IT WAS A WEIRD YEAR in professional golf, to say the least. Tiger, rules controversies and much more. There were dramatic moments and shots, as always, but there’s one shot that rises above all the others in my mind. It was a shot for the ages, as my good friend Jim Nantz might say, that ill-advised 6-iron from the pine straw on Augusta’s 13th hole in the final round of the Masters.
Here’s what I wrote the day after Phil Mickelson won his third Green Jacket:
Phil is going for it. That shot (above) off the pine straw through the trees over the water on 13? A Phil special. Bones was against it. Butch was against it. Millions of fans were probably trying to talk some sense to Phil through their TVs. “Lay up, Phil. Just lay up.” Phil’s NOT laying up. The 207-yard 6-iron was a gutsy and brilliant play that turned things in his favor.Interesting to see that I wrote “gutsy” and “brilliant.” It seemed like everyone was on Lefty’s bandwagon after he pulled off the seemingly impossible shot that helped win him another Masters. There are also the many times he has gambled and failed—and gotten blasted for it. That’s all-or-nothing Phil. When he succeeds, our jaws drop. When he fails, many say, “What a bonehead.”
This is the shot I’ll remember for a long time. It’s the one we’ll see dozens of times in the years to come.
−The Armchair Golfer