Top 5 greatest shots in US Open history
Of course these are open to debate, but here are a few shots that swung the US Open for the golfer, from Nicklaus’ pin, to Tiger’s last triumph
Payne Stewart sinks Mikelson with 18-yard putt
A divisive figure, Stewart Payne was no stranger to controversy. Known to unapologetically rub people up the wrong way, he was by all accounts a big-hearted and loyal friend to many. When at the 1999 US Open at Pinehurst, the plus-4 clad Payne had played poker face all day and held his nerve to sink an 18-yard putt for the Open and edge out Phil Mikelson it sparked one of the most memorable celebrations in golf.
Ben Hogan back from the brink to win the Open
On the 72nd hole of the 1950 US Open, Ben Hogan needed par to join Lloyd Mangrum and George Fazi in a playoff for the tournament so the pressure was really on. Hogan pulled out one of the greatest approach shots in the history of the tournament stopping dead on a dime. He went on to win outright in the three-way play-off, the victory all the more remarkable considering 16-months earlier he had almost been killed in a car accident.
Nicklaus hits the pin
Jack Nicklaus will always be associated with the US Open and his approach to the 17th in the final round of the 1972 US Open at the iconic links Pebble Beach is still a joy to behold. The Golden Bear’s 1-iron into the wind hit the pin and the ball stopped dead as if dazed. Nicklaus, ice cool as ever was already four ahead with only the last to play, but you wouldn’t have thought it be his demeanour.
Tiger at his peak was as awesome to watch as he was terrifying for his competitors. The 2008 US Open at Torrey Pines was his last major win and an unlikely one at that as he was battling an ailing left knee and was chronically short of match practice. However, Tiger raging against the dying of the light, forced a playoff with Rocco Mediate after a very solid approach to the 18th. The 15-foot birdie putt that followed was one of the last shining examples of the greatness of Tiger Woods, and boy was it a beauty.
The miracle of Pebble Beach
On the same hole the Nicklaus hit the pin in 1972 at Pebble Beach, Tom Watson pulled off a miraculous birdie pitch from the rough to take the lead in the 1982 US Open. Watson’s tee shot landed in the long grass to the left of the green and his pitch to the hole was so sweet that it in never looked like it wouldn’t go in. Watson went on to win the tournament.
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