Countdown to 2017 Masters: Six of the Best Shots Ever at Augusta National
OK, if you aren’t excited by now you should really check for a pulse.
We are literally days away from the start of ‘Masters Week’ and the commencement of the first major championship of 2017.
As Augusta National gets ready to welcome the world's best for the 81st instalment of the Masters, it's surely the perfect time to have a look at some of the best shots played over the years on the hallowed fairways and greens of one of the world’s most famous golf courses.
Let’s see what we have gathered together as our ‘Six of the Best’.
Tiger Woods – 2005 Masters (16th Hole)
Without doubt one of the most famous chipped hole-outs in all of golf. What Tiger Woods conjured on the 16th hole at Augusta National in 2005, while in his breathtaking pomp, defied all logic.
Firmly in the midst of a final round collapse, Tiger pulled his tee shot left of the green with the ball coming to rest up against the collar of rough. Severe green undulation served only to make a tricky shot all the more horrendously difficult and nothing better than a bogey seemed in play.
Hitting a perfect chip 25-feet left of the hole allowed the ball to navigate a large ridge and trundle on an adventurous path down towards the hole. Teetering on the very edge of the cup, the second or so before gravity did its work seemed an eternity. Woods secured the unlikeliest of birdies and went on to beat Chris DiMarco on the first play-off hole and, with it, his fourth Green Jacket.
Bubba Watson – 2012 Masters (2nd Playoff Hole)
This shot has to be in there for pure imaginative shot-making ability alone. That’s before we even begin to consider the importance.
Bubba found himself deep in the trees on the second playoff hole and was facing a mammoth task just to save his par. With 163 yards between the big Floridian and the flag, he managed to arc a sweeping hook 45 yards around the gathered spectators and to within 10 feet.
As his playoff companion Louis Oosthuizen was unable to make par, Watson had two putts to capture the first of his two career Green Jackets to date - and he duly obliged.
Larry Mize – 1987 Masters (2nd Playoff Hole)
Another one which went right down to the wire, the 1987 Masters was settled after a three-way playoff as eventual winner Larry Mize finished tied with both Greg Norman and Seve Ballesteros after 72 holes.
With Mize every inch the underdog, he did well to navigate the first playoff hole which saw the great Spanish master Ballesteros eliminated. The odds were firmly in the Great White Shark’s favour at the par 3 second hole as his tee shot found the putting surface and Mize missed by a fair margin.
Seemingly in need of a par, at least, to continue the contest, Mize stepped up and hit what remains the best shot of his career. An impeccably struck chip shot fired towards the hole and rattled into the cup for the most improbable of birdie twos. Norman failed with his attempt to extend. Cue scenes.
Gene Sarazen – 1935 Masters (15th Hole)
How can we compile a list without ‘The shot heard 'round the world’?
In only the second ever Masters, back when it was still called the Augusta National Invitational, Gene Sarazen was entering his final few holes firmly up against it, as tournament leader Craig Wood sat in the clubhouse with a comfortable three shot cushion.
After a solid drive on the par 5 15th, Sarazen elected to go for the green in two. A stinging four wood travelled the remaining 235 yards and into the cup for one of the earliest recorded ‘double eagles’ in the history of the game.
The American went on to prevail in a 36 hole playoff against Wood.
Jack Nicklaus – 1986 Masters (16th Hole)
No Masters compilation would be complete without the great ‘Golden Bear’. Possibly his most memorable shot at Augusta National came during his final Masters winning appearance in 1986.
After firing in an eagle putt on the previous hole, Nicklaus hit a five iron right of the flag and spun the ball majestically to within four feet. Little more than a kick-in birdie helped in carding a back nine 30 which was enough to crown Nicklaus a six-time Masters champion and, at the age of 46, the oldest in the history of the game.
Phil Mickelson – 2010 Masters (13th Hole)
A stunning six iron from ‘Lefty’ is more than worth a mention. From 207 yards out, and in the pine straw - with Rae’s Creek to navigate - the three time Masters champion managed to cosy it up to within three feet for eagle.
Unfortunately, Phil missed the short putt and had to settle for birdie but it doesn't change the fact that it was one heck of a shot.
Here's that memorable Mickelson moment:
Which shots over the years have really got you going? Have we missed any obvious humdingers? Let us know on Facebook and Twitter.