The Australian Open golf championship won’t be played this year as the COVID-19 pandemic forces organisers to look at dates early next year.
With the US Masters originally set to take place this weekend, golf fans have been left hungry for some Augusta action as the tournament has been rescheduled for mid-November.
So what better way to satisfy our craving than reliving the top five Masters shots of the 21st century.
From Tiger Woods to Angel Cabrera, these shots not only dramatically impacted the final results of their respective tournaments but also provided us with the moments of theatre that have us glued to our screens each April.
Take a read and share your top five in the comments below.
5. Louis Oosthuizen – 2012, Round 4, Hole 2, second shot
South African Louis Oosthuizen has never won the US Masters, but his best chance came in the drama-filled 2012 edition.
Oosthuizen came into the final day just two off the pace set by Swede Peter Hanson. However, in a remarkable turn of events, the South African held a two-stroke lead after just two holes.
On the 575-yard second hole he hit a solid drive to the left of the fairway, leaving himself 253 yards and a long four iron onto the green.
What happened next was nothing short of spectacular. Oosthuizen absolutely nailed his iron, bouncing just short of the green and in between the two bunkers before rolling 75 yards and dropping delicately into the cup for the fourth albatross in Masters history and the first since Jeff Maggert’s in 1994.
Remarkably, Oosthuizen’s shot wasn’t even the best of the 2012 tournament, outdone by eventual winner Bubba Watson in the second playoff hole, as discussed below.
4. Phil Mickelson – 2010, Round 4, Hole 13, second shot
Phil Mickelson has hit plenty of great shots in his 19-year professional career. His recovery shot on the 13th hole in 2010 was so good that it had broadcasters calling it the “greatest shot of his life”.
Entering the hole just one shot ahead of South Korea’s KJ Choi, Mickelson took an unconventional route through the 13th, pulling out his driver off the tee to finish stymied behind two pines, 205 yards from the green.
With the option of safely playing out onto the fairway or going for glory with an all-or-nothing shot through the trees, Mickelson produced the latter and played one of the great recovery shots to end three feet from the pin.
Mickelson would go on to miss the putt but still make birdie, enough to stretch his lead to two shots and eventually win his third and most recent Masters.
3. Bubba Watson – 2012, Play-off Hole 2, second shot
Bubba Watson knew he was in serious strife on the second playoff hole of the 2012 Masters as soon as the ball had left the tee. His right arm hung out, following the trajectory of the ball as it became entrenched in the pine straw.
After entering the day three shots off the pace, Watson needed a miracle to get out of trouble and force a third play-off with Louis Oosthuizen, who had hit a conservative second shot to sit just off the green.
However, Watson outdid all expectations by hitting a remarkable snap hook that veered 45 yards to the right, dodging a magnolia tree and a TV tower to finish ten yards from the hole.
Bubba then two-putted for the first of his two Masters victories, while Louis Oosthuizen has not made the top ten at Augusta since.
2. Angel Cabrera – 2013, Round 4, Hole 18, second shot
With Adam Scott watching on from the clubhouse following his epic putt to take a one-stroke lead in the dying stages of the 2012 Masters, Angel Cabrera required a birdie on the 18th to force the Aussie into a play-off.
In what was his 900th career hole at Augusta National, the Argentinian overcame the driving rain to place himself on the right of the fairway off the tee.
As Cabrera struck his second shot with the iron, his cries of “Vuele! Vuele!” – “Fly! Fly!” – provided hope to all Australian golf fans that he may have hit it short. However, the ball landed perfectly on the green before trickling up to the hole, finishing just three feet away.
With the crowd and commentators alike in raptures, Cabrera would go onto sink the putt and make a birdie on the final hole on Sunday for the first time in his esteemed Masters career. Luckily, Scott returned to claim Australia’s first green jacket in the second play-off hole.
1. Tiger Woods – 2005, Round 4, Hole 16, second shot
Entering the tournament without a win in his previous ten majors, the pressure was beginning to mount on Tiger Woods, who found himself in a two-man shootout with fellow American Chris DiMarco on Sunday in 2005.
Woods entered the round with a three-stroke lead, but DiMarco had narrowed the gap to just one as the pair played out one of the most memorable holes in Masters history on the 16th.
A poor eight iron left Tiger on the fringe of the second cut off the tee, leaving a near impossible chip to go two shots clear of DiMarco.
After a long analysis of the green’s contour, Woods put the ball 20 feet from the hole, letting it roll down the slope towards the pin. The ball dramatically teetered on the edge of the cup before famously revealing the black Nike swoosh and dropping in, sending the American fans crazy.
Legendary NBC broadcaster Verne Lundquist provided the moment with a perfect soundtrack, with his phrase, “In your life have you seen anything like that?”, immortalised in golfing history.
The importance of the shot wasn’t fully understood at the time as Tiger went on to bogey the 17th and 18th hole to send the tournament into a play-off, which he would eventually win.