With so many great viral golf videos to choose from, how does one compile a ranking of the year's best? It's an arduous task, but one that's made a bit easier by the fact that we highlight (at least) one every week in The Grind. Still, we had to set up some guidelines to wade through all the entrants. So for this year's batch, there are no PGA Tour highlights, no commercials and no wildlife on the golf course. Well, almost. You gotta see this one gator in Florida. . . . Anyway, based on that loose criteria, we derived our super unscientific list for 2016. From the scripted to the unplanned, the trick shots to the fails, the cool to the weird, here are the results. Enjoy.
25. He asked the Dalai Lama what?!
We kick things off with one of the most surprisingly entertaining interview moments you'll ever see. At the end of Bret Baier's sitdown with the Dalai Lama, the Fox News host asked his holiness if he'd ever seen the movie "Caddyshack" and if he was in fact, a "big hitter." Talk about asking the tough questions! Sadly, the answer was no to both, but at least we finally got an answer.
24. Do NOT steal this man's golf clubs
In what is probably the scariest video on this countdown, a Tulsa man made a citizen's arrest by pulling a gun on someone he suspected stole his golf clubs. Fortunately, no one was hurt:
23. Aww, that's so cute!
In this video, Dustin Johnson's son, Tatum, took Jordan Spieth's putter. No one had a problem with this, though, because he's a cute little kid:
Tatum's dad would also go on to take the PGA Tour Player of the Year Award from Spieth.
22. Aww, that's even cuter!
Meet Sam Blewett, a toddler who is constantly practicing golf around the house -- and he'll use anything he can get his hands on to work on his swing:
21. Frozen pond FAIL
Again, we're just glad no one got hurt:
20. Matt Kuchar, party animal
We learned an important lesson in 2016: If you're going to have a pool party, you better invite Matt Kuchar. It's tough to see in this grainy clip, but Kuchar took a page from "Anchorman" and did a breaking news "Cannonball!" announcement before jumping into the pool at Gary Woodland's wedding. Good stuff, Kuch.
19. "Progressing nicely."
With two words -- and one quick video -- in February, Tiger Woods reminded everyone he's still the biggest name (by far) in golf. Woods, who had been holed up for months while recovering from two back surgeries, posted a clip of him hitting a shot on a simulator, and people went absolutely nuts.
Despite the encouraging caption, the 14-time major champ wound up needing nine more months before officially returning to competition -- but it was nice to see he was still alive.
18. Holy gator!
We've reached the wildlife portion of the list. First, here's the biggest gator we've ever seen roaming on a golf course in Florida (and we've seen a lot). The commentary is great, including the line, “I think that’s two guys in an alligator suit.”
17. What a save!
Then there was PGA Tour pro Greg Owen saving a bird by jumping into the pond between the 16th and 17th holes at TPC Sawgrass during a practice round at the Players. What a guy!
After all that, Owen missed the cut, proving once again there's no justice in this world.
16. DJ/Paulina’s music videos
It took awhile, but pro golf's most famous couple (and friends) finally broke into the music-video scene. First, with this video to Iggy Azalea's "Fancy":
And then with this video to Miley Cyrus' classic (Yes, I said classic. Don't judge me.) "Party in the USA":
Hopefully, DJ and Paulina will start taking requests in 2017.
15. Reed v. NYSE gavel
In August, Patrick Reed (and his American flag tie) visited the New York Stock Exchange and broke the gavel. This unofficially put Reed in the top five most memorable NYSE closing bell ceremonies of 2016. A few weeks later, Reed also broke the heart of an entire continent at the Ryder Cup.
14. President Obama's walk-off chip-in
OK, so this technically happened at the end of 2015 (and it keeps getting taken down on YouTube, but we keep finding different versions of it), but it wasn't on our list last year. And it's especially fitting as Obama is in the midst of his walk-off final full month in the Oval Office. Great shot. Even better reaction.
