Tiger Woods’ magnificent stroke on the 16th hole during the final round of the 2005 Masters couldn’t have been scripted any better.
From the edge of the rough, Woods atoned for a poor tee shot with a perfect 45-yard chip that landed above the pin and rolled down the green, stopping ever so briefly, before dropping in the hole.
It is lauded as one of the greatest shots of all-time and it helped Woods fend of Chris DiMarco and break out of a slump at the majors en route to his fourth Masters tournament victory. His last to date at Augusta National Golf Club.
When the shot went in, Woods and his caddy Steve Williams were so excited they couldn’t even connect on their high-five attempt. His manager Mark Steinberg was most likely fist pumping and/or back slapping somebody somewhere and Nike (one of his official sponsors) couldn’t have asked for better publicity from the close-up of their trademark swoosh emblazoned ball as it headed to the cup.
However, in his new book Out of the Rough which was released on March 29, Williams ranks it at No. 4 on his list of the top-ten shots.
More impressive to the native New Zealander was Woods’ 6-iron blast from the fairway bunker on the 18th hole at the 2000 Canadian Open at Glen Abbey in Oakville Ont., which he slotted at No. 3.
Tiger was one shot ahead of Kiwi Grant Waite at the time. Waite had already played onto the green and had an opportunity for a long eagle putt. With Woods in the bunker, it looked as though there would be a potential for a playoff or worse.
“In this case he’d mentally “conceded” that eagle putt to Grant and was now playing the hole as if he needed an eagle himself to win,” Williams wrote. “It was raining quite heavily and when that happens the ball sits down a bit in the bunker, making it a little bit harder to get clean contact. He had 192 yards to the green, with no margin for error. Short was in the water, long was in the back trap and dead. The landing area was only a few paces deep. It had to be 100 percent. His 6-iron was pure and pitched close to the flag before settling off the back of the green. He made a chip and putt for birdie, which was good enough for a one-shot win after Grant made his four.”
No. 2 also went to Woods for a bunker shot on 18, this time it was his stroke from the sand at the 2002 PGA Championship at Hazeltine National Golf Club.
Top spot was reserved for Greg Norman. His drive from the fairway to set up an eagle on the par-5 14th hole at 1985 Australian Open at Royal Melbourne Golf Club impressed Williams the most.
There was also some other Canadian content in Williams’ memoir. He recalls Stephen Ames talking a little smack toward Tiger prior to going head-to-head at the 2006 World Match Play Championship in Carlsbad, CA.
Earlier that year Woods struggled with accuracy when using his new Nike driver which he subsequently ditched.
“Anything can happen,” Ames said. "Especially where he’s hitting the ball.”
In match play, the best possible result is winning the first 10 of 18 holes. The term for this is a 10 and eight, claiming victory with 8 holes remaining.
Williams explained that Tiger used the quote as fuel in obliterating Ames.
“Tiger was on a mission that day, winning the first nine holes on the trot before halving the 10th for the most comprehensive win imaginable,” he wrote. “A master of vengeance, Tiger was asked after the round if he’d been aware of Ames’ pre-tournament comment. And whether he had any reaction: “Nine and eight,” is all he said.”
Williams, 52, has won 150 tournaments in his career including an early victory with Canadian golfer Jerry Anderson.
In 2011 Williams parted ways with Woods, who fell from grace after a scandalous breakup with his former wife, Elin Nordegren. He currently caddies for Australian Adam Scott and has also “carried the bag” for other elite golfers, most notably Raymond Floyd and Greg Norman.
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