Golf Buzz

November 26, 2017 - 3:50pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Tiger Woods
USA Today
Tiger Woods has been known to hit some amazing shots over the course of his career.

French golfer Victor Dubuisson became a household in 2014 with his mind-blowing performance in a playoff loss to Jason Day in the final of the WGC-Match Play Championship.

Yes -- a playoff loss.

To jog your memory, Dubuisson pulled off two of the most amazing (OK, luck was certainly a factor too) shots you'll ever see in order to stay alive on the first and second playoff holes respectively.

Dubuisson's ability to pull off these two highly unlikely shots got us thinking of some other clutch shots in recent history.

As you look through the list, keep in mind these shots are in no particular order. Also, keep in mind that there are surely others that could make the list. The items below just stuck out in our memory most from recent memory. We also tried to spread the wealth, seeing as Tiger Woods could have a top-10 list of clutch shots all to himself.

MORE: 17 of Tiger Woods' most eye-popping achievements | 10 greatest golfers of all time

10. Phil Mickelson's approach shot at Colonial on the 72nd hole in 2008. In the hunt for another PGA Tour win, Mickelson lost his tee shot way right of the fairway and looked to be in jail, surrounded by trees in heavy rough. While many thought he might simply punch out, Mickelson instead took a wedge from 140 yards, hoisted it high over the trees and within 9 feet of the hole to set up a winning birdie putt.

9. Miguel Angel Jimenez on the Road Hole at St. Andrews in 2010 British Open. Ah, the dreaded Road Hole at St. Andrews -- one of the most famous and most difficult holes in golf. At the 2010 British Open, Jimenez launched an approach that sailed wide right of the green, across the road and against the stone wall. An unplayable lie for sure, right? Not for Jimenez. Instead -- with his back to the hole -- Jimenez hit the ball into the wall. The ball popped up over Jimenez's head and landed on the green about 15 feet from the cup.

8. Bill Haas from the water on the par-4 17th hole at East Lake in a playoff at the 2011 Tour Championship. Surely you remember this one. Haas was vying not only to win the tournament, but also the FedExCup title. His playoff opponent was Hunter Mahan, who was in full control. Haas's golf ball was half submerged in water left of the green and he not only put it on the green, but knocked it to within 2 feet to set up a par and eventually won the tournament on the very next hole.

7. Tiger Woods chip in for birdie on No. 16 at Augusta National during the 2005 Masters. Pretty simple (yeah, right). The announcers explained it would be impossible for Woods to get close to the hole from his position after a poor tee shot on this famous par three. So what did he do? Woods chipped the ball about 30 feet past the hole into a backstop and watched with the rest of the world as it rolled back before dying into the cup for the most unlikely of birdies.

MORE: 5 of the best announcer calls in golf history


6. Fred Couples gets a "hole-in-three" at the 1999 Players Championship. No. 17 at TPC Sawgrass is one of, if not the most popular par-3 in golf. Like many before and after him, Fred Couples came up short and watched his ball splash into the water. He quickly re-teed and proceeded to knock the shot in on the fly -- a hole-in-one... or, in this case, "a hole-in-three" and the best par save you'll ever see. (Skip ahead to the 1:46 mark of the video below.)



5. Australian Craig Parry's walk-off eagle in a playoff at the 2004 Ford Championship at Doral. On the 18th hole at the Blue Monster, Parry was on the first hole of a playoff with Scott Verplank. It didn't last long. From the middle of the fairway, Parry hit a perfect 6-iron that tracked to the hole and dropped in for an eagle that ended the tournament before the pair even reached the green.

4. Speaking of walk-off wins, there may be none better than Jonathan Byrd's in the 2010 Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. On the fourth hole of a three-man playoff and with light -- or a lack thereof -- becoming a serious factor, Byrd aced the 17th hole from 196 yards to end it.



3. Steve Stricker on the 72nd hole at the 2011 John Deere Classic. This is a "two for the price of one" offering. First, Stricker's remarkable approach from 182 yards out and an awkward lie in a fairway bunker that settled in the fringe, 25 feet from the hole. Then, he knocked in the putt for a birdie and the win.

