U.S. Open: 10 most clutch shots of all time

Mandatory Credit: Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports /
11 of 11

1. Tom Watson-1982 U.S. Open, Pebble Beach, 17th hole

There’s no way Tom Watson at Pebble Beach at the 1982 U.S. Open wasn’t going to be number one, especially given who he beat on that final day.

Tom Watson may be more known for his five wins at The Open Championship but his lone U.S. Open win was one for the ages. Tied with Bill Rogers at the top of the leaderboard at 4-under after the first three rounds, two shots clear of a foursome at 2-under and three shots ahead of Calvin Peete and four-time U.S. Open champion Jack Nicklaus, Watson got himself into one of the greatest duels of all-time.

More from Pro Golf Now

Rogers held the lead on his own briefly but consecutive bogeys at the turn brought him back a bit. Nicklaus, on the other hand, was on fire and made five consecutive birdies on the front nine to put himself in the race to the finish. Watson was steady but nearly lost the tournament on the 10th after a wayward drive nearly went into Carmel Bay. He was able to somehow save par with a great putt and a birdie at 11 gave him a two-stroke lead on the Golden Bear.

A bogey at 12 for Watson and a birdie on 15 for Nicklaus left the two tied but a birdie on 14 gave Watson the lead once again. Nicklaus would finish with a 69 for the day, putting him at 4-under for the tournament and sat in the clubhouse waiting for the final group to finish.

A bogey at 16 put Watson in a tie with Nicklaus and things looked grim after his tee shot at the par-3 17th found the thick rough behind the green and a par seemed impossible given the lie and pin placement. Watson’s caddie, Bruce Edwards, just wanted Watson to get it somewhere on the green to give himself a chance to make a par putt. However, Watson told Edwards he was going to make it and that’s exactly what he did.

Ever so delicately, Watson went right underneath the ball and it landed softly on the green and rolled right into the cup, sending him into a frenzy as he ran around the green and pointed at Edwards, almost as if to say “I told you I was going to make it.” For good measure, Watson birdied the 18th as well to beat Jack Nicklaus by two strokes but it was the shot on 17 that will always be remembered and to this day, it stands as the most clutch shot in U.S. Open history.

Next: Top 20 U.S. Open triumphs

For all the latest news and notes from the world of golf, please be sure to check back in with us each and every day. You can give us a like at the Pro Golf Now Facebook page and follow us on Twitter at @ProGolfNow.