Golf's Greatest Leaps


Golf's Greatest Leaps

February 29, 2016

Phil Mickelson (2004 Masters)

Mickelson "jumped" for joy after making a birdie putt on No. 18 to win his long-awaited first major. We say "jumped," because this photo is very flattering. Phil's vertical was actually about three inches.

Mike Hicks (1999 U.S. Open)

Previously, Mickelson only watched such celebrations like in this case. Here, Payne Stewart's caddie leaps into his boss's arms following Stewart's dramatic win over Phil at Pinehurst.

Hale Irwin (1990 U.S. Open)

Everyone remembers Irwin running around Medinah's 18th green on Sunday after making a long putt to get into a playoff, but he showed off his hops on Monday after making birdie to beat Mike Donald in a playoff. Not bad for a 45-year-old.

Sergio Garcia (1999 PGA Championship)

Nine years later at Medinah, another famous leap happened with a much younger golfer. A spry Sergio Garcia, 19, gave us this memorable reaction after hitting a remarkable recovery shot from the base of a tree on No. 16. And he wasn't done jumping that year. . .

Sergio Garcia (1999 Ryder Cup)

An animated Garcia's star grew at the 1999 Ryder Cup. And his enthusiasm was contagious. Here, Jesper Parnevik gets into the jumping spirit.

Justin Leonard (1999 Ryder Cup)

Of course, Justin Leonard -- and the rest of Team USA -- got the last, um, leap, that year.

Sergio Garcia (1999 Ryder Cup)

But no one got as much height as Sergio. Come to think of it, it's actually pretty amazing Garcia has never gotten hurt with these aerial celebrations. That's not to say others haven't. . .

Thomas Levet (2011 French Open)

A fellow Ryder Cupper, Levet's excitement after winning his national open ended in a broken leg. His buddy smartly avoided injury by pulling his legs up higher before impact. For future reference, Thomas, that's what you're supposed to do in shallow water.

Stacy Lewis' Mom (2011 Kraft Nabisco Championship)

Stacy Lewis' mom (blue shirt) also suffered a broken leg after joining her daughter in the traditional winner's leap into Poppie's Pond at Mission Hills Country Club. Ouch.

Pablo Larrazabal (2014 Maybank Malaysian Open)

And Larrazabal stripped down and jumped into a pond to avoid further injury after being attacked by a swarm of hornets. Good, quick thinking there.

Lexi Thompson (2014 Kraft Nabisco Championship)

Of course, the leap into Poppie's Pond usually goes smoothly. And check out her caddie, Benji Thompson, showing off some serious tumbling skills. Major style points.

Bob Tway (1986 PGA Championship)

Poor Greg Norman, Part I.

Larry Mize (1987 Masters)

Poor Greg Norman, Part II.

Tom Watson (1982 U.S. Open)

OK, so his famous chip-in on No. 17 at Pebble Beach to beat Jack Nicklaus produced more of a running gallop, but we're counting it anyway. Watson was probably too stunned the ball actually went into the hole to do a full jump.

Jerry Pate (1982 Players)

After becoming the first winner at TPC Sawgrass' Stadium Course, Pate threw course architect Pete Dye and PGA Tour commissioner Deane Beman into the lake next to the 18th green. Then Pate jumped dived belly-flopped in himself.

Rich Beem (2007 Nissan Open)

Beem proved memorable golf leaps don't always have to come at a major or at a tournament with a pond by the 18th green. Making a hole-in-one to win a free car produces similar results. Even for tour pros. Even when it's just a Nissan.

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