Punch Shot: Greatest shot ever witnessed

By Golf Channel DigitalFebruary 24, 2014, 9:40 pm

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.

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Phil rubs fan's Donald Duck hat seven times, signs it

By Nick MentaJune 18, 2018, 3:09 pm

There is a case to be made that what Phil Mickelson did on Saturday made a mockery of a major championship and was worthy of derision.

There is also a case to be made that the USGA's setup of Shinnecock Hills made a mockery of a major championship and was worthy of derision.

Whatever you think about what Mickelson did on Saturday - and how he attempted to justify it after the fact without even a hint of remorse - watch this video.

The next time you hear someone say, "If anybody else had putted a moving ball on purpose and not apologized for it, it would get a different reaction," you can point to this video and say, "Yeah, here's why."

Here's what happened once a still-strident Mickelson was done rubbing Donald Duck hats on Sunday, per Ryan Lavner:

If you’re wondering whether Mickelson would be defiant or contrite on Sunday, we don’t know the answer. He declined to stop and speak with the media, deciding instead to sign autographs for more than a half hour and then offering a few short answers before ducking into player hospitality.

“The real question is, ‘What am I going to do next?’” he said. “I don’t know.”

The 2024 Ryder Cup at Bethpage is going to be a three-ring circus, and Mickelson, a likely choice to captain the U.S. team, will be the ringmaster.

Separately, shoutout to 2017 Latin Am champ Toto Gana, who does a terrific Donald Duck (skip to end).

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Ryder Cup race: Mickelson out, Simpson in

By Will GrayJune 18, 2018, 2:34 pm

There's a new man at the top of the U.S. Ryder Cup race following the U.S. Open, and there's also a familiar name now on the outside looking in.

Brooks Koepka's successful title defense vaulted him to the top of the American points race, up four spots and ensuring he'll be on the team Jim Furyk takes to Paris in September. Dustin Johnson's third-place finish moved him past Patrick Reed at No. 2, while Webb Simpson entered the top eight after a a tie for 10th.

While Bryson DeChambeau remained at No. 9, Phil Mickelson dropped two spots to No. 10. Tony Finau, who finished alone in fifth, went from 16th to 13th, while Tiger Woods fell two spots to No. 37.

Here's a look at the latest U.S. standings, with the top eight after the PGA Championship qualifying automatically:

1. Brooks Koepka

2. Dustin Johnson

3. Patrick Reed

4. Justin Thomas

5. Jordan Spieth

6. Rickie Fowler

7. Bubba Watson

8. Webb Simpson

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9. Bryson DeChambeau

10. Phil Mickelson

11. Matt Kuchar

12. Brian Harman

On the European side, England's Tommy Fleetwood took a big stride toward securing his first Ryder Cup appearance with a runner-up finish that included a Sunday 63 while countryman Matthew Fitzpatrick snuck into a qualifying spot after tying for 12th.

Here's a look at the updated Euro standings, with the top four from both points lists joining four picks from captain Thomas Bjorn at Le Golf National:

European Points

1. Tyrrell Hatton

2. Justin Rose

3. Tommy Fleetwood

4. Francesco Molinari

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5. Thorbjorn Olesen

6. Ross Fisher

World Points

1. Jon Rahm

2. Rory McIlroy

3. Alex Noren

4. Matthew Fitzpatrick

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5. Ian Poulter

6. Rafael Cabrera-Bello

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Koepka autographs local kids' 'Go Brooks' sign after win

By Grill Room TeamJune 18, 2018, 2:30 pm

Brooks Koepka is a two-time U.S. Open winner, but that doesn't mean he's now too big to go sign a couple pieces of cardboard in somebody's front yard in the middle of the night.

Koepka's girlfriend, Jena Sims, posted two pictures to her Instagram story on Sunday of "Go Brooks" signs she says were put up by some local kids in the area where Koepka was staying for the week.

The first is dated prior to Koepka's final-round tee time.



The second is from Sunday night.



And here, separately, for no reason in particular (other than the fact that she posted it) is a video of Sims running over a parking cone at last year's U.S. Open at Erin Hills.

Speaking of kids, just feels those two are gonna make it.

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Koepka moves to No. 4 in world with U.S. Open win

By Will GrayJune 18, 2018, 2:05 pm

After successfully defending his U.S. Open title, Brooks Koepka reached a new career high in the Official World Golf Ranking.

Koepka held off Tommy Fleetwood to win by a shot Sunday at Shinnecock Hills, becoming the first player to go back-to-back in nearly 30 years. As a result, he jumped five spots in the latest rankings to No. 4, six spots higher than he reached with last year's U.S. Open victory at Erin Hills.

Fleetwood finished alone in second place and moved up two spots to No. 10, tying his career-best placement. Patrick Reed moved up two spots to No. 11 by finishing fourth, while fifth-place Tony Finau went from No. 37 to No. 31.


Updated Official World Golf Ranking


It was a largely quiet week in the rankings despite the fact that a major championship was contested. Outside of Koepka and Finau, the only other player inside the top 50 to move up or down more than three spots was Jason Dufner, who went from 53rd to 48th with a T-25 finish.

Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1 for the second consecutive week, followed by Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Koepka and Jordan Spieth. Jon Rahm dropped one spot to No. 6, with Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Jason Day and Fleetwood rounding out the top 10. Hideki Matsuyama fell two spots to No. 12, dropping out of the top 10 for the first time since October 2016.

Despite a missed cut at Shinnecock, Tiger Woods actually moved up one spot to No. 79 in the latest rankings. He plans to play the Quicken Loans National and The Open in the coming weeks, which will be his final two chances to move into the top 50 in time to qualify for the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. The event is being held for the final time this summer at Firestone Country Club, where Woods has won eight times.