With the Masters beginning on Thursday, what better way to kick it off here with a Golf Coast top 10 list.
So here is our opinion of the Top 10 Masters shots or moments that aided a player donning the green jacket:
10. Charl Schwartzel, 2011
Schwartzel didn't have one shot that got him an annual invitation to Augusta National for the Masters, rather the South African escaped a maddening final round with four consecutive birdies to earn a two-shot victory. His string of birdies to close that Sunday's action was the first time in Masters history to complete the feat and triumph, and it came in a tournament forever linked to Rory McIlroy's epic collapse.
9. Fuzzy Zoeller, 1979
The importance of Zoeller's winning putt is what makes his inclusion in this list mandatory. It came in a playoff against Tom Watson and Ed Sneed, while the sun was fast setting. But the real point to it all is that Zoeller won the tournament in his first appearance, a historical no-no considering Masters champions usually come after learning the intricacies of Augusta National over time.
8. Phil Mickelson, 2004
Lefty entered that year's edition still holding the tag of "Best player to never win a major." That was shed as he dropped a birdie on the 72nd hole. The putt is one we've seen several champs convert on the final hole such as Mark O'Meara and Vijay Singh, but Mickelson's winning putt resonated with everyone that had witnessed the left-hander implode down the stretch at too many majors in the past.
7. Jack Nicklaus, 1986
The Golden Bear was past his prime. He was washed up, and wasn't a contender because he hadn't won a major in years. Or so it was said leading into the 1986 edition. The momentum shifted firmly in Nicklaus' favor when he delivered a birdie on the 17th hole on the final day for his first lead in the 72-hole tournament. He sealed things up on No. 18 and watched as his challengers faded.
6. Jack Nicklaus, 1975
Yes, the 18-time major champion is listed twice. And back-to-back, for that matter. There's a good reason as Nicklaus drained a 40-footer on the par-3 16th that led to another Masters title. The putt was much-needed for the Golden Bear as Johnny Miller and Tom Weiskopf were in the mix, threatening to take the green jacket for themselves.
5. Larry Mize, 1987
Most people would rate this shot higher, and perhaps I have it a little low. Well, the significance and pure shock of Mize's chip-in to defeat Greg Norman in a playoff in addition to the length (over 100 feet) is enough to make it standout as possibly the greatest shot ever. However, this writer feels there are four better ones.
4. Tiger Woods, 2005
Perhaps it's recent history swaying my mind, but I feel Tiger's chip-in on the 16th was really difficult to judge despite the slope aiding in his conversion. The crowd was loud on an epic level, and Nike had the perfect advertisement as the ball stopped briefly before falling into the cup with the company's swoosh logo visible to a global television audience. Despite having gravity aiding the effort, Woods had to throw the ball quite high on the ridge as he was short-sided and then hope it stayed on the path toward the hole. It did, and he found another green jacket.
3. Phil Mickelson, 2010
Nobody has ever confused Lefty as the conservative type in his course management, and he took the bold approach to a whole new level on the par-5 13th at the 2010 Masters. Facing an improbable 207-yard shot over water from the pine needles with some branches affecting his shot, Mickelson's choice seemed clear: lay-up and try making birdie with a wedge. Alas, Mickelson didn't do that and the result was one that is forever etched in the memory of that year's tournament. Fitting it in between two trees and just getting it past Rae's Creek, Mickelson reached the green in two and was quite close. He failed to make the eagle putt, but made birdie and was on his way to another green jacket.
2. Bubba Watson, 2012
This might seem like a tiring trend of so many 21st century shots included, but there's been quite a lot of good ones in the past 10 years. This one is no exception as Watson's winning shot from what seemed like an impossible angle in last year's playoff, easily is deserving of its high ranking. He hooked a wedge 50 yards, displaying his own style of golf, in captivating the crowd en route to his first major.
1. Gene Sarazen, 1935
We go old school with the top shot and/or moment in Masters history. The Squire's double-eagle with a 4-wood on the par-5 15th hole enabled him to get into a playoff with Craig Wood and come way with victory. The shot came with little fanfare in the second Masters tournament as there weren't as many spectators nor the power of television like there are today. Nonetheless, it was dubbed, "The Shot Heard Round the World." And it was memorialized at the course in subsequent years. Why not? The double-eagle is the hardest shot to attain, making a two on a par-5 or an ace on a par-4. It doesn't just take luck, but supreme skill in hitting two shots (in Sarazen's case) so precise to come away with what used to be called an albatross.