The Masters… Every year we’re spoiled by the riches provided by this prestigious golf tournament. Every year the surroundings are the same, the thing that defines each tournament is the golf that is played. Each tournament has that defining moment we all remember the following year, but only a few special moments are forever etched in the memory of those who have been lucky enough to witness them. Read on and see which golf shots will go down in history as the greatest golf shots ever to have been played at the Masters. I have included links to the videos where possible, some are very old so apologies for the quality of some of them.
10. Byron Nelson – 13th Hole, 1937 — 6 shots behind in the final round of the 1937 Augusta National, Byron Nelson (nickname Lord Byron) began his incredible comeback at the 12th with a birdie. On the next hole he went for a 3 wood and with landing the ball within 20 feet of the hole, just off the green. He chipped it in for eagle, clawing 6 strokes back from Ralph Guldahl, who double bogeyed and bogeyed the same holes.
9. Arnold Palmer – 13th Hole, 1958 — As with every Masters, there’s usually a shot which epitomises that year’s tournament. In 1958 that shot belonged to Arnold Palmer. It came on the 457 yard 13th which doglegs sharply to the left. Palmer hit a drive 245 yards down the left, leaving a very difficult hook shot to the green. “I had a hookish lie, so I decided to go for it”, Palmer told interviewers later. He took out a 3 wood and landed the ball dead center of green, leaving an 18 foot putt, which he went and made giving him an unbelievable eagle. He went on to win the tournament by 1 stroke, giving him his first green jacket ahead of Doug Ford 57 winner) and Fred Hawkins who both finished joint 2nd.
8. Doug Ford – 18th Hole, 1957 — Going in to Sunday, Ford was 3 shots behind the leader Sam Snead. Following some brilliant play and a back nine of 32, Ford finished up 3 shots ahead of Snead to take his first and only Masters title. The most infamous shot of that round was his final shot on 18. He’d hit a fat shot and landed deep in the left greenside bunker. The recovery shot could have been disastrous, but Ford hit a sublime sand shot that trickled in to the hole for birdie, handing him the victory.
7. Sandy Lyle – 18th Hole, 1988 — Standing on the 72nd tee joint 1st with Mark Calcavecchia, Lyle knew he had to make par to force a play-off and birdie to snatch the win. He pulled the shot, landing in a steep-sided fairway bunker 146 yards or so away from the hole. Disaster. He either had to play out sideways or attempt the almost impossible feat of getting it on to the green. He took out his 7 iron and hit the cleanest shot I think I’ve ever seen out of sand, not an ounce of sand was disturbed by the club. The ball landed some 30 feet from the hole only to slowly creep its way back to the hole, finishing up just 10 feet from the cup. He finished off for birdie and was handed the first and only green jacket of his career.
6. Jack Nicklaus – 16th Hole, 1986 — Nicklaus says this is one of the cockiest moments of his career, his son Jackie yelled “Be the right club” to his 5-iron when the ball was in flight, and Jack simply said, “It is”. The ball almost rolled right in to the hole, finishing up about a foot away from the cup, handing Jack a birdie on his way to an amazing back nine of 30, the greatest comeback in Masters history, Jack’s record 6th green jacket and his 18th Major.
5. Louis Oosthuizen – 2nd Hole, 2012 – Since named ‘European Tour Shot of the Year 2012’, this monster albatross was the first ever two on the par 5 “Pink Dogwood”. Louis was just an outside contender as he started his round on the Sunday, but with this spectacular shot he found himself well and truly in contention. Going on to play a sudden death with eventual winner, Bubba Watson.
4. Phil Mickelson – 13th Hole, 2010 — After hitting into the pine needles and between two trees on the 13th, lefty surely had to lay it up and hit back on to the fairway, at least that’s what everyone was thinking. Instead, he picked up his 6-iron and was looking to hit the green. A truly impossible looking shot. He stepped up and laid it within 5 feet of the hole, leaving a comfortable two putt. A shame he missed the eagle putt, but it kept his momentum going with a birdie on his way to his 3rd Masters win.
3. Larry Mize – 11th Hole, 1987 — Having a shot to win the Masters is a scenario every young budding golfer has dreamt about. Mize was in that actual situation during a playoff with Greg Norman on the 11th during the 1987 tournament. Norman was just off the green to the right with Mize 140 feet away from the pin to the right of the green. Larry hit the chip and watched it hit the pin and drop in to the hole.
2. Tiger Woods – 16th Hole, 2005 — People will be talking about some of the shots Tiger has pulled off for the next 100 years. Yet none were quite as special as the chip he hit on the par 3 16th in the 2005 Masters final round. Leading Chris DiMarco by one, he had this chip to take a two shot lead. Standing at the back of the green 25ft from the hole, he chipped 15ft above it to let the slope carry it down. For what seemed like an eternity, the ball finally stopped at the hole, dropping in after a brief pause. One of the finest and most dramatic shots ever seen in Masters history.
1. Gene Sarazen – 15th Hole, 1935 — “A shot heard around the world”, was the headline. Sarazen hit a 4 wood 235 yards into the hole on a par 5 for a 2! In 1935 this type of thing didn’t happen, and shouldn’t, given the type of equipment they had back then. But Sarazen made it and it’s what raised the world profile of the Masters and the profile of golf at the time. It’s not just the greatest shot in the history of the Masters, but in many people’s estimations, the greatest golf shot of all time.
Bit of Fun
Every year, golfers competing in the Masters go round the course in a practice round. After they’ve hit their shots on the 16th hole, the golfers unwind with a little game called skip it! This involves hitting the golf ball onto the water and skipping it across onto the green. There’s been a good few hole-in-ones over the years, but none quite as skilful as these. Enjoy!