The Most Memorable Shots Of 2011
December 18, 2011
Jhonattan Vegas (Bob Hope Classic)
The rookie from Venezuela appeared to have thrown a chance for his first PGA Tour title away with a three-putt on the final hole of regulation and a drive that found the water on the second playoff hole. But after taking a drop, he hit his third shot from 160 yards to 13 feet (1:05 mark)and made the par putt. When Gary Woodland failed to get up and down for his par, the victory went to Vegas.
Phil Mickelson (Farmers Insurance Open)
Needing to hole a wedge shot for eagle from 72 yards away on the final hole of regulation to get into a playoff with Bubba Watson, Phil Mickelson had caddie Jim "Bones" Mackay tend the flagstick because he didn't want it in the way in case he hit it on the fly. While he gave a valiant effort, Mickelson couldn't pull off the miraculous. He did, however, reaffirm his position as the game's ultimate showman.
Tiger Woods (Masters)
Woods' squatting hook from underneath a pine on Augusta National's 17th holein the third round seemed like the latest example of a career filled with brilliant recovery shots. But a few days later, it was discovered that Woods re-injured his left knee on the shot. He tried coming back to soon at the Players, but withdrew after nine holes and then sat out the next three months.
Charl Schwartzel (Masters)
Charl Schwartzel may have closed out his first major championship win with four straight birdies, but his unlikely start on Sunday made it all possible. First he chipped in for birdie on the opening hole and then he holed out from 114 yards on No. 3 (left) for eagle. His final-round 66 gave him a two-shot win over Adam Scott and Jason Day.
Rory McIlroy (Masters)
While everything was going right for Schwartzel Sunday at Augusta, everything seemed to go wrong for McIlroy, the 54-hole leader by four shots, on the back nine. It started with a drive on No. 10 that was hooked so badly, he ended up pitching back from near one of Augusta's cabins (left). He wound up with a triple bogey and never recovered, shooting an 80 and putting him on a list of all-time major meltdowns.
David Toms (The Players)
After a clutch birdie on the final hole of regulation, David Toms had an 18-footer for the win on TPC Sawgrass' famed par-3 17thin his playoff with K.J. Choi. He wound up walking away with a painful runner-up finish, though, when he missed a three-footer for par coming back before being consoled by Choi (left). Toms put his disappointment behind him quickly, however, winning the next week at Colonial.
Rory McIlroy (U.S. Open)
Steve Stricker (John Deere Classic)
After two late bogeys and an errant drive left him in a fairway bunker, Stricker looked to have lost his grasp on a tournament at which he was trying to three-peat. But faced with a daunting shot of 182 yards and over water with the ball sitting well below his feet, the 44-year old produced an incredible result to give himself a 25-footerfor the win. Holing that putt from the back fringe (left) wasn't too shabby, either.
So Yeon Ryu (U.S. Women's Open)
Needing a birdie to force a playoff, Ryu could have picked a lot of better options than the Broadmoor's difficult par-4 finishing hole. But the 21-year-old South Korean stuck a 6-iron from 170 yards (left) to six feet and drilled the putt. She would birdie the tough hole again about an hour later to emphatically close out a three-hole playoff win over Hee Kyung Seo.
Dustin Johnson (British Open)
Johnson's 2010 season was mainly known for a couple missed opportunities in major championships. He added to that list with an ill-timed shot at Royal St. George's. Trailing leader Darren Clarke by just two shots and in position to make a move on the par-5 14th, Johnson hit a 2-iron out of bounds to end his chances at claiming the claret jug.
Keegan Bradley (PGA Championship)
A triple bogey on the 15h hole at Atlanta Athletic Club in the final round dropped Keegan Bradley five shots behind. But while leader Jason Dufner struggled down the stretch with three-straight bogeys, Bradley caught up with a birdie on No. 16 and then this improbable 35-foot right-to-left swinger for another birdie on No. 17 (left). He then beat Dufner in a three-hole playoff to win his first major championship.
Lexi Thompson (Navistar Classic)
The 16-year-old phenom won by five shots, but she produced her best one when her big lead looked to be in jeopardy. Ahead by three and with playing partner Tiffany Joh already tight on the par-3 16th, Thompson nearly jarred her tee shot. The tap-in birdie wrapped up her historic first LPGA win, as she shattered the tour's record for youngest winner by nearly two years.
Suzann Pettersen (Solheim Cup)
The European team's star came through when it mattered most, birdieing the final three holes of her singles match with Michelle Wie, including holing a putt from eight feet on No. 18 (left), for a 1-up win. The victory allowed the Europeans to reclaim the Solheim Cup for the first time since 2003.
Bill Haas (Tour Championship)
Haas' FedEx Cup dreams looked to be sunk, literally, when his approach on the second playoff hole found the hazard. But with no option other than hitting a shot with his ball partially submerged in a lake well below the green, Haas splashed the ball out and managed to spin it to within three feet. The miraculous par kept him alive and a par on the next hole won him both the biggest title of his career, as well as a $10 million bonus.
Tiger Woods (Presidents Cup)
With Woods holding a commanding four-up lead on the 15th hole in his singles match against Aaron Baddeley, it would have taken an epic collapse to lose. Nevertheless, he wrapped up both his match as well clinch the Cup for the U.S. team in stellar fashion. Woods found a deep greenside bunker in two shots on the par 5, but blasted out to within a couple feet for a tap-in birdie. After a year filled with injuries, the 14-time major champion looked pretty healthy leaping out of the sand trap (left) to admire his handiwork.
Tiger Woods (Chevron World Challenge)
Choking down on a 9-iron, Woods' approach from 158 yards on the 72ndhole flew right over the flagstick, before spinning back to within six feet of the cup. Then ensuing putt ended a losing streak stretching back more than two years and capped a stunning birdie-birdie finish as Tiger flashed the clutch form from his glory days to top Zach Johnson by a shot. It won't count toward his career win total on the PGA Tour, but there's little doubt that Woods' victory at the 18-man tournament he hosts every year was his most important since his last major triumph at the 2008 U.S. Open.