More than any other major, the Open Championship requires imagination to succeed. Firm and fast, or wet and windy, or all of the above, the unique conditions in the game’s oldest major championship demand a player expand their mind and their repertoire to survive.
Every year we are treated to some incredible shotmaking. So to whet your whistle ahead of the 2013 Open Championship at Muirfield, we submit five of the best shots we’ve seen in recent memory.
Padraig Harrington’s 5-wood at the 2008 Open Championship
In the extremely windy final round at Royal Birkdale in the ’08 Open, Padraig Harrington stood in the fairway at the par-5 17th with a 5-wood in his hand from 272 yards. Needing to ride the wind to find the green in 2, the defending champion executes perfectly. He wins his second consecutive Open Championship title.
Miguel Angel Jimenez’s off-the-wall shot at the Old Course in 2010
Stymied against the wall in back of the Road Hole 17th at the Old Course, Miguel Angel Jimenez had two choices: take a drop for a penalty shot or hope to ricochet his fourth shot off that wall and onto the green. He chose the later and succeeded.
Justin Rose’s gaze to the heavens at Birkdale in 1998
Fifteen years before Justin Rose became the U.S. Open champion, he was living the dream as a 17-year-old kid who found himself in contention at the 1998 Open Championship. Though he was out of it by the time he came to the 72nd hole, Rose finished off the week with an indelible shot.
Constantino Rocca’s ’95 escape from the Valley of Sin
Constantino Rocca looked like he was going to flub away the 1995 Open Championship to John Daly. He mishit his approach shot to the 72nd hole at the Old Course, leaving himself what seemed an impossible putt to force a playoff. And you know what happened next.
(Not counted on this list? The awesome chip off the asphalt path at No. 17.)
Tiger Woods’ blind Hoylake hole-out in 2006
Tiger Woods owned the Open’s return to Royal Liverpool in 2006. Facing a completely burnt-out Hoylake test, Woods never needed driver, preferring long irons to put the ball in play. That left him many mid- to long-iron approach shots, including this one at No. 16 that — unbeknownst to Woods — went in the hole.