Golf has a long and storied history, with some of the most memorable moments coming from the world's greatest players. From Tiger Woods' incredible Masters win in 1997 to Jack Nicklaus' record-breaking 18 major titles, golfers have created some of the most iconic moments in sports history.
In this article, we'll take a look at some of the most memorable moments in golf and examine why they are so special. We'll also explore how pro players have shaped the game over time, as well as discuss some of the biggest tournaments and greatest golfers who have ever lived.
Before Tiger Woods, there was Jack Nicklaus. “The Golden Bear” as he was known, recorded 18 major wins between 1962 and 1986, with his swan song coming at the 1986 Masters in Augusta. The then 46-year-old hadn’t had a major success in nearly six years and many in the sport had all but written him off. Heading into the final round that weekend, Nicklaus was far from favorite to take home the green jacket as he found himself four shots off the pace and tied for ninth. However, a back nine for the ages saw him shoot 30, recording five birdies and one eagle – enough to secure his historic 18th major. Nicklaus picked up a winner’s check worth $144,000 – seven times more than he won in 1962. Recently, Hideki Matsuyama pocketed $2.1 million for winning the very same competition! Even 35 years on, no golfer has come close to matching Nicklaus’ tally of 18 majors, with the Hall of Famer also holding the record for most wins at the Masters, with six.
Seve Ballesteros said it was “the happiest moment of my whole sporting life,” when, in 1984 he left it late to lift his second Claret Jug after an intense three-man fight on the back nine. On the 18th green at St. Andrew’s Old Course, Seve, a fan favorite, dropped a 12-footer ball into the cup on its very last revolution, sending patrons into a tizzy.
It’s no surprise to see Tiger Woods’ name on the list of golf’s most memorable moments. One of the greatest accomplishments in the great man’s career came in 2001, when he won the Masters to make it four major wins in a row. While no player has yet recorded golf’s coveted “grand slam” by winning all four modern majors in the same calendar year, Woods is the only player to have achieved the next best thing, holding all four majors simultaneously by winning the final three majors in 2000, and the first in 2001. If becoming the youngest Masters winner in 1997 didn’t announce Woods’ arrival as golf’s greatest disrupter, then the 2000/01 “Tiger Slam” did, thrusting Woods on to nine more major wins so far in his illustrious career.
In 2016, Jim Furyk tore up the record books to achieve a score most can only dream of, setting the new scoring record on the PGA Tour of 58. The then 46-year-old achieved the feat during the final round of the 2016 Travelers Championship at the revered TPC River Highlands. Furyk found 14/14 fairways and all 18 greens in regulation, carded 10 birdies and one eagle, and was eight-under par with a score of 27 after just nine holes. What makes this achievement far more incredible is that Furyk played the last six holes a mediocre one-under par, with all of the damage having been done in the early stages. Incredibly, just 1,059 days earlier, the former US Open champ scored 59 at the 2013 BMW Championship to equal the previous record – a score which has now been equalled 10 times on tour.
Se Ri Pak joined the LPGA in 1998 as the only South Korean woman on tour. In her debut season, the then 20-year-old picked up two major titles – the U.S. Women’s Open and LPGA Championship, sparking an influx of female Korean players into the sport. Decades later, four of the world’s top five ranked LPGA Tour players are South Korean, with the country having 32 players in the top 100, many of whom look to Se Ri Pak as their inspiration.
In 1991, Ian Woosnam won the Masters of Augusta and was named as the officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1992. April 14, 1991 was the day that changed Woosnam's life forever. On a sunny late afternoon in Augusta, he became the first – and to date only – Welshman to win the Masters and the famous green jacket. But the jacket didn’t fit. Not because it was not deserved, but because neither the American organizers nor the patrons watching thought he would win.
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