2. Jordan Spieth's bunker shot to win the 2017 Travelers Championship. Spieth's 10th career PGA Tour victory came in dramatic fashion at the Travelers Championship. On the first playoff hole against Daniel Berger, Spieth faced an important bunker shot to try and make par and extend the match. Instead of par, the 3-time major champion delivered one of the more exciting birdies (and celebrations) you'll ever see which led to the win.

1. Paul Casey's walk-off ace in the 2006 Ryder Cup. In a foursomes match on the Saturday of the 2006 Ryder Cup at the K Club in Ireland, Casey closed out the match on the 14th hole with an ace from 213 yards. It remains the only time in Ryder Cup history that a match has ended with a hole in one. (Skip ahead to the 3:12 mark of the video below.)

Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tjauclair.


November 26, 2017 - 3:25pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Tiger Woods
USA Today Sports Images
Tiger Woods' "Tiger Slam" is one of the game's greatest achievements, but it isn't No. 1.

I've been tasked with the impossible: Ranking golf's 9 greatest achievements, in order. How do you even do that?

Who is this schmuck to decide which is better than the other when just about any one of us would dine on a haggis-only diet everyday for the rest of our lives to have accomplished just one of them?

With the realization that ranking these achievements in an order all of us could agree on, is nearly as difficult as reaching just one of the feats that follow. As I run to take cover, here goes nothing...

9. Jim Furyk's 12-under 58. OK. If I'm being honest, it felt dirty putting the number "9" in front of this entry. One, because Furyk is the only player in PGA Tour history to accomplish such a feat. Two, before shooting that number at TPC River Highlands (a par 70) in the final round of the 2016 Travelers Championship, he was the last player on Tour to shoot a 59. He did that on On September 13, 2013, at Conway Farms (12 under since the course was a par 71) in the second round of the BMW Championship. So why is this just No. 9 even though it's something that had never happened before on the PGA Tour? I guess the only logical explanation is because it's so new.

8. Jack Nicklaus' 19 runner-up finishes in the majors. Some may argue that this isn't necessarily an "achievement" since it didn't result in victory. I'd argue that there's an exception to every rule and this is one of them because of the man we're talking about. Nicklaus -- the winningest major champion of all time (more on that later) -- also has more runner-up finishes than any player in the game's history. That's almost unfathomable. As ridiculous as this sounds -- and no less than 2016 U.S. Ryder Cup Captain Davis Love III pointed out recently -- Nicklaus could be considered the most snake-bitten golfer of all time based on that stat. The next-most runner-up finishes in majors? That would be 11 by Phil Mickelson. Back to Nicklaus -- 18 major championship wins and 19 times a runner up. Think about that.

MORE: The 22 times Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods played in the same major

7. Sam Snead's 82 PGA Tour victories. That's just astounding. Only two other players in the game's history have more than 70 PGA Tour wins (Jack Nicklaus, 73; Tiger Woods, 79). Here are some other incredible Snead fun facts:

- Oldest to win a PGA Tour event, the 1965 Greater Greensboro Open, at 52 years, 10 months and 8 days.

- By winning the 1960 De Soto Open Invitational, Snead became the first player to win PGA Tour titles in four different decades (since matched by Raymond Floyd).

- Oldest player to make the cut at a major: age 67 years, 2 months, 7 days at the 1979 PGA Championship.

- First PGA Tour player to shoot his age with a 67 in the second round of the 1979 Quad Cities Open.

- Oldest player to make a cut on the PGA Tour: age 67 years, 2 months, 21 days at the 1979 Manufacturers Hanover Westchester Classic.

- Only player to post a top-10 finish in at least one major championship in five different decades.

