel.com writers offer up their pick for best shot of the season.
By REX HOGGARD
Give Jordan Spieth the shot of the year – as well as nearly every other season-ending accolade, for his magic trick on the 54th hole at the Masters – more for the degree of difficulty than the gravity of the moment.
Although there was still plenty of golf to be played on his way to a green jacket, Spieth’s bold flop shot from right of the final green proved to be a pivotal moment not just for his maiden major but beyond.
Reeling after a double bogey-6 at the 17th hole, Spieth pushed his approach right of the greenside bunker at the iconic 18th hole and into the patrons. From that precarious spot he executed a high-risk pitch to 10 feet from where he salvaged a par to break the 54-hole scoring record at 16 under par.
The par save also maintained Spieth’s four-stroke advantage going into the final round, but more importantly it gave him the confidence to know that he could execute the most demanding of shots under the most intense pressure.
“I took enough time looking at that chip shot to really calm myself down and pick the right play and just trust it,” Spieth said at the time.
By RANDALL MELL
Shane Lowry’s towering sand wedge. Lowry had a couple of great escapes from the trees in winning the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in August, but his blast over the timber at the 10th in the final round to set up birdie was even better than his play through the trees at the 18th because there wasn’t a bit of luck in the former.
After hooking his tee shot into trouble at No. 10, Lowry got line-of-sight relief and dropped 101 yards from the hole. It looked like his only play was to punch through the trees, but he went over the top of them, air mailing his shot to 3 feet of the hole. The play was as bold as it was skillful.
By RYAN LAVNER
A year after coming so close at Augusta, Jordan Spieth opened with a 64 at this year’s Masters. He increased his lead (from three shots to five) after a Friday 66, and his 14-under 130 was a 36-hole Masters scoring record. It’s probably true that no one was going to beat him that week, not the way he was striking the ball, not the way he poured in virtually every putt he had. But there was a moment during that third round when it could have gone the other way.
Spieth led by seven shots at one point Saturday and was on cruise control when he made an out-of-nowhere double on 17. That cut his lead to four. Then he flew his approach into the gallery on 18, an impossible spot, with almost no green to work with. Now it looked like his advantage could be three shots, maybe even two, at the end of the day.
Then Spieth clipped a high, soft, perfect flop shot that landed over a bunker, onto a downslope and trickled out to 10 feet. “That took some guts,” he would say later. Of course, he made that par putt, because he made everything that week, and maintained his four-shot lead. The rest is history.
By WILL GRAY
When he stepped to the 70th hole at The Players Championship, Rickie Fowler was little more than an afterthought on the leaderboard. That changed quickly, though, as Fowler offered up the shot of the year in the midst of an all-time hot streak.
Fowler had 243 yards left for his second shot into the par-5 16th at TPC Sawgrass and opted for a fairway wood, taking an aggressive line over the water that lines the front right of the green. The ball carried the hazard by only a couple feet, bounding toward the hole and setting up a kick-in eagle.
Fowler would go on to win the trophy, emerging in a sudden-death playoff after playing his final six holes in 6 under. There were plenty of great shots in that stretch, sure, but the one that sparked his run to the title, the one that led to the biggest win of his career, came in the 16th fairway and helped to re-shape his season.