The increased number of events all over the world and the number of exceptional players lends itself to an annual summary of shots that are truly spectacular. This compendium attempts to cover a range of shots that reflect outstanding talent and make history in some way, as well being examples of phenomenal luck. Enjoy!
Patrick Reed – Ryder Cup – Hazeltine National
The fierce competitive team spirit that is The Ryder Cup inspires players to really go for it! There were many great couch-jumping shots. But one that stands out is Patrick Reed’s eagle on day two. Paired with Jordan in the four-ball, with the match all square by the 6th hole, Reed pops his 3rd shot well behind the pin only to watch the spin work its magic and the ball roll back into the hole. The crowd and Reed go nuts and rightfully so.
Rory McIlroy – TOUR Championship – East Lake GC
Rory McIlroy, in the final round, holes out from 137 yards to snatch an eagle on the par 4 16th. This was a stupendous shot, filled with confidence from the moment it left the club. He goes on to win this event.
Rory McIlroy – The Irish Open – The K Club
Rory gets another gong with his shot on the par 5 18th at The Irish Open. The video fly-over attests to the degree of difficulty. The water carry to the green on his 2nd shot is intimidating, to say the least. But he drilled it like a bullet with a fairway wood and got it within gimme range for an eagle putt to close and take the title. It’s a shot that can be watched over and over again! An added element of interest is that McIlroy donated every cent of his winnings to his foundation — sweet!
Will Wilcox – The Players – TPC Sawgrass
Aces are mesmerizing to watch. We never tire of replaying them and imagining what it might feel like. The notoriously difficult island green 17th at Sawgrass is the stuff of nightmares. In the second round of The Players Championship 2016, Will Wilcox finds the bottom of the cup for a hole-in-one on this terrifying par 3. It is the first hole-in-one since Miguel Angel Jimenez’s ace here in 2002.
Let’s not forget that on day two Matthew Fitzpatrick pulled a rabbit out of the hat on his final hole. He needed to chip in off the green to make the cut, from a near-impossible spot to the pin. His chip from 73 feet is successful and the eagle results in him making the cut. Surely there is no shot with more pressure on a Friday than that!
Morgan Hoffman – Safeway Open – Silverado Resort and Spa
Morgan Hoffman’s albatross on the par 5 18th is a beautiful sight to behold. After a solid drive, he takes an iron to the 251 yards remaining. A few bounces on the edge of green and it rolls spectacularly into the hole. Another shot that is best enjoyed at least half a dozen times.
Shane Lowry – The Masters – Augusta National
On the last day of play, something quite extraordinary took place. For the first time in Master’s history, the 181-yard 16th hole was literally peppered with aces. Shane Lowry racked up the first ace with his 8-iron. Thirty minutes later, Davis Love III did the same with his 7-iron. It didn’t end there. Louis Oosthuizen’s 7-iron punched to the back, rolled down, rebounded off J.B. Holmes ball, already on the green, and onwards it went into the hole. Talent, history and luck all rolled into one!
Ha-Na Jang – Pure Silk Classic – Ocean Club Golf Course, Bahamas
South Korean, Ha-Na Jang made LPGA history with her albatross this year by acing the 8th hole. A 3-wood off the tee on this short but wind-affected 218-yard par 4 did the trick. This was the first ever albatross on a par 4 in the history of the Ladies PGA Tour. For this reason, the shot makes it on the best list for 2016.
Minjee Lee – Kia Classic – Aviara Golf Club
Four weeks after Jang’s historical albatross, Australian teen, Minjee Lee, recorded a spectacular albatross in the third round of the Kia Classic. The 234-yard 16th is a big downhiller. Lee struck a 5-wood strategically short, only to watch it bounce then roll into the hole. Wow.
Tiger Woods – Hero World Challenge – New Providence, Bahamas
It has been a few years since Tiger graced a “best shot” list. Would any list be complete without the guy who has given us some of the most memorable shots in recent times?
On the third day of the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods compiled three straight birdies to start his round but makes trip up by finding the sand trap, short of the green, on the par 3 5th. With some breeze to tackle and a challenging pin and borrow, ol’ Tiger reads it perfectly and in it rolls…. Just like the old days. Welcome back Tiger!
The best of 2016
Researching this story was such a pleasure! Investing weeks and weeks replaying shots from a vast range of tournaments throughout this year was nothing short of inspirational. Seeing the shots in isolation though is not quite the same thrill as seeing them unfold during live play. Nonetheless, trawling through hundreds of great shots is still an exhilarating pastime.
There are no doubts that this selection can be challenged by other best shots. With so many to choose from it becomes a matter of personal taste and application of criteria. Either way, we would give a great deal to play any one of these shots — just once — in our next round!
— N. Incoll