Tiger's 10 Best Shots - In His Own Words

To put a smile back on our faces we look back on some of Tiger Woods' most iconic shots and how he managed to pull them off.

1) 2005 Masters, Rd 4, Augusta National, 16th hole

The modern-day shot heard around the world. Tiger would actually bogey the next two holes before edging out Chris DiMarco in extra holes.

“I got a great break on 16, didn't go in the bunker, didn't go in the rough and somehow an earthquake happened and it fell in the hole. Under the circumstances, it's one of the best I've ever hit, only because of the turning point. If Chris makes his putt, I make bogey and all of a sudden it's a different ballgame and I'm one back. So I figured I need to get this thing at least up-and-down, give myself a chance to make a par. I remember Davis chipping in from back over there, so I just tried to not necessarily try to chip it in; I wasn't thinking about that. I was just trying to throw the ball up there on the hill and let it feed down there and hopefully have a makeable putt.

“I don't know how much it broke to be honest. I was just aiming at a spot, it was a spot in the trees that had a little light coming through, and I was just trying to hit the ball somewhere in that area, which should leave me somewhere in the range of the hole. It depends on how hard I hit it, whether I read it right. A lot of it's luck, and I hit the spot, I hit it pretty good, I hit it right on the spot, but when I have a collar like that behind my golf ball, I don't know whether I'm going to spin it or not going to spin it. But it checked up nicely and then rolled down.

“’The biggest danger was fatting it and getting too cute with it. If anything, just blow it up on the hill. It will come back down, just as long as I'm inside Chris. If I can get inside Chris, even if Chris makes it, I can still make my putt to be tied for the lead.” 

2) 2006 Open, Rd 2, Royal Liverpool, 14th hole

Tiger shoots 65 on day two to move into a one-shot lead, he would eventually win by two from Chris DiMarco.

I don't know what I had to the hole; I had 194 to the front. And I was trying to lay the ball on the front edge and let it chase on wherever it chases on, and I had a 4-iron on there. On 12 I had 190 and hit a nice little 4-iron up on the green, and I was basically hitting the same shot, just trying to hold the ball in the wind. And I really hit it flush and held it nicely. And I hit it on my line, I was looking at the left edge of the TV tower, and if the wind blows it over, that's fine, it blows it over, but it if it doesn't I'll be at the flag or left of the flag, and it depends on the bounce. But I was just trying to land the ball on the front edge and let it chase on there and get my 4 and go on. It happened to go in. I didn't see the top of the flag. I didn't see anything, I was too far back.”

Forward to 1m 40s..

 3) 2000 WGC NEC Invitational, Rd 4, Firestone, 18th hole

Tiger has dominated all week and is stood, in the dark, in the fairway of the 72nd hole. He then put the finishing touches to an 11-shot win over Justin Leonard and Phillip Price. 

“If you notice, when I got over the ball, the first time I took a look at it, I had to get down to see what my lie was. And once I saw what the lie was, I took a practice swing and I knew the ground was pretty hard. So I knew the ball was going to jump out of there; it was going to fly its true yardage. And for some reason on the back nine, I had a lot of clubs the same distance -- 173, 168 -- kept hitting the same clubs. And I figured, you know, you've hit them stiff every time; you might as well go ahead and hit it again.

“I could see it in the air, and I stayed committed to the shot. Hit a nice little draw in there, about a two-yard draw. And from there, as it was falling, I couldn't see anything. We could hear it. We just couldn't see anything. Stevie was grinding harder on that number than he has on most numbers. He wanted to get to -21 pretty bad. He runs in 21-minute intervals and swims that way. Whatever it is, it has to do with 21. That's always been his favourite number.”



4) 1997 Phoenix Open, Rd 3, TPC Scottsdale, 16th hole

Two weeks after winning the Mercedes, his third win in a few months as a pro, Tiger did this on the Saturday. A few months later he would lap the field at Augusta by 12 shots.

“I think I broke Fluff’s hand, I missed Omar’s hand and then old school, back in the day, raise the roof. That was the thing back in the day. On top of that smelling and hearing the beer hitting behind me on the tee box, it was obvious a different set-up then but to turn around and see all this beer flying was crazy. The more eerie part was that at 17 and 18 everyone was walking in as they had seen what they wanted to see and 16 was empty and you looked back and you saw all these beer cups.”

