This is the time of year where all the golf magazines and TV shows will create their list of the “Greatest Shots of the Year.” The lists will include hole-in-ones, chip-ins, great shots from the fairway, and high pressure shots at critical points in the Majors. Over the years we all remember Tiger’s chip-in on the 16th hole at the Masters or the amazing hook shot out of the trees Bubba hit in a Masters playoff. This year Jordan Spieth made an beautiful bunker shot at TPC River Highlands to win the 2017 Travelers on the last hole.
I would like to present a “fun” selection this year that absolutely amazed me when I saw it. It might be the shortest shot ever selected as a “great” shot. My amazement wasn’t that the shot was holed out, but rather that it was even attempted.
Justin Thomas, PGA Tour Player of the Year, was in South Korea playing in the CJ Cup at Nine Bridges golf course. This was one of the early PGA events of the 2018-2019 wraparound season. He had shot a brilliant 63 in Thursday’s opening round and on Friday he was playing the par-4 fifth hole and he was left with a 5-footer for par. As you can see from the picture, there was a pretty severe scuff mark in front of his ball probably created by an earlier golfer dragging their feet on the green. Under the rules of golf, Thomas could not fix this scuff mark. 99.99% of all players in the world would just putt the ball and hope the ball stayed on line. Thomas instead chose to take a gap wedge and chip the ball over the mark. He hit an amazing 5-foot chip right into the hole.
I have never seen anything like this in golf. There have been situations where the ball ends up on the edge of a non-circular green like #17 at Pebble Beach and we have seen pros occasionally chip from on the green but those are much longer shots that allow you to take a bigger swing.
For such a short chip off such a tight lie, Justin Thomas’ shot was spectacular and my selection as the “Shot of the Year.”