Golf shots come in all shapes and sizes. Three-hundred-yard drives count the same as 30-foot putts. Approach shots can mean as much as bunker shots. One stroke can win a championship, while another can win nothing but leave folks chatting about it the next day.
We saw all kinds of everything this year on the PGA Tour, but narrowed our list of best shots down to nine. In reverse order, enjoy:
9) Scott Brown bounces tee shot off bridge for tap-in eagle
Scott Brown tied for 62nd at The Barclays, but he turned in the shot of the tournament when he attempted to drive the green on the 325-yard, par-4 16th hole during the first round. His tee shot sliced toward a pond, but bounced right off a bridge, onto the fairway, and rolled to within four feet of the cup.
8) Keegan Bradley eagles, goes Dufnering
Keegan Bradley, who earlier in the year helped his good buddy Jason Dufner to internet fame by spreading the Dufnering meme, got paired with his pal for the final round of the final event of the year, the Tour Championship. With Dufner watching, Bradley holed out from 170 yards for eagle at No. 7, then sat down in the fairway and slouched over, acting out Dufner’s famous pose.
7) Patrick Reed sticks approach from pine needles, wins first event
Battling 20-year-old wunderkind Jordan Spieth at the Wyndham Championship, Patrick Reed appeared to give up the title when he sent his drive into the trees on the second playoff hole. But his approach shot from there stopped seven feet from the hole and his subsequent birdie putt gave him his first PGA Tour victory. “It was the best shot of my life, that’s for sure,” Reed said. “One of the best shots I’ve ever witnessed,” Spieth said. [2:10 mark]
6) Henrik Stenson seals Deutsche Bank with bunker hole-out
Henrik Stenson held a two-stroke lead as he sent his approach shot at No. 17 into sand, the first bunker he found himself in all tournament. Chomping at his heels was Steve Stricker, who was about to putt for eagle and a share of the lead. Yet, even if Stricker sank it (he didn’t) it wouldn’t have mattered because Stenson holed out for birdie. The victory gave him the lead for the FedExCup, which he’d secure two events later by winning the Tour Championship.
5) Shawn Stefani sinks incredible ace at U.S. Open
In terms of fortune, this is the shot of the year. At the 229-yard, par-3 17th, Shawn Stefani’s tee shot hit off a hill and rolled ever so slowly right into the cup. If the cup was a magnet and the ball were metal, this is exactly what that would have looked like.
4) Phil Mickelson runs it onto green to continue birdie run
Phil Mickelson never considered himself a great player on links-style courses, where punch-and-run shots can be more effective than Mickelson’s patented flop shots. But he morphed himself into a fantastic links player on Sunday at the Open Championship, as evidenced by his second shot at the 575-yard, par-5 17th. He’d birdie the final two holes en route to a three-stroke victory and his first Claret Jug. [4:10 mark]
3) Jim Furyk sticks approach on 18 to card a 59
After Jim Furyk opened the BMW Championship with a 1-over-par 72, no one could have guessed he’d turn in the best round of the season the next day. But the 43-year-old was feeling it early and often in the second round, which he opened with three straight birdies and finished 12 under par. He needed to stick his 103-yard approach shot close to the final hole to have a chance at 59 – three feet, three inches from the cup was good enough.
2) Adam Scott sinks 20-footer to get into Masters playoff
No Australian had ever won the Masters, and Adam Scott was well aware of that as he stood over a 20-foot putt on the final hole that would force a playoff with Angel Cabrera. Scott spun it around the edge and in, shouted “Come on Aussies!” and then dropped a 15-footer on the second playoff hole to secure a green jacket and his first major.
1) Jordan Spieth chips in on final hole at John Deere Classic
The shot of the year because of what transpired after this 72nd-hole chip-in found the bottom of the cup. It forced a playoff, which Jordan Spieth won to become the youngest player to win a PGA Tour event in 82 years. Had he not triumphed at the John Deere Classic he wouldn’t have earned PGA Tour status, wouldn’t have qualified for the Open Championship, wouldn’t have made it into the FedExCup playoffs, and wouldn’t have become the youngest player to compete in the season-ending Tour Championship.