Paula Creamer — Getty Images
It was the type of putt even a professional would hope to just get close, but it was a great putt that hit the middle of the hole and dropped and turned out to be one of the coolest moments of 2014 so far.
What other great long putts have dropped in the history of golf? We looked around and found the best.
Hale Irwin, 72nd hole, 1990 U.S. Open -- As iconic golf images go, Hale Irwin taking his "victory lap" around the 18th green at Medinah after holing a 45-footer on his final hole are tough to beat. Irwin was miles away from the cup on his final hole, but rolled in the lengthy birdie putt to post a final round 67, good enough to land him in a playoff with Mike Donald, who he defeated in 19 holes on Monday to win his third U.S. Open trophy.
Costantino Rocca, 72nd hole, 1995 British Open -- When Rocca flubbed his chip from the Valley of Sin at St. Andrews in '95, the tournament looked like it would go to John Daly, who had overpowered the most famous golf course in the world all week with his long bombs and soft touch around the greens. Rocca needed a birdie on the 18th to force a playoff, but his second shot went barely a yard and now he had to manufacture something over a huge hill and somehow find the cup. He did just that, rolling in the 65-footer for the birdie and a playoff spot next to Daly. The long-hitting American went on to win the playoff, but it was not without a bit of stress he didn't see coming after that initial chip shot by Rocca.
Justin Leonard, 1999 Ryder Cup -- It was the tournament of destiny for the Americans, with Ben Crenshaw waving that finger at the media on Saturday and predicting a possible comeback for the United States team. With those memorable shirts, the Americans came out and started dominating the Europeans, and it all came down to Justin Leonard against Jose Maria Olazabal. Leonard was all of 40-feet away with his birdie putt to possibly clinch the Cup for the Americans, and when his ball slammed into the back of the hole and dropped, it was pandemonium on the green while Olazabal still had a birdie putt to match. The whole episode was rightly criticized by the Europeans, but it was still one of the greatest putts to ever drop considering the moment.
Jack Nicklaus, 16th hole, 1975 Masters -- We have seen plenty of drama on the 16th hole over the years, but not a lot of the great shots come from the front of the green to that back pin. That wasn't the case in '75, when Nicklaus knocked in a 40-footer while both Johnny Miller and Tom Weiskopf watched from the tee. The birdie helped Nicklaus win his fifth green jacket by just a single shot thanks to a closing 68 by the Golden Bear.
Tiger Woods, 17th hole, 2001 Players Championship -- It might have happened in the third round, and it wasn't a major championship, but considering it was the most famous golfer in the world on one of the most famous holes in the world, it deserves a spot on the list. Woods was a good 60-feet from the hole on the tricky island green, hoping to just lag it down towards the hole, get his par and move to the 18th tee. That didn't happen, with Woods' ball curling and curling, "better than most," and eventually dropping for the surprise birdie. Woods went on to win this event on Sunday for his first ever Players Championship trophy, with this putt going down as one of his best shots ever.
- - - - - - -
- Sports & Recreation
- Hale Irwin
- Justin Leonard