The Top 5 Golf Shots at The Masters

Often deemed as the ‘unofficial start’ to the new golf season, The Masters is a unique spectacle unlike any of the other three major championships staged later in the year. Hosted at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia, it is where new champions are made and legacies are forged.

Taking place this year from the 7-10 April, the 86th edition of The Masters delivered plenty of drama as current world number one, Scottie Scheffler, claimed his maiden major with a three-shot victory, despite a final round 64 from Rory McIlroy. McIlroy matched the lowest final-round score ever recorded at The Masters, but it wasn’t enough to stop Scheffler from registering a fourth win in his last six starts.

Five-time champion Tiger Woods, who made his long-anticipated comeback last week following a car accident, carded back-to-back scores of 78 over the weekend to finish in 47th place for the week – a monumental effort from the 15-time major champion, considering the circumstances.

To celebrate the rich history of one of golf’s most glamorous and renowned tournaments, we take a look back at some of the most incredible shots to have ever been hit at The Masters.

5. Vijay Singh: 16th hole, 2009

This one-in-a-million shot would undoubtedly rank higher up the list had it not occurred during a practice round. In typical Masters’ tradition during practice, Singh was teeing off on the edge of the hazard on the 16th hole with the intention of deliberately skipping the ball across the water and onto the green.

Singh was as casual as you like, taking less than five seconds from placing his ball on the ground to hitting his shot. After bouncing across the water multiple times, his ball carried just the right amount of speed to rise onto the green. The crowd looked on with growing excitement and increasing roars as the ball, presumably still damp, somehow found the bottom of the cup for a near impossible ace.

4. Danny Willett: 16th hole, 2016

The 2016 Masters is perhaps best remembered for Jordan Spieth’s unfortunate and calamitous collapse. A quadruple-bogey on the 12th hole in the final round opened the door for Danny Willett, who went on to win the championship and become the first Englishman to do so since 1996.

His green jacket was earned, in no small part, by his tee shot on the 16th hole. Showing none of the pressure he must’ve surely been feeling, Willett played the shot of his life, his ball coming to rest a few feet from the pin, making a mockery of what is an exceptionally difficult hole in the process. He drained the putt for a birdie and secured victory two holes later.

3. Jack Nicklaus: 15th hole, 1986

The 1986 Masters was arguably Jack Nicklaus at his best. To fully recognise the brilliance of his putt on the 15th hole (our pick for the third best Masters shot of all time), Nicklaus’ previous stroke must be mentioned. Looking to create a chance at an eagle, Nicklaus played a bold approach shot. His ball came to rest on the green, giving Nicklaus a sinkable, if not simple, putt.

High on confidence, and displaying all the skills that defined him, Nicklaus not only made the eagle putt, but went on to birdie the 16th and 17th holes, winning the championship by a single shot.

2. Bubba Watson: 10th hole, 2012

Aside from the sheer ability shown by the shot, the fact that Watson’s tournament hinged on its success makes it that much better. During the second hole of a sudden death playoff against Louis Oosthuizen, Watson’s tee shot ended up in pine straw in the trees to the right of the par-four tenth hole.

Knowing he needed something special, the left-hander calmly hooked his approach nearly 90 degrees through a narrow window in the trees to within 10 feet of the hole. Flanked by cheering and clapping crowds, Watson made his way from the rough to the green, where he two-putted for par to claim the green jacket.

1. Tiger Woods: 16th hole, 2005

One of the most iconic shots in all of golf history, Woods’ birdie on the 16th formed a large part of his 2005 Masters win. The position of the ball, nestled against longer grass, and the slope of the green made for an extremely challenging chip shot, leaving virtually no margin for error.

Woods read the green to perfection, with his ball leaving his club as if guided on rails. It reached the lip of the hole where it hovered for a timeless moment before dropping. The crowd erupted as the broadcast commentator summed up the scene with a simple question: “In your life have you ever seen anything like that?”

It was a rare instance where the moment exceeds the sport, so well did it encapsulate the spirit and heart of competition.

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