5) 2008 Arnold Palmer Invitational, Rd 4, Bay Hill, 18th hole

Tiger was in the most remarkable of runs, even by his standards when he came to the iconic 72nd hole tied with journeyman Bart Bryant. Bizarrely he was 0-20 in putts over 18 feet.

I was just trying to make sure I got the speed right. Now that green has a little bit more grass on it, and the grain has a little bit more effect on it, and I gave it just a little bit more. I hit the putt down there, and it took forever to start breaking and for the grain to start taking it; but once it started taking it, it went straight right and went in the hole.

“When Stevie handed me my hat, I was like, "How in the hell did he get my hat?

“I was so into the moment of the putt going in and winning the golf tournament. I kept telling myself, I've done this before, I did it against Phil, and this time it's a little bit deeper into the green and the putt has a little bit more break and it has a little more grain; I've done it before and I can do it again.”


6) 2012 Memorial Tournament, Rd 4, Muirfield Village, 16th hole

Tiger’s win here would mean that he equalled Jack Nicklaus’ 73 PGA Tour victories and this birdie at 16 was part of three birdies in his closing four holes, turning a two-shot deficit into a two-shot win and his fifth at Jack’s place.

The shot was really difficult, but it wouldn't have been so bad if I had a good lie. If the lie was decent, it would not have brought water into play. That was the thing. The lie was just a little bit marginal where it brought water into play. That's one of the reasons why I took such a big cut at it is to try to under cut it enough so if I missed it I missed it short and, if it had enough speed, it wouldn't snag it and tug it long left, so obviously the hosel wouldn't have been snagged by the grass.

“I went for it. I pulled it off, and for it to land as soft as it did was kind of a surprise because it was baked out and it was also downhill running away from me. It just fell in. I didn't think it was going to get there at one point. Kind of like 16 at Augusta, I thought I was going to leave it short somehow, and then it fell in.”

7) 2001 Players Championship, Rd 3, Sawgrass, 17th hole

This actually came on the Saturday and was part of a 66 that put him into a tie for second behind Jerry Kelly, a 67 on Sunday would see him edge out Vijay Singh.

For what was going on, this was probably not that big of a deal. But just for pure distance and a lot of luck involved, yeah, it was a big putt. But I figure I've made other big putts to win tournaments, but that one was not to win a tournament. I was just trying to put myself in position to win a tournament. So, there's a big difference. I have made some cross-country putts like that, that in all honesty, really don't mean a whole lot. When you come down the stretch on Sunday and you have to make a putt from six or eight feet. I think that putt I made today (in the final round) on 17 was a bigger putt than that long bomb.”


8) 2000 Canadian Open, Rd 4, Glen Abbey, 18th hole

This shot gave Tiger the edge over Grant Waite after the New Zealander had found the closing par 5. The victory would mean that he became the first player since 1971 to land the Triple Crown of the Open, US Open and Canadian Open. The shot was a 6-iron from 218 yards, all carry over water.

“That one shot I hit at Canada was pretty good, but you know what? I keep telling everybody I didn’t hit the green. I hit it over the green. So it wasn’t really that good!”

After the presentation Steve Williams walked back to take a second look at where Tiger had played from.

“It was an incredible shot – 218 yards from wet sand, water short, bunker left that leaves a difficult up and down. Absolutely has to hit every bit of a 6-iron and then some. A very fond memory from one of the great Tour events.”


9) 2001 WGC World Cup, Rd 4, Taiheiyo, 18th hole

The United States were defending their title and they needed an eagle to get into a play-off, something that wasn’t helped by David Duval pushing his approach to the last.

“The one (at Augusta) was one of the hardest ones I've pulled off. I think probably the hardest pitch not too many people saw was the one in Japan in the World Cup to get into the play-off. But obviously you guys never saw it, that was a pretty sweet shot." 


10) 1996 Greater Milwaukee Open, Rd 4, Brown Deer Park, 14th hole

This was Tiger’s professional debut and the week of the ‘Hello world’ press conference. He would tie for 60th but he would still serve up something special on the Sunday, a harbinger for the next 25 years.

I tried to punch a 6-iron under the wind but it went higher than I would have wanted. The ball hit on the green and kicked left, and I said, 'That should be close.' All of a sudden, people started jumping up and down.

Woods earned $2,544, a fraction of the $43 million in contracts he had signed.

“That’s my money. I earned this.” 


Get well soon Tiger