10 Craziest Shots of All Time
The U.S. Open is arguably golf's most important tournament and biggest stage, where great players become heroes with out of this world performances. Such a huge stage lends itself to memorable moments -- some terrific, some terrible. Here are 10 of the most insane shots ever hit at the tournament, both good and bad.
10 Rory McIlleroy's Response
The 2011 U.S. Open at Congressional was when young Rory McIlleroy cemented his place as a true force in the game. After a devastating collapse cost him the Masters title just a few months earlier, McIlleroy put together a great final round to bring home his first major championship. This shot, on the 10th hole of that final round, locked up the tournament thanks to a great start, as the young European glided one over the massive water hazard on the way to a tap in birdie.
9. T.C. Chen Double Taps
This one belongs in the terrible category. T.C. Chen collapsed down the stretch in 1985, blowing a four stroke to eventual champion Andy North. It was all set off by this embarrassing double-chip, which cost him a stroke penalty and set off a streak of heartbreak, ending with a second place finish for Chen.
8. Corey Pavin's 54 - Wood Helps Bring Home His First Major Title
Corey Pavin took home his only major championship victory as he nearly found the bottom of the cup from the middle of the fairway on this incredible shot. Greg Norman and Tom Watson would falter down the stretch, and Pavin celebrated Father's Day by hoisting the hardware.
7. Tom Kite Chips In To History
The seventh craziest shot came on the seventh hole of Tom Kite's final round in the 1992 tournament. Kite chipped in from behind the seventh green in front of a national television audience as he won his first major title at the age of 42 with an even par 72. He went on to call the shot "the best of his career."
6. Ben Hogan Does It First...
Ben Hogan's career and life were threatened in 1949 when the pioneer golfer was involved in a horrific head-on collision that he barely survived. It would be 1950 when the legend returned to the links, still dealing with the effects of his injury. He put his signature on the comeback by taking home the 1950 U.S. Open on the back of this ridiculous shot with the most unusual of clubs, a 1-iron!
5. ...And Jack Nicklaus Follows Suit
With 22 years passing after Hogan's incredible 1-iron, Jack Nicklaus repeated -- and maybe even bested -- the feat. In the 1972 U.S. Open, he used the iron on the treacherous 17th hole while battling ferocious wind. He stuck the shot right next to the pin and later marveled at his own shot, saying, "The shot I performed, I don't think I could ever do it again."
4. Nick Watney Goes Nuts
Nick Watney didn't bring home the trophy in 2012, but that hardly means this shot should go unmentioned. Watney made only the third double eagle in tournament history when he drained this incredible second shot from the fairway of the 17th hole at the Olympic club.
3. Tom Watson Bests Jack Nicklaus On His Own Hole
We go back to the 17th at Pebble Beach for another shot with implications for Jack Nicklaus. The script was flipped from 1972, when, 10 years after Nicklaus' 1-iron, Watson chipped in from behind the green on 17. Watson famously told his caddy, "I'm not going to get it close, I'm going to make it!" after he told Watson to be cautions on the approach.
2. Hale Irwin Forces A Playoff
A desperation golf putt may be the most pressure packed play in all of sports, but don't tell that to 1990 U.S. Open champ Hale Irwin. Irwin started down a 45-foot putt on the championship's final hole and drained it, forcing an 18-hole playoff.
1. Phil Mickelson Implodes At Winged Foot
This one is atop the list of the craziest shots at the U.S. Open, but for all the wrong reasons. Phil Mickelson needed just a par to win the 2006 U.S. Open, and could even have forced a playoff with a bogey. Instead, Mickelson capped off his Father's Day with perhaps the worst drive at a major tournament, sailing his opening shot on the final hole well wide of the fairway, making contact with a hospitality tent. Lefty would self-destruct after that, finishing second at the tournament, something he has done an astounding six times in his career.