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We’ve got your next 19th hole debate: What’s the best shot ever hit at Pebble Beach?
Should it happen during an AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am or U.S. Open? Should it put away a tournament, or win it outright? Or is it all about degree of difficulty?
Let the debates begin:
10. A LONG PUTT FOR THE COURSE RECORD
Hurly Long with the clutch birdie on #18 for the course record at Pebble Beach. 61 ? pic.twitter.com/pTlqjHbk3e
— Texas Tech Mens Golf (@TTUMensGolf) September 2, 2017
Sure, it was just an 8-footer, but when you are staring down a putt that no one has made in the history of Pebble Beach, it can feel a whole lot longer. But Texas Tech senior Hurly Long coolly poured in his birdie putt on No. 18, the last stroke of his new course record 11-under 61.
“That birdie on No. 18, I knew I had a chance to do something special,” Long said. “For me to hole that putt, I was very proud.”
Long impressively came back the next day and holed a similar putt on No. 18 to get into a playoff at the prestigious Carmel Cup, and ultimately pulled out his first collegiate victory after finishing an incredible 19-under 197 over three rounds.
Hurly Long with a birdie on the last to get in playoff. Clutch again!!! Playoff on hole #1 in an hour. Updates coming. pic.twitter.com/1Pq3tvEiZX
— Texas Tech Mens Golf (@TTUMensGolf) September 3, 2017
9. TIGER’S HEAT CHECK: A 273-YARD SLICE AROUND A TREE AND OVER THE OCEAN
It was 2010 — Tiger’s long anticipated return to Pebble Beach, the site of his U.S. Open demolition in 2000. But Woods was also less than a year removed from a career-shaking scandal that chased him into hiding. No one knew what form to expect from Woods.
But this shot — stymied behind a Cypress, 273 yards out — showed us all that the old Tiger was still in there. A wild slice over the ocean, threading a 10-yard wide throat of fairway, to set up his fifth birdie on the back nine and vault him into red figures through three rounds, was the vintage Tiger everyone had waited a decade to see again.
8. KITE CRUSHES MONTGOMERIE WITH CHIP-IN AT NO. 7
With 40 mph winds harassing the leaders on the course, Jack Nicklaus congratulated Scotsman Colin Montgomerie on his U.S. Open victory. Surely no one would be able to survive these conditions and finish better than even par, which is what Montgomerie had just posted.
But with Montgomerie watching from the television booth, Kite sank a wind-bent pitch at No. 7 for birdie. And Montgomerie’s head-holding reaction said it all. There were still many more dangerous holes remaining, but that shot symbolized the improbably great play Kite mustered up to win his first Major title.
7. THE BEST 2-IRON HALE IRWIN EVER HIT
Competing in a 1984 Pro-Am playoff on the 16th hole, Hale Irwin popped up a 3-wood that failed to travel 200 yards, landing in the fairway cross bunker. But Irwin recovered by puring a miracle 2-iron from the sand to 9 feet to set up his winning birdie. Irwin called it “the best 2-iron of my life.”
It’s the serendipitous sequence that occurred moments before on No. 18 that is etched in Crosby lore. Needing a birdie to force a playoff, Irwin snapped his drive into the rocks on No. 18. Tournament over, everyone thought.
But Irwin’s ball mysteriously popped back up and into the fairway. A shocked Irwin gazed to the heavens and thanked the golf gods. Irwin then took advantage of his second life by sticking a wedge that struck the pin, setting up a tap-in birdie that forced a playoff.
As the San Francisco Chronicle summed up with a headline the next day, “Freak Shot Ties It, Great Shot Wins It.”
6. A CINDERELLA STORY…IT’S IN THE HOLE!
A year before, the 14th hole sent four pros spiraling down the leaderboard in the final round after they each walked off the green with a quadruple-bogey 9.
But when D.A. Points reached the haunted hole while chasing after his first win during the final round of the 2011 AT&T, he jumped into the lead — and the arms of playing partner Bill Murray — after holing out for a spectacular eagle.
The shot carried Points and Murray to both the pro and team titles. A humbled Murray reflected afterward,
“Honestly, the last two holes were kind of an out-of-body experience,” said Murray, a 13 handicap. “I didn’t know how to be particularly funny, or a particularly good golfer.”
5. ‘IT’S JUST NOT A FAIR FIGHT!’
This shot on No. 6 isn’t really replicable anymore – the fairway now pours over the cliff, and the tree staring at Woods was lost to Mother Nature – but even if you could theoretically hit this shot, you definitely couldn’t. Woods smashed a 7-iron from 205 yards out of 4-inch rough, up and over that tree, up and over the mountainous second fairway, and it somehow found the green.
NBC announcer Roger Maltbie proclaimed in head-shaking awe, “It’s just not a fair fight!”
If any one shot magnified the difference between Woods and the mere mortals he was competing against, this strike in the second round was it.
4. A WALK-OFF ALBATROSS
It’s seems unfair to rank this shot so low. Junior golfer Christopher Meyers is believed to be the first player to make an albatross in competition on the 18th hole at Pebble Beach.
Oh yeah, Meyers made this walk-off shot to win the team title of the 2014 Nature Valley First Tee Open. Meyers amazingly also channeled his inner Irwin, as his drive moments before had bounced off the rocks and back into the fairway. Truly unbelievable.
3. TIGER ROARS BACK WITH EAGLE ON NO. 15
This was the height of Tiger’s video-game golf on the PGA TOUR. Tap R2 and steer the ball with backspin into the hole.
Woods trailed leader Matt Gogel by seven shots with just seven holes to go in the 2000 AT&T, before he launched a rally for the ages. It culminated with this eagle-2 at the 15th hole, followed by a monster fist-pump. The red-hot Woods closed with an 8-under 64 to steal a staggering sixth straight PGA TOUR win.
2. ‘I DON’T THINK I COULD EVER DO IT AGAIN’
How do you choose between two of the most famous shots in U.S. Open history? They both happened here at No. 17, and they both involve Nicklaus.
At the first U.S. Open that Pebble Beach hosted in 1972, Nicklaus iced the championship by striking the flag stick with a wind-shaped 1-iron for a tap-in birdie.
“The shot I performed, I don’t think I could ever do again,” Nicklaus said.
1. WATSON CALLS HIS CHIP SHOT
So how did we choose? Well, if we were to factor in pressure, Nicklaus did have a three-shot lead at the time.
When Tom Watson faced a delicate chip shot on No. 17 during the final round of the 1982 U.S. Open, he was tied for the lead with Nicklaus. A likely bogey would have dropped him one back.
But a confidence washed over Watson, who told his caddie that he would sink the slippery shot. And Watson somehow did.
“I could have stood there with 100 balls and pitched them all at the hole from where he was and not gotten any of them in,” said Watson’s playing partner Bill Rogers.
Added Nicklaus: “Make that 1,000.”
Watson birdied No. 18 for good measure to capture his first U.S. Open by two strokes over Nicklaus.
What’s your favorite shot you’ve seen at Pebble Beach?
Hero Image: David Cannon /Allsport