Golf tournaments rarely end abruptly. They typically end with the outcome in little doubt. But every once in a while, golf can surprise us with a sudden ending.
In honor of those sudden victories, we present the greatest walk-off shots in golf history.
1. Jonathan Byrd’s ace to win the Justin Timberlake Shriners for Children Open
On the fourth hole of sudden death against Martin Laird and Cameron Percy, Jonathan Byrd took 4-iron on the 204-yard par-3 17th hole at TPC Summerlin. In almost complete darkness, Byrd’s shot found the bottom of the cup for an ace. After his fellow playoff competitors couldn’t match him, Byrd won the tournament.
2. Craig Parry wins the Ford Championship at Doral with a hole-out 6-iron
On the first playoff hole of the 2004Ford Championship at Doral, Craig Parry holed his approach shot from 176 yards at the par-4 18th hole to collect his second career PGA Tour win.
3. Birdie Kim wins the 2005 U.S. Women’s Open with improbable sandy
South Korean Ju-Yun “Birdie” Kim was standing in a greenside bunker on the 18th at Cherry Hills C.C. near Denver. Tied for the lead with Morgan Pressel, Kim’s approach found a nasty lie. Kim’s bunker shot from 90 feet made its way onto the green, rolling toward the hole and eventually in for an improbable birdie. Fazed, Pressel couldn’t hole her birdie chip to force a playoff.
4. Robert Gamez closes out Greg Norman at Bay Hill with an eagle
Robert Gamez won his second of three PGA Tour events in 1990 at the Bay Hill Invitational. Trailing Greg Norman by a stroke on his final hole, Gamez was juiced on the par 4 over water. He took 7-iron from 176 yards, hitting a perfect shot for an eagle 2 to win by a stroke.
5. Payne Stewart wins the 1999 U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2
“Payne Stewart is the 1999 U.S. Open champion! Oh my!” was the call from Dick Enberg as Stewart sank a 20-foot par putt on the 72nd hole of the first U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2 to defeat Phil Mickelson for the National Open. Phil Mickelson, dueling Stewart all day, walked toward the champion almost certain of his defeat — but that he would become a father for the first time the next day.
6. Phil Mickelson’s 72nd-hole birdie to win the 2004 Masters
Phil Mickelson has worked very hard on the back nine of the final round of the ’04 Masters to give himself an opportunity to win with a birdie on the last hole. When the putt disappeared to give Mickelson his first major title, he didn’t walk off without a small leap. Emphasis on small.
7. Augusta native Larry Mize takes the 1987 Masters with playoff chip-in
A three-man sudden-death playoff for the 1987 Masters had been whittled down to Greg Norman and local favorite son Larry Mize. Seve Ballesteros was eliminated after a 3-putt bogey on the first playoff hole, No. 10. On the next hole, the treacherous par-4 11th, Mize’s approach landed 140 feet short and right of the hole. What happened next is Masters history and another chapter in Greg Norman’s snakebitten major-championship career.