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My No. 1 Shot of All Time: Pros recount the greatest shots of their careers

Arnold Palmer
John G. Zimmerman/SI
ELECTRIC CHARGE: Palmer was 'hot under the collar' as he hit the drive that launched his great comeback.


A miracle Masters eagle. A driver off the deck. A wedge shanked... on purpose! We asked Hall of Famers, Tour winners and rising stars to recount their No. 1 greatest swing ever. Here are the stories, in their own words.
 

Arnold Palmer
MY SHOT

Driver to ignite charge, 1960 U.S. Open, Cherry Hills C.C.
MY MOMENT
"I was hot under the collar when I went to the first tee at Cherry Hills for the final round of the 1960 U.S. Open. Instead of the encouragement I expected from him, my writer friend Bob Drum had just told me I had no chance of winning the championship from seven shots back. I had angrily stormed from the locker room to the practice tee and pounded a few drives to the back of the range before my starting time. For three days I had tried without success to drive the green on the 346-yard starting hole. This time I pegged it up and the ball tore through the rough edging the green and bounced onto the front of the putting surface. That touched off a surge of adrenaline in me and a run of six birdies on the first seven holes, a 65, and my first and only U.S. Open Championship."
 

Rocco Mediate
Fred Vuich/SI
UNDERDOG DAY: Mediate nearly toppled Tiger in their 19-hole U.S. Open playoff at Torrey Pines.

 

Rocco Mediate
MY SHOT

5-iron to set up birdie in playoff, 2008 U.S. Open, Torrey Pines
MY MOMENT
"I wasn't as nervous in the playoff against Tiger as I thought I'd be. Hell, I woke up feeling I was gonna win. I thought I had him after No. 15. I hit a hard 5-iron and made bird. It was a cool shot. A pretty 5-iron, and I needed it, because [Tiger] hit an unbelievable shot from where he was. I made the 35-foot putt, and I had the lead [with three holes left in regulation]. He's got me by 14 years and a thousand yards off the tee, but I kept hanging in, hanging in. I threw everything at him. He's who he is. There's nothing else to say."

Lee Janzen
MY SHOT

3-iron to set up pivotal par, 1998 U.S. Open, Olympic Club
MY MOMENT
"The best shot I ever hit was on Sunday, my second shot on the 17th hole, the 3-iron I hit onto the green. I'd doubled that hole Friday and Saturday from the fairway -- yeah, the fairway. I'm in the fairway again on Sunday, and it's uphill, the wind left-to-right. And it was off a sidehill, uphill lie. A miss could have been a hook. All that considered, it was absolutely the best 3-iron I could hit. It landed near the front, kicked, and ran to the back of the green. I two-putted for par. And that was the difference." [Janzen finished one stroke ahead of Payne Stewart.]

Gary Player
MY SHOT

Blind 9-iron from the trees, 1972 PGA Championship, Oakland Hills C.C.
MY MOMENT
"During the final round of the 1972 PGA Championship at Oakland Hills, there were several of us -- Snead, Casper, Floyd -- within a shot or two of each other. I had just missed an 18-inch putt on 15, and I followed with a sliced drive over the trees and into the rough on the 16th. I was fortunate. The rough had been trampled down by the spectators. I knew to use a 9-iron, as I knew the ball was going to fly out of the wet rough. I couldn't see the flag because of the willow trees, and the ball had laid down in the wet grass. I noticed that someone had left their seat stick under a tree and right in line with the flag, so I went back to my ball and aimed at the seat stick. The ball landed within three feet! I birdied the hole, which enabled me to win the championship. That shot decided the event. There's now a plaque where I hit the shot that propelled me to my second PGA Championship."

Rory Sabbatini
MY SHOT

"Surreal" eagle putt, 2007 Masters, Augusta National
MY MOMENT
"The eagle putt on No. 8 in the final round was a really tough putt [60 feet] and was one that I had jokingly practiced. Then I have it in the tournament? To execute it as well as I did, the way I envisioned the shot -- and for it to pan out -- was highly unlikely. I felt complete amazement. It seemed surreal. I couldn't believe I'd actually made it."

Hunter Mahan
MY SHOT

Driver to set up eagle, Deutsche Bank Championship, TPC Boston
MY MOMENT
"It was a drive on a par 4. It was a new hole, and there was a front pin where you could reach the green. It was driver, but I couldn't smoke it. I had to take a little bit off. I had a picture of what I was trying to do and tried to hit a good shot. It felt perfect as soon as I hit it. I was thinking, ‘Okay, that should be perfect, that should be there!' And it was. I ended up five feet from the pin and made eagle."

Tom Pernice Jr.
MY SHOT

Clutch up-and-down from the sand, 1999 Buick Open, Warwick Hills G.C.
MY MOMENT
"It was my first win, at the Buick. Coming down the stretch I'd hit an 8-iron at the pin, which was behind the bunker on the left, and my ball hit the lip and went into the bunker. I hit a bunker shot to five feet, then made the putt. For some reason, I was calm. I don't know why. They weren't my greatest shots -- I once had a double-eagle at 15 in Phoenix -- but they meant the most."

Colin Montgomerie
MY SHOT

Wind-piercing driver off the deck, 1996 Dubai Classic, Emirates G.C.
MY MOMENT
"Playing the 18th hole in the final round, I took a Big Bertha driver off the fairway and hit it perfectly, 228 yards into the wind, the full distance over the lake and to the middle of the green. The shot will stay with me forever. The pressure was on, and I hit it cleanly. It felt good. It carried the full distance over the water. I won the tournament by a shot. It was my greatest ever shot, one I will never forget."

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