Players and pundits pick the shots that made even them say ‘wow, that’s impressive!’
Rory McIlroy hit 4,338 shots on the PGA Tour last year. Dustin Johnson hit 5,977. There were 106 eagles, 27 aces and one albatross… Yet none of them make it onto this players’ list of the greatest shots ever seen.
To be a truly great shot, it needs something extra special. The degree of difficulty; what’s on the line; how much risk and reward is involved... It’s a tough question – top players and pundits have seen a LOT of shots! But that didn’t stop us asking Major champions and Tour winners to pick the best they’ve ever seen, either in person or on TV.
It takes one to know one, and so when the shots in question immediately popped into the minds of the people we asked, you know they were really good. And it was no surprise to us that three names – Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Seve Ballesteros – cropped up more than once...
JORDAN SPIETH: Three-time Major champion
The shot: “Tiger’s chip-in at the 16th at the 2005 Masters. I’ve been there and seen how difficult it was – and still is, with his ball up against the collar. It’s just unbelievable that he produced that shot at that crucial time with the feeling that the title is in his hands at that moment... again something which I know all about. To have the nerve to achieve perfect contact, to know exactly where to hit it and to produce it at that particular time... absolutely unbelievable.”
KARRIE WEBB: World Hall of Famer, eight-time Major champion
The shot: “I’ve seen so many great shots, so it’s hard to think of one in particular. I should be thinking of women’s best shots, but my favourite tournament to watch on TV growing up was the Masters. So Tiger’s chip shot from the back of the green on 16 is hard to go past. Only he could hit that shot. I’ve maybe made one or two putts to win on the last hole in my career – but he was, at one point, seemingly able to do that two or three times a year.”
ROD PAMPLING: Three PGA Tour wins
The shot: “The bunker shot Tom Watson hit on No.9 at Colonial around 2000 was right out of the top drawer: he was either in the lead or sharing it when faced with a downhill hanging lie and he struck this picky 8-iron across the corner of the water from about 130 yards and hit it to within six feet.”
RIGHT: Tom Watson at Colonial. PHOTO: Getty Images.
CAMERON MCCORMICK: Coach to Jordan Spieth
The shot: “I have to go back to Tiger’s shot on 16 at Augusta, I mean just to be in that difficult situation down, short sided, left of the green and to have to convert like he did, just the theatrics and the dramatic nature of the shot. That one was awfully special.
So even the shots you maybe haven’t seen on TV and weren’t quite as climatic as that, the situations you find yourself in at Augusta, some of the shots are unfathomable how these players can pull them off. Anyone that’s ever played there, even outside of the competition, can tell you that. But then when you see guys in competition when it gets shaved down and gets firm and fast, a lot of the shots they do around the greens, it’s pretty amazing.
I’ve seen plenty of ‘are you kidding’ moments from Mr. Spieth, so pick out any of those. Any of the bunker hole outs, the one at Travellers last year was just, it’s an understatement to call it epic right? I’d have to pick out one of Jordan’s but it wouldn’t be fair to pick out just one.”
BERNHARD LANGER: Two-time Masters champion
The shot: “At the par-5 18th at the 1983 Ryder Cup at PGA National, Seve drove into a bunker. I’d have used a 7-iron to clear the lip and lay up for a wedge or a 9-iron into the green. There was water everywhere. But Seve pulled out his 3-wood! He didn’t just clear the lip, he drew it, starting it over the lake, onto the green ... then made birdie! It was miraculous, and confirmed Seve was a genius.”