6. Francis Ouimet wins the 1913 U.S. Open at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass. This wasn't just an amazing singular accomplishment. It was also the reason for a golf boom in the United States. When Ouimet won the national championship as a 20-year-old amateur (on his home course, no less), he became the "father of amateur golf" in the United States by taking down the likes of famous, accomplished professionals Harry Vardon and Ted Ray. When you think of American golf legends, you think of names like Jones, Nelson, Hogan, Nicklaus, Palmer, Woods. Keep in mind, Ouimet was the first "hero" in American golf.

5. Byron Nelson's 1945 season. In all, Nelson won 52 times in his illustrious PGA Tour career, including four majors. Remarkably, 18 of those victories came in the 1945 season, including 11 in a row. He entered 30 tournaments that year and won 18 of them. Are you serious? In seven of those 30 starts, Nelson was the runner up. Nelson's scoring average in 1945 was 68.34, bettered by only one player in the game's history -- Tiger Woods. Woods had a scoring average of 68.17 in his historic 2000 season.

4. Ben Hogan's 1953 "Triple Crown" season. Just four years removed from a horrific car accident that nearly claimed his life, Hogan put together one of the finest season's in the game's history. He entered just six events total and won five of them, including three major championships (the "Triple Crown") -- the Masters, U.S. Open and Open Championship. Hogan never had a chance to complete the "Grand Slam" that year because the Open Championship (July 1-7) at Carnoustie overlapped the PGA Championship (July 6-10). It was the only time that a golfer had won three major professional championships in a year until Tiger Woods won the final three majors in 2000 (and the first in 2001).

3. The Tiger Slam. Otherwise known as the "non-calendar year Grand Slam." Woods accomplished this feat by winning the 2000 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, 2000 Open Championship at St. Andrews, 2000 PGA Championship at Valhalla and then the 2001 Masters. Since his four consecutive major victories did not come in the same season, he couldn't claim a "grand slam." While not deemed a "grand slam" holding all four trophies at the same time in the four biggest tournaments in professional golf was remarkable. Four majors in a row.

Whether you want to call it a "Grand Slam" or a "Tiger Slam" you can't deny that it's simply unbelievable.

MORE: 17 of Tiger Woods' most eye-popping achievements

2. Bobby Jones and the "Impregnable Quadrilateral." Before the majors were what we know them to be today (Masters, U.S. Open, Open Championship and PGA Championship), they consisted of these four tournaments: The Amateur Championship (also known as the British Amateur), the Open Championship, the U.S. Open and the U.S. Amateur.

In 1930, legendary amateur golfer Bobby Jones won all four tournaments -- The Amateur Championship at the Old Course at St. Andrews; The Open Championship at Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake, England; the U.S. Open at Interlachen Country Club in Minnesota; and the U.S. Amateur at Merion Golf Club in Pennsylvania.

O.B. Keeler, a legendary writer and friend of Jones, coined the feat the "Impregnable Quadrilateral" -- a phrase we know today as "The Grand Slam." Jones was the first -- and remains the only -- player to win all four major championships in a single season.

It's one thing to win all four majors in a season. It's another thing to "know" you're going to do it. Early in 1930, before the first tournament of the Slam, Jones placed a bet on himself to win all four with British bookmakers at 50-to-1 odds. After he did it, Jones collected over $60,000 in winnings.

1. Jack Nicklaus' 18 major championship victories. While you can easily make arguments for or against the order of the achievements listed above, is there any denying that this is the undisputed No. 1? Here's the breakdown:

Masters: 6
- 1963, 1965, 1966, 1972, 1975, 1986

U.S. Open: 4
- 1962, 1967, 1972, 1980

Open Championship: 3
- 1966, 1970, 1978

PGA Championship: 5
- 1963, 1971, 1973, 1975, 1980

That's a career Grand Slam triple. The next closest in major wins to Nicklaus is Tiger Woods with 14. You know how some sports have those seemingly untouchable records -- Barry Sanders' 14 consecutive 100-yard rushing games; Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's 38,387 career points; Wayne Gretzky's 2,857 career points; Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hit streak; Cal Ripken Jr.'s 2,632 consecutive games played? In golf, the Golden Bear's 18 major wins is the pinnacle.