15 best golf shots of 2016

Rocco Mediate
After hundreds and hundreds of hours of watching golf in 2016, we've compiled this list of what we believe to be the 15 best shots in the last 12 months.
By T.J. Auclair
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Series: Golf Buzz

Published: Saturday, December 17, 2016 | 11:32 a.m.

So many tournaments. So many rounds of golf. So many phenomenal golf shots.

Professional golfers truly are magicians and you really can't appreciate just how good they actually are unless you're up close and personal at an event.

We watched hundreds of hours of golf in 2016 and compiled this list of what we believe to be the 15 best golf shots over the last 12 months.

RELATED: 2016 golf superlatives | Best PGA of America photos | Best golf quotes


15. Billy Hurley III's 35-yard pitch in on the 15th hole during the final round of the Quicken Loans National. Hurley, a Navy veteran, would go on to win -- his first PGA Tour victory. It was extra emotional because during the same tournament a year earlier, Hurley's father was missing and then found. A month later, his father took his own life. Life is far more important than golf, but it was something else to watch Hurley hoist the trophy after the awful 12 months he and his family endured.

14. Rory McIlroy's 253-yard approach shot to the par-5 closing hole in the Irish Open. All class. Stuff it from 253 yards out to within 3 feet for an eagle to finish off a victory? Does it get any better?

13. Phil Mickelson's flop shot at the Deutsche Bank Championship. Mickelson is the master of the flop shot. The execution on this one is another example of why.

12. Louis Oosthuizen's hole-in-one at Augusta National in the final round of the Masters. I realize aces are all about luck. This one, though, is as cool a "1" as you'll ever see. Oosthuizen hits a glorious shot into the green at the par-3 16th, the ball hits the backstop and starts tracking toward the hole, but -- OH NO! -- it hits the ball of playing partner J.B. Holmes... and then gets right back on line and drops into the cup. What a cool shot.

11. Patrick Reed's hole out at Hazeltine in the Ryder Cup. Playing the sixth hole in a Saturday fourballs session with Jordan Spieth, Reed fired up the home crowd with this dazzling shot for an eagle.

10. Jimmy Walker's final-round bunker hole-out for birdie in the PGA Championship. Walker hadn't made a birdie all day to that point and that kick-started him for the remainder of the day in helping him claim his first major title.

9. PGA Professional John DalCorobbo's hole-out eagle to close out a 65 in the first round of the Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid. DalCorrobo, the reigning Senior PGA Professional Champion was playing his first tournament round of the year when he hit this amazing approach shot into the 18th green at Harbor Shores in Benton Harbor, Mich.

8. Rory McIlroy and Patrick Reed's matching birdie putts to halve the eighth hole in Sunday's singles matches during the Ryder Cup at Hazeltine. This match was incredible. The level of play and the emotions shown by these two throughout the singles match is what the Ryder Cup is all about.

7. Will Wilcox hole-in-one on the 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass. When you ace one of the most iconic par-3 holes in all of golf -- especially during the Players Championship -- your going to earn a spot on a list like this. And the celebration? A+.

6. Jordan Spieth's chip in for birdie on the 71st hole of the Dean & DeLuca Invitational at Colonial. Spieth would win the tournament by three strokes over Harris English and this birdie provided some nice insurance for the final hole.

5. Henrik Stenson's long birdie putt on the 16th hole at Royal Troon to take a two-shot lead in the final round of the Open Championship. Stenson would go on to shoot a mind-boggling 63 in the final round to top Phil Mickelson for his first major win.

4. Rocco Mediate's bunker hole-out in the final round of the Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid. Mediate was in total control all week at Harbor Shores. But this hole-out for birdie from a greenside bunker at the par-3 17th hole was the dagger that put the tournament away on Mediate's stroll to his first major triumph.

3. Dustin Johnson's approach shot on the final hole at Oakmont on his way to winning the U.S. Open. We all know the drama that was the final round of the U.S. Open. Johnson didn't let it get in his head. On the final hole, he struck what he called, "the shot of my life," to set up a birdie that closed out his first major victory.

2. Rory McIlroy's eagle on No. 16 at East Lake in the Tour Championship. The four-time major champion needed to rally late at East Lake if he was going to win the tournament and the $10 million prize for winning the FedExCup. He did just that with this remarkable eagle on the 16th hole. Of course, he would have to battle Ryan Moore in a sensational playoff before finishing off the tournament, but if this eagle at 16 doesn't happen, there is no playoff.

1. Rich Berberian Jr.'s putt that won the PGA Professional Championship. This particular shot might fly a little lower on the radar than the others on this list, but that doesn't mean it isn't deserving of our top honor. Faced with a 33-foot, uphill birdie putt to take the lead on the 72nd hole of the PGA Professional Championship at Turning Stone Resort's difficult Atunyote course, Berberian made it look like a piece of cake. The putt dropped and it proved to be the winning putt -- the type of scenario golfers dream about -- when Omar Uresti was unable to match.


T.J. Auclair is a Senior Interactive Producer for PGA.com and has covered professional golf since 1998, traveling to over 60 major championships. You can follow him on Twitter, @tjauclair.