Ranking the Most Incredible Shots of Tiger Woods' and Mickelson's Careers

Lyle Fitzsimmons@@fitzbitzFeatured ColumnistNovember 15, 2018

Ranking the Most Incredible Shots of Tiger Woods' and Mickelson's Careers

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    Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

    They've got 19 majors and countless millions of dollars between them.

    So when it comes to memorable golf shotsin terms of both improbability and sheer dramayou would be hard-pressed to find a more bountiful pairing than Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson.

    The two will get together on Nov. 23 in Capital One's "The Match: Tiger vs. Phil," with $9 million up for grabs as they attempt to add to their already prodigious collections of highlight-reel moments.

    The event will be offered for $19.99 on pay-per-view by B/R Live, among others.

    To continue getting into the mano-a-mano spirit, we compiled a list of some of the pair's most impressive shots, again taking their circumstances—whether competitive or positional—into account.

Phil: 2012 Masters

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    It wasn't a tournament-winning shot—or even a playoff-inducing one.

    But when it comes to illustrating the magic in the hands of Phil Mickelson, it works nicely.

    Sitting awkwardly off the green on the par-five 15th hole at Augusta, Lefty pulled out a 64-degree wedge and sent the ball soaring some 20 yards in the air, though it landed just 15 yards from where its flight began.

    It stopped still on the green after a few rolls, five feet from the hole, drawing instant raves from a previously hushed gallery, not to mention an equally impressed announce team.

    "If this doesn't make every hair on your body stand up, you need therapy," CBS' broadcaster said

Tiger: 1996 Milwaukee Open

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    Pertinent video begins at 0:21.

    It was a routine 6-iron on the 14th hole at the Greater Milwaukee Open, 22 years ago.

    And compared to the multitude of moments the golfer formerly known as Eldrick would go on to pull off, some would contend it is insignificant. But the moment the ball rolled into the hole for an ace at Brown Deer Park Golf Course, the stage for all those subsequent moments was symbolically set.

    It was, after all, Woods' pro debut. And the broadcaster showed great prescience in saying "I guarantee you, years from now, fathers will tell sons, 'You know, I was out there at Brown Deer the day Tiger made that hole in one.' ... Welcome to the future."

    "Hello, world," indeed.

Phil: 2013 British Open

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    If the man himself says it's one of his best shots, we have to agree.

    Mickelson was in the midst of a career-augmenting final round at the 2013 British Open when he arrived at the 17th hole. A 3-wood off the tee set up another 3-wood from the fairway, which he went ahead and crushedsending it skittering all the way to the green on the 575-yard monster hole.

    A 25-foot putt was too much to ask, but Lefty coolly birdied to give himself a two-shot lead with a single hole to play.

    Game. Set. Match.

Tiger: 2005 Masters

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    Anything we can say, Verne Lundquist can say better.

    And when it came to Tiger's green-side chip on the 16th at Augusta in 2005, little else is needed.

    The shot combined Woods' skill, competitive courage and boundless mettle on the big stage—not to mention the CBS veteran's knack for knowing less is more when it comes to memorable broadcasts.

    "Oh my goodness," he shrieked. "Oh wow! In your life, have you ever seen anything like that?"

Phil: 2000 Chevron World Challenge

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    Tell the truth.

    If you heard that a golfer had chipped in on a hail-covered green, you would probably think it was Phil Mickelson.

    And in this case, you would be right.

    The 2000 Chevron World Challenge at Grayhawk Golf Club was the site of a sudden hailstorm. Mickelson elected to play out his round rather than wait out the weather to finish the 18th hole.

    Though playing partner Mark O'Meara ended up four-putting from 30 feet on a slippery, bumpy green, Mickelson undauntedly pulled out a wedge and pitched his ball from the putting surface.

    It flew a short distance, bounced once and rolled into the cup, prompting a jovial Lefty to suggest, per ESPN: "I just needed a few obstacles. The chip-putt was the shot of my year."

Tiger: 2002 PGA Championship

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    That's why he's Tiger Woods, and you're not.

    Perched in a bunker with a downhill lie and an up-close view of a tree, Woods found himself 210 yards short of the 18th hole in the 2002 PGA Championship at Hazeltine.

    It would be a perilous proposition for most mortals, but just another day at the office for Tiger.

    He stepped up and ripped a 3-iron around the tree and carried it to the green within eight feet, allowed a wry smile to leak out as he strolled up the fairway and then coolly drained the putt—as if there were any doubt.

Phil: 2010 BMW Championship

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    Sometimes, it's preferable for the people when Mickelson misses the green.

    That was the case at the 2010 BMW Championship at Cog Hill Golf & Country Club in Lemont, Illinois.

    There, after stumbling to a bogey on the seventh hole, he missed with an approach to the eighth and instead wound up in the short rough about five or so feet off the putting surface.

    No matter. Lefty had it right where he wanted it.

    With a simple flick of the forearms and wrists, he gently plopped the ball on to the short grass and watched it roll the remainder of the 75 feet into the heart of the cup.

    He wound up finishing tied for eighth, but when it comes to lingering impressions, he wins.

Tiger: 2008 PGA Championship

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    A pulled tee shot found a bunker on the fairway's left side. A second shot wound up in the right rough, 101 yards from the par-five 18th hole—in this case, the 72nd hole at the 2008 U.S. Open.

    Not exactly the typical Tiger Woods setup.

    But the finish, courtesy of a player with a stress fracture in his left leg, wound up remarkable.

    A 60-degree wedge landed on the green and rolled to a stop about 12 feet away.

    And when the subsequent putt—which meant either a tie that would force an 18-hole next-day playoff or a maddening runner-up finish to comparative upstart Rocco Mediate—fell into the hole, Dan Hicks had his own career-defining cue.

    "Expect anything different?" he cried, to cap off NBC's broadcast.

Phil: 2010 Masters

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    The CBS broadcaster called it "the greatest shot of his life."

    Who are we to argue?

    Sitting awkwardly on pine straw, alongside two inconveniently placed trees on the par-five 13th at the 2010 Masters, Mickelson boldly decided to go for the green from 207 yards away.

    He executed the shot to perfection, snapping the ball between the trees and just over Rae's Creek to its resting place, less than 10 feet from the hole.

    One birdie later, and a third green jacket was all but his.

Tiger: 2000 PGA Championship

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    Pertinent video begins at 1:39.

    It was the finger point heard around the world.

    Woods was locked with Bob May on the first of a three-hole playoff for the 2000 PGA Championship, staring at a 20-footer for birdie.

    He made a firm stroke, sent the ball rolling and, in a blur of unparalleled competitive adrenaline and confidence, pointed defiantly as he took six strides toward the cup—arriving just as it dropped into the left side.

    The clutch shot gave Tiger a decisive one-shot advantage, but the optics added yet another unforgettable layer to the mystique of the sport's all-time greatest phenomenon.