PGA Tour year in review: The best golf shots of 2020

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December 8th, 2020

Golf is a good way to ruin what would otherwise be a pleasant walk. For many of us, having to hack a small white ball around while getting increasingly frustrated is a sure-fire way to put a damper on a Sunday afternoon, particularly as it looks so easy on TV.

The pros can have a bad day as well (honest!) but most of the time they are at their scintillating best as we settle down to admire their pinpoint accuracy from the couch.

As we head towards the turn of the year and ring in 2021, here are the five best golf shots from the last 12 months.

5. Collin Morikawa with the shot to win the PGA Championship

As Morikawa approached the 16th tee on the final round, he was tied at the top of the leaderboard in his debut PGA Championship. The 23-year-old was making just his second major appearance and the chasing pack were hot on his tail with Paul Casey level with him on 11-under, and Bryson DeChambeau, Jason Day, Matthew Wolff, and Tony Finau all just one shot behind.

The Par-4 16th was 336 yards from tee to hole and with one huge drive Morikawa won the PGA Championship. An incredible drive, with a gentle fade, arrowing towards the hole and leaving him a 7-footer for an eagle.

Given the pressure on his inexperienced shoulders, for Morikawa to not only attempt to drive the green but get so close to the hole was nothing short of incredible. The momentum shifted to the American and the title was his.

4. Webb Simpson’s ace puts him on top of the Phoenix Open

It has been a decade since Webb Simpson last made a hole in one, but his third career ace couldn’t have come at a better time than in February in the third round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open.

His perfect shot on the 12th hole at TPC Scottsdale moved Simpson into a tie for the lead with Tony Finau and Billy Horschel. And it certainly gave him plenty of confidence as he moved through the gears to finish 17-under at the end of 72 holes, tied at the top with Finau.

Simpson would win the play-off on the first hole, and in hindsight his ace on the 12th on Saturday afternoon started his winning charge.  

3. John Rahm’s monster putt wins the BMW Championship play-off

Rahm certainly didn’t get off to a good start in the BMW Championship – shooting 6-over-par at the half-way stage. But the Spaniard found his rhythm and shot a 66 on Saturday before a simply perfect round of 64 on Sunday – easily the lowest round by any player all week.

That put Rahm on top and he looked destined to win, before Dustin Johnson pulled off an unbelievable 45-foot, double-breaking putt to tie Rahm and send the BMW Championship to extra holes. And that’s not even technically the shot that makes this list!

The two men teed off on the 18th and DJ was in the heart of the green in two shots, with Rahm’s approach from the rough bouncing past the pin and finishing at the back of the dance floor. But then we saw arguably the shot of the year, with Rahm pulling off an incredible 66-foot birdie to win the Championship. It was a phenomenal shot that not even the brilliant DJ could match.

2. Collin Morikawa’s "impossible" bunker shot in the Tour Championship

Morikawa makes this list again, and with good reason.

On the par-4 1st hole at East Lake Golf Club during the third round of the Tour Championship, Morikawa found his ball buried in the upslope of the right greenside bunker. 47-feet from the hole, Morikawa blasted the ball out. Three bounces and into a curl, Morikawa watched his shot head straight for the cup to give him a birdie.

NBC broadcaster Paul Azinger said it was "virtually impossible."

Morikawa moved to within three shots of the lead with that effort, before finally finishing sixth as Dustin Johnson ran away at the top.

1. Jon Rahm’s "Tiger chip" seals the Memorial

And now Rahm is on here for a second time as well. What a hell of a year for this man (and he could’ve made it a hat-trick if I’d thrown in that phenomenal water-skimming hole in one from a practice round at Augusta).

Rahm had a three-shot lead on the 16th before his tee shot ended up in a tricky lie deep in the rough. With the chasing pack closing in Rahm pulled off one of the greatest shots of his career, let alone 2020, to sink the ball and card a birdie with two holes to play.

It was exactly eight years after Tiger Woods had pulled off a near identical shot on the Sunday of the Memorial with a chip that Jack Nicklaus described as the greatest golf shot ever played.

That’s a serious compliment!