13. The "flip shot"
The "bottle flip" became a new craze in 2016 and was even incorporated into trick shots (especially from our young friend Matty du Plessis), but it was the "flip shot" (We don't know what else to call it) that blew our minds more. Others followed, but Taylor Laybourne was the first person we saw pull it off:
12. Who needs a corkscrew?
On the subject of trick shots, no one put forth a more impressive portfolio in 2016 than Joshua Kelley, aka @holein1trickshots. His driver smash while standing on top of a moving golf cart may have showed off his athletic prowess best, but our favorite was the Champagne bottle opener:
11. Team USA poppin' bottles
Speaking of champagne, I lucked into having a front-row
seat stand as Phil Mickelson and Jordan Spieth sprayed bubbly over the fans at Hazeltine after the U.S. won the Ryder Cup. Yes, I'm including my own video in this top-25 list. Sue me. The best part? Well, other than standing inches away from this incredible moment and getting doused a bit myself? Hearing these guys discuss and debate how they were going to do it as if they were making a club selection:
10. From way downtown. . . bang?!
We've known Bubba Watson to hit golf shots that seem to defy the laws of physics, but he also did that on a half-court basketball shot at an Orlando Magic game. Bubba's attempt, well, you have to see it to believe it:
9. HV3 stuns the MVP
Another basketball-related video you have to see to believe. During a pro-am, Harold Varner III took on Stephen Curry in a shooting contest. You know, Stephen Curry, the two-time reigning NBA MVP and the man widely considered as the greatest shooter in the history of basketball. That Stephen Curry. Well, on this day, HV3 beat him at his own game:
8. Billy interviews Rory
Who would have thought the most entertaining interview of the year would come from a 9-year-old host? But the European Tour struck gold by having this "cheeky" (Rory McIlroy's words) lad interview some of the game's biggest stars. And Billy's best work came when he interviewed Rory in Dubai, even managing to get a couple of digs in regarding Rory's ex-fiancee, Caroline Wozniacki. Props to Billy for being a natural comedian, and props to Rory for handling it well.
Billy says he hopes to interview Tiger Woods. If that happens (please let it happen!), we're betting it will make this list next year.
7. Colorado fist fight
Have you ever had visions of getting into a fist fight on the course after being hit into? Well, it actually happened in Colorado. Watch the dude in blue land a HUGE left hook. Watch a friend hold someone back to let these guys sort it out themselves. And watch how they oddly just make up and move on. . . Was it all staged? Regardless, this was more entertaining than Mayweather vs. Pacquiao.
6. The European Tour wins the Mannequin Challenge
The Mannequin Challenge was one of the
biggest dumbest viral-video trends of 2016. However, the European Tour's version was spectacular. So spectacular, we pronounced it as the challenge's overall winner. To everyone else, don't bother trying (seriously, please don't bother trying), because this is as good as it gets.
And with that, the Mannequin Challenge is (hopefully) over.
5. JT's impromptu Pebble Beach performance
Waiting on a tee box wouldn't be so bad if you had Justin Timberlake there to serenade you, now would it?
4. Rickie's ace for charity
Rickie Fowler's golf highlight of the year didn't take place in any tournament, but rather on the 19th hole of a charity event. Fowler had one chance to win $1 million for the Ernie Els for Autism Foundation by making a hole-in-one. And wouldn't you know it, he knocked it in. So cool.
3. Kid's ace against Tiger
Even cooler? How about 11-year-old Taylor Crozier making an ace to open up Tiger Woods' kids course at Bluejack National? Not only did Crozier do it in front of a big crowd, but he also got a big bear hug from the 14-time major champ:
2. Little Tommy's big moment
Tommy Morrissey, a one-handed, 5-year-old golfer hit the ceremonial opening tee shot at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. And by "hit," we mean CRUSHED. Amazing. Inspirational. Heartwarming. What a moment:
1. The Ryder Cup's real hero
But no one had quite a moment captured on video like Ryder Cup fan David Johnson. After heckling several European players during a practice round, Johnson was plucked from the Hazeltine crowd by Henrik Stenson and put on the spot to make a putt. Rory McIlroy let Johnson borrow his putter, Justin Rose bet him $100, and Johnson drained it to earn one of the biggest ovations of the week. Making the scene even better? Johnson's
over-the-top absolutely perfect celebration.
A few days later, Team USA had its own celebration after snapping an eight-year drought in the event. Coincidence? Probably. But that doesn't change our mind about David Johnson. The man is a Ryder Cup legend, an American hero, and now, the subject of the best viral golf video of 2016. That's quite a resume.