Ranking the 10 Best Shots in Masters History

Ben Alberstadt@benalberstadtFeatured ColumnistApril 7, 2015

Ranking the 10 Best Shots in Masters History

0 of 10

    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    With the 79th edition of the Masters Tournament underway, it's fitting to look back at some of the great shots in the history of the "tradition unlike any other." 

    This list is admittedly biased toward more recent Masters strokes of brilliance, as they were captured on video. Unfortunately, we don't have footage of one of the greatest shots in Masters history (a "shot heard 'round the world" from Gene Sarazen in 1935), but video of the rest of these brilliant strikes and strokes exists. 

    So, what factors did we consider for these rankings?  

    • The popular significance of the shot and its iconic weight (1. Few golf fans know of it; 2. Many golf fans know of it; 3. Most golf fans know of it; 4. All golf fans know of it).
    • The shot's importance within the tournament (1. Somewhat important; 2. Important; 3. Very important; 4. Critical to a victory).
    • The shot's overall degree of difficulty (1. Routine; 2. Somewhat difficult; 3. Very difficult; 4. Incredibly difficult).

    Here are the 10 best shots in the history of Bobby Jones' invitational tournament.

10. Arnold Palmer, 1960

1 of 10

    The shot: The King chased down Ken Venturi on Sunday of the 1960 Masters. After pouring in a lengthy putt for birdie at the 17th hole, Arnold Palmer came to the 18th tied with Venturi. Palmer found the fairway and carved a brilliantly struck 6-iron to five feet. Palmer made the birdie and took home the Masters title.  

    Importance within the tournament: 3.5

    Degree of difficulty: 3

    Popular weight: 2

    Total score: 8.5

9. Jack Nicklaus,1975

2 of 10

    The shot: During the final round of the 1975 Masters, Jack Nicklaus rolled in a 40-footer at the 16th hole to tie Tom Weiskopf for the lead. Weiskopf bogeyed the 17th hole, and Nicklaus parred his way in to secure his fifth green jacket. 

    Importance within the tournament: 3.5

    Degree of difficulty: 3

    Popular weight: 2

    Total score: 8.5

8. Sandy Lyle, 1988

3 of 10

    The shot: Sandy Lyle, clad in sandy tones, hit an incredible shot from the fairway bunker on Augusta's 18th hole. The Scotsman came to the 72nd hole of the competition tied with Mark Calcavecchia and played a fantastic 7-iron from the bunker that trickled down the slope to 10 feet. Lyle made the birdie putt and won. 

    Importance within the tournament: 3.5

    Degree of difficulty: 3

    Popular weight: 3

    Total score: 9.5

7. Louis Oosthuizen, 2012

4 of 10

    The shot: Louis Oosthuizen's albatross looked like it was going to be the shot of the 2012 Masters until Bubba Watson found the trees in the pair's sudden-death playoff. In the final round, Oosthuizen's second shot at the at the par-five second hole seemed drawn by a magnet as it rolled onto and along the entire length of the green and into the cup. Truly a fabulous effort. 

    Importance within the tournament: 2

    Degree of difficulty: 4

    Popular weight: 3.75

    Total score: 9.75

6. Jack Nicklaus, 1986

5 of 10

    The shot: The shot that defined Jack Nicklaus' improbable 1986 Masters win featured a majestic back-nine 30 on Sunday. While the putt he holed at the 17th was particularly dramatic, it was his purely struck 5-iron to 12 feet at the 16th to set up an eagle that sent a charge through Augusta National. Nicklas' son, Jack II, who was on the bag, famously said, "Be right." His father's reply: "It is."

    Importance within the tournament: 3.5

    Degree of difficulty: 3.5

    Popular weight: 3

    Total score: 10

5. Phil Mickelson, 2010

6 of 10

    The shot: The essential Phil Mickelson go-for-broke shot, this effort helped propel Phil the Thrill to his third Masters title. Stymied by a pine tree with more than 200 yards to the green, Mickelson, who led by two at the time, had the opportunity to play it safe or try the hero shot. He chose the latter. 

    Importance within the tournament: 3

    Degree of difficulty: 4

    Popular weight: 3.5

    Total score: 10.5

4. Tiger Woods, 2005

7 of 10

    The shot: Tiger Woods played this superb pitch shot from long and left of the 16th green. It was doubly perfect, as he had to get the ball to stop in the appropriate spot to take the break and fall toward the hole, and the ball was inexplicably on the right line to find the bottom of the cup. The pitch helped Woods chase down Chris DiMarco, and he eventually won in a playoff. 

    Importance within the tournament: 3

    Degree of difficulty: 4

    Popular weight: 4

    Total score: 11

3. Larry Mize, 1987

8 of 10

    The shot: Staring down Greg Norman in a sudden-death playoff, Larry Mize found himself 140 feet from the cup and well off the green after his approach. Norman was in a decidedly better position. Mize hit the bump-and-run of a lifetime, and the ball inexplicably found the hole for a birdie three. When Norman couldn't convert his birdie effort, Augusta native Mize won the green jacket. 

    Importance within the tournament: 4

    Degree of difficulty: 4

    Popular weight: 3.5

    Total score: 11.5

2. Gene Sarazen, 1935

9 of 10

    Associated Press

    The shot: "The shot heard 'round the world," as it is called, brought Bobby Jones' invitational tournament to national attention. Trailing by three as he stood in the 15th fairway, Gene Sarazen holed his 235-yard approach shot for an albatross. The Squire forced a 36-hole playoff, eventually vanquishing Craig Wood.

    Importance within the tournament: 4

    Degree of difficulty: 4

    Popular weight: 4

    Total score: 12 

1. Bubba Watson, 2012

10 of 10

    The shot: After pulling his drive left of the 10th fairway in a sudden-death playoff with Louis Oosthuizen, Bubba Watson calmly executed a 40-yard hooking wedge through a chute in the trees. The shot set up a two-putt par and made Watson a master. There are no words for the brilliance of this effort. 

    Importance within the tournament: 4

    Degree of difficulty: 4

    Popular weight: 4

    Total score: 12

🚨 SPORTS NEWS ➡️ YOUR INBOX

The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.


X