I was asked during a Google+ Hangout on Tuesday what I thought were the greatest shots ever hit at Augusta. Even at 66 years-old, I haven’t seen all of them, but certainly remember some shots that will be part of Masters history forever. I wasn’t born yet when Gene Sarazen made a double-eagle in 1935, but I did see the one that Louis Oosthuizen made in 2012.
You can find a collection of The 10 Greatest Masters Shots of all Time at Golf.com, and I think after you see them, you will also find it difficult to pick a favorite. I’ll have to admit, my pick was the 6 iron Phil Mickelson hit at the 15th hole in 2010 that secured his third Green Jacket.
You had to think Lefty was in jail with that lie, but as much as we like to think Phil’s grip-it-and-rip-it style has cost him some major championships, it sure makes for some magical moments when he’s able to pull off the impossible.
When Nike paid Tiger Woods $40 Million Dollars in 1996 before he ever hit a golf-shot as a professional I thought they were crazy. But in 2005 when Tiger hit the chip-shot from behind the 16th green that stopped just long enough for you to see the Swoosh before it went in the hole, I realized Nike got back every penny of their investment. 100 years from now when they show that shot, Nike will get another payday.
The 1975 Masters was the tournament that turned me into a golf fan. The Magnificent Masters gave us two historical moments, it was the first Masters where an African-American made the field by winning a PGA Tour event, and Jack Nicklaus beat Johnny Miller and Tom Wieskopf in an epic battle that sent me out shopping for golf clubs.
It was The Golden Bear’s 40 foot putt at the 16th green that broke Tom Wieskopf’s heart and spirit, and secured a fifth Green Jacket for Jack Nicklaus.
With six Masters victories, it’s hard to not have more than one great shot that includes Jack Nicklaus, so I would be remiss to not mention the 12 foot putt he made at 17 to win his sixth Masters at age 46.
What folks forget is that the Nicklaus magic started at the 15th hole where he made eagle, then birdies at 16 and 17 before a par at 18 gave the aging super-star his last PGA and Masters win. All that we remember is the putt at 17, and it is a shot that will live in the history books forever.
Did anyone watching the 2012 Masters think that Bubba Watson could get that nine-iron on the green? I know I didn’t, but he did. If that shot would have been anywhere other than Augusta, it would not have gotten within 30 yards of the green.
There were several other great shots, who can forget when Larry Mize broke Greg Norman’s heart and dashed the hopes of a continent that wouldn’t heal until 2013. Fuzzy Zoeller becoming the first player to win in his first trip to Augusta since Gene Sarazen in 1935, and the putter that never came down?
The Masters is filled with great shots, and great moments that have stood the test of time, and will be remembered by golf fans as long as there is a Masters.