10 Best Shots In British Open History
July 06, 2011
Young Tom Morris, 1870: First hole, first round
Using hickory shafts and a guttie ball at Prestwick in what was already the 11th Open, Morris made a 3 on the 578-yard hole, holing a shot of about 200 yards from the fairway. Assuming a par of 6, Morris made what is believed to be the first double eagle. He would eventually win by 12 strokes.
Bobby Jones, 1926: 17th hole, final round
After Jones' tee shot found a sandy lie in the left rough 175 yards from Lytham's hidden 17th green, and with Al Watrous, with whom he was tied, having hit the green in two, Jones hit his mashie inside Watrous' ball. Jones made par, Watrous three-putted and Jones held on for victory.
Arnold Palmer, 1961: 15th hole, final round
At Birkdale, with his tee ball buried in scrub grass right of the fairway, Palmer eschewed popping the ball back onto the fairway and, with his usual swagger, took a mighty rip with a 6-iron, landing the ball onto the green 150 yards away. He would make 4 and win by one over Dai Rees.
Jack Nicklaus, 1970: 18th hole, playoff
With his once four-shot lead over Doug Sanders down to one, Nicklaus removed his sweater and drove his ball through the green on the 358-yard finishing hole at St. Andrews' Old Course. He chipped to eight feet and made the putt for the win with Sanders four feet from the hole in two.
Gene Sarazen, 1973: eighth hole, first round
At age 71, the Squire said goodbye to competitive golf by making a hole-in-one at Troon's 126-yard Postage Stamp hole with a punched 5-iron. It was the 50th anniversary of his first Open appearance and the last in a Grand Slam event for the seven-time major champion.
Tom Watson, 1977: 18th hole, final round
After driving onto the fairway, Watson, who led by one over Jack Nicklaus in their famous Duel in the Sun at Turnberry, hit a 7-iron to less than three feet on the final hole. After Nicklaus hit his approach from the rough to 40 feet and made his birdie putt, Watson calmly made a title-winning birdie (left) of his own.
Seve Ballesteros, 1979: 16th hole, final round
After hitting his tee ball into a temporary parking lot at Royal Lytham -- ruled in bounds -- the flamboyant 19-year-old Spaniard was given a free drop, then hit his second shot with a 9-iron to 15 feet from the hole. He made the birdie putt and became the first continental European to win the Open in 72 years.
Nick Price, 1994: 17th hole, final round
Two shots back when he began play on Turnberry's 17th hole, Price didn't know he picked up a stroke by the time he got to the green -- Jesper Parnevik had bogeyed 18. As Price lined up his 50-foot eagle putt, he thought, "I had to make that putt. It was dying right and dived in the right side. I couldn't believe it went in."
Constantino Rocca, 1995: 18th hole, final round
Needing a birdie to force a playoff, Rocca made one of the most clutch putts in the history of the Open. After a duffed pitch into the Valley of Sin on the finishing hole at St. Andrews' Old Course, Rocca made his 65-footer, then dropped to his knees and pounded the sod in an emotional display of excitement.
Ernie Els, 2002: 13th hole, final round
Leading by two strokes at Muirfield, Els, confronted with an awkward stance and a deep wall of sod, popped the ball to 18 inches from the hole to save an unlikely par. He would eventually win a playoff against Stuart Appleby, Steve Elkington and Thomas Levet for his only British Open title.