It was the mission of all missions, but Golf Monthly has given it a go! Through hours of research, we have brought together our list of the 100 greatest golf shots ever played. From old-school legends like Ben Hogan to the modern-day mavericks of John Daly, it’s time to pour yourself a brew, sit back and enjoy…
80. Charl Schwartzel – Holed pitch for eagle, 3rd hole, 2011 Masters
Schwartzel had got off to the fastest possible start on Masters Sunday by holing an unlikely chip on the 1st to turn bogey into birdie. So he must have had to pinch himself when his crisply struck 108-yard sand wedge pitched pin-high 12ft from the hole on the 3rd, hopped forward once, took the spin, turned sharply left, and rolled straight into the hole. Hardly surprising that it would turn out to be Schwartzel’s day as two holes behind, Rory McIlroy’s implosion had already begun.
GM Rating 73.6/100
79. Paul Lawrie – Putt on 18th, Final round 2001 Dunhill Links Championship
The Scot, winless since capturing the 1999 Open Championship, was two ahead with two to play, but Ernie Els birdied the 18th while Lawrie made a bogey at the notoriously tough Road Hole. That meant Lawrie needed a three at the last to win outright. When his second shot screwed back off the putting surface into the Valley of Sin, his objective was two putts to force a play-off. But, from some 40 yards, he holed out to win by a single stroke.
GM Rating 73.8/100
78. Bernhard Langer – 75-foot putt to force a play-off, 1995 European Open
The normally poker-faced German was forced into acting completely out of character when his 75-foot eagle putt traced its way across the K Club’s 18th green, homed inexorably in on the target and dropped to force a play-off with Barry Lane. Milliseconds later the ecstatic Langer was running and leaping around with childlike exuberance. Little wonder he still regards it as his most memorable shot ever.
GM Rating 73.9/100
77. Miguel Angel Jimenez – 17th at St Andrews, Third round, 2010 Open
The approach to the penultimate hole on the Old Course is fraught with danger as many a player has found to their cost over the years of championship golf. Leave it short and the principal risk is the perilous Road Hole bunker. But there’s no bail out long either, as Miguel Angel Jimenez discovered in the third round of the 2010 Open.
His second shot was too strong and it skipped through the green, over the eponymous ‘road’ and up against the stone wall marking the boundary of the course. His options were limited. Taking a penalty drop was challenging as two club lengths would take him nearer the hole, and going back to the fairway was not appealing.
So he decided to play it. He took one look back at the hole, then turned to face the wall. He then took a long swing and hit the ball hard into the wall with a lofted club. It jumped up and back, high into the air over his head before landing softly on the narrow putting surface. The stroke elicited rapturous applause from the grandstands behind the wall.
“Such shots make you feel you’re up on a cloud,” he said in an interview
with Golf Monthly. “It was fantastic – a beautiful moment.”
GM Rating 74/100
76. Tiger Woods- Putt on 17th, 2001 Players Championship, Sawgrass
At the halfway stage of the 2001 Players Championship, Tiger Woods was six shots back from leader Jerry Kelly. Stepping onto the famous 17th tee in the third round he had reduced the arrears to three. But his 9-iron carried slightly too long and he was left with a quick double-breaking downhill putt of some 50 feet. He judged it to perfection. Tiger admitted afterwards had it not hit the hole it would have ended up off the green. He went on to win by one shot – still his only Players Championship victory to date.
GM Rating 74.3/100
75. Seve Ballesteros- Bunker shot, Shell’s World of Golf
In a match against archrival Paul Azinger, Seve found a fairway bunker on the 6th. Up near the face, the only option looked a blast out to the fairway. But Seve selected a 9-iron, put his weight back in his stance and fired a towering shot out of the sand, high into the air and onto the green. “There’s only one man in the world who could play that shot,” Azinger reluctantly conceded.
GM Rating 74.8/100
74. Nick Faldo- 2-iron to 13th, final round, 1996 US Masters
With Norman’s meltdown in full flow after a watery double on 12, and Faldo now leading for the first time, the Englishman hit a safe drive down the right of 13 prompting the CBS commentator to say, “That’s got lay-up in it, there.” With Norman forced into doing just that, it would have been perfectly understandable too. But Faldo was having none of it, almost pulling the trigger on a fairway wood before changing his mind. The rest was sheer majesty. With the ball above his feet he striped a 2-iron to the heart of the green to really turn the screw and send out a message that he was in total control.
GM Rating 75/100
“Anything within six or seven feet would have been good,” explained Ben Crenshaw of his 60-foot putt at the 10th on the final day of the 1984 Masters. Crenshaw was in contention and had hit a safe 3-iron to the front edge with the pin dangerously back left. Through shadows and uphill, the American – generally regarded as the game’s finest with the flatstick – started his putt right before a 20ft detour left. It slowed and dropped. “Greatest putt I’ve ever seen,” enthused the commentator.
GM Rating 75.6/100
72. Graeme McDowell- Albatross at Valderrama, 2007 Volvo Masters
Valderrama’s 17th has witnessed much drama over the years, but the stunning albatross McDowell made on Sunday while contending for the 2007 title tops the lot. His sweetly struck 7-iron from 186 yards pitched just short, hopped up on to the green and curled straight into the back-right cup. “Just one of those adrenaline moments that are irreplaceable,” he later reflected. Too much adrenaline, however, as he sadly went on to double the last and finish 4th.
GM Rating 76/100
71. Craig Parry- Holed 6-iron to win play-off, Doral, 2004
In 2004, Doral’s 18th was the toughest hole on the PGA Tour and for good reason, for this home hole requires an arrow straight drive and nerves of steel to avoid the water down the left side of the fairway. At the Ford Championship, Craig Parry and Scott Verplank were tied after 72 holes, and headed back to the tee of the ‘Blue Monster’. With Verplank well positioned, Parry struck a perfect 6-iron, which landed six feet short of the pin, rolled up the green and toppled into the hole. Verplank smiled in astonishment and conceded, “I guess he was supposed to win!”
GM Rating 76.7/100