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The Masters is decorated with incredible shots, all of which are made more spectacular by their surroundings.

We’ve trawled the Augusta archives and picked out 10 of the best Masters shots of all time—however, with the proviso that many of the greatest shots took place before the arrival of YouTube in 2005.

Sadly, for example, there’s no actual footage of Gene Sarazen’s famous albatross in 1935, though there are plenty of other highlights to fill the void before the year’s first Major gets underway.

In no particular order, check out our top 10 best Masters shots of all time below. Which one is your favourite?


The 10 best Masters shots of all time

best masters shots


1. Larry Mize chips in (1987)

The beauty of miracle shots like Larry Mize’s 140-foot chip-in is that they generally follow something very forgettable. The American’s fanned approach to the 11th was so bad that a four looked highly unlikely, let alone what happened next.

Greg Norman, who had seen Jack Nicklaus pinch the Green Jacket from under his nose the previous year when he led all four Majors on the Saturday night, was the one on the receiving end again. Seve Ballesteros would bogey the 10th to leave Norman and Mize to battle it out—and the local, who had worked on the scoreboard on the 3rd hole growing up, did the unthinkable—and Norman’s putt never looked like going in.

“I hit it, and I’m frozen watching it. It goes in the hole, and I throw my club up, and I ran around screaming like a madman—it was total elation,” Mize recalls. “I’ve never really been close to that spot again—that I can remember—and if I hit it there in a practice round, I would move it, I wouldn’t play it. It’s just such a great memory, I don’t want to ruin it… I did it when I needed to and I want to keep that memory pure.”

Mize played his final competitive round at Augusta in 2023.


2. Bubba Watson’s wonder shot from the pine straw (2012)

Every year, a collection of savvy Augusta patrons will break off and head to a spot in the woods to the side of the 10th hole. It’s from here, down in the pine straw, that Gerry Lester ‘Bubba’ Watson would snap hook a short iron around a magnolia tree to just 12 feet from 155 yards—in a sudden-death play-off for the Masters in 2012.

Given this was before the days of any ball tracer, the biggest giveaway of quite how ridiculous this shot was, came via the reaction of the ball when it screwed sideways upon landing on the putting surface.

On the other end of this brilliance was Louis Oosthuizen, who had earlier made an albatross at the 2nd. The South African would bogey the hole, and Watson would two-putt for the first of his two Green Jackets. 

“The platform that I’ve been given now hitting that shot, the ability to play the Masters for the rest of my life,” Watson said. “There’s just so many things that happen in those moments, and it just means a lot to my family and me.”

Watson hasn’t replayed the shot but a tree now marks the spot.


3. Phil Mickelson, again from the pine straw (2010)

Even Phil Mickelson recognises that his 6-iron recovery from the pine straw in 2010 may not have been as difficult as it first appeared, but it was certainly THE shot of the tournament that year—and still, in our view, one of the best Masters shots of all time.

The left-hander had a comfortable lead over Lee Westwood and 207 yards to the hole, but Phil being Phil, he took on the shot and hit it to a few feet. And, Phil being Phil again, missed the putt. He wouldn’t drop a shot all day and would sign for a 67, a three-shot win and a third Green Jacket.

“I had to hit a shot between those two trees, whether I laid up or went for the green, and I just decided to hit it 90 yards farther than a lay-up. I just felt like a good 6-iron was going to be plenty. It was a shot where I kept saying, if I just trust my swing, I’ll pull it off. And I made a good swing, went right at the pin,” Mickelson explained after his round.

“Certainly, it was critical, and it was clutch, and it came through at a great time, but it wasn’t anywhere near as hard as some other shots. It may have looked hard, but there was a pretty good-sized gap between those trees and a pretty good lie. It was just a 6-iron, a lot of green left.”


4. Sandy Lyle and that bunker shot (1988)

Two years before hitting one of the best Masters shots we’ve ever seen from the bunker, Sandy Lyle had the best seat in the house when he played in the same two-ball as Jack Nicklaus. The Scot had won The Open, but no Brit had yet captured The Masters, and Lyle had endured a bumpy back nine when he came to the 18th.

“The iron was the chosen weapon for the 18th tee; it was 245-250 yards uphill, so that was supposed to be short of the bunker. As we all know, that didn’t quite work out, but since the bunker shot was executed and I made the putt, I’ve had a lot of mileage out of it.”

Lyle would hit a 7-iron recovery from a spot in the sand that now-retired chairman Billy Payne always takes anyone playing the hole to. It would be a remarkable second birdie in the last three holes to edge out Mark Calcavecchia.

“I knew that Arnold Palmer at the time was the only guy to make three up the last to win. That really wasn’t in my mind. I was playing for a play-off. It would be horrifying to go all that week and then lose out with a bogey at the last. People remember, even 30 years later, what they were doing. There isn’t a week that goes by out here in America where someone doesn’t ask about it. They all remember it as an unusual, iconic shot.”


5. Jack Nicklaus eagles 15 (1986)

Skip to 1:37:58 to see the shot

It’s almost impossible to pick out a single moment from Nicklaus’ iconic victory at the age of 46. When the Golden Bear was stood in the middle of the 15th fairway, he was four shots back, but by the time his ball had descended onto the green, pin high and 12 feet away, the whole of Augusta National believed that this could actually happen.

Nicklaus would make the eagle putt, almost hole out at the next, and also birdie 17 en route to a back nine of just 30 strokes. 

“I hit a really good drive at 15. I turned to Jackie (his son and caddy), and said, ‘How far do you think a three will go here? And I don’t mean a club.’ He said, ‘I think it will go a long way.’ I hit a 4-iron and knocked it in 12 feet left of the hole. I made that putt.”

Seve would fat his approach to the same hole into the water, Tom Kite would narrowly miss his birdie at the last, and Greg Norman would make a horrible bogey. Nicklaus would move to 18 Majors in perhaps the biggest stand-out victory of all time. 

“That’s the day the no-running rule was totally violated. I mean, women with heels were running. People were abandoning their pimento cheese stations. Because you had to see it, you had to be there,” said Sports IIlustrated’s Rick Reilly.


6. Nick Faldo’s 2-iron to 13 (1996)

Skip to 1:30:26 to see the shot

Nick Faldo’s turnaround in 1996 was remarkable for many reasons—he would reel in Greg Norman from six shots back at a time when he was ranked ninth in the world. The Aussie was the clear #1 come the 13th, but Faldo now led by two as he would deliberate for minutes over his approach to the par 5.

Norman was in the pine straw and had punched out, while Faldo had found the fairway, albeit on a hanging lie.

“All week, I carried a 5-wood; an old persimmon 5-wood which I hit 215 yards every time. On all the par 5s, at 2, 13 and 15 during the practice rounds, Fanny (Sunesson) dropped a ball at 215 yards and I hit my 5-wood. Amazingly, I didn’t use it at all during the week until the 13th on Sunday, when I had 215 yards to the middle. So I grabbed my 5-wood, but it would not sit flat on that sloping fairway. I wasn’t comfortable with it, so we discussed the yardages to the front, middle and back. I then decided to hit a 2-iron, and I nailed it—I knew that I had ripped it straightaway, I hit it sweet. It was very solid. It was one of the shots of my lifetime, let alone that day.”


7. Tiger Woods’ ‘In your life’ moment (2005)

No list of the best Masters shots would be complete without this one, would it?

Woods came to the 16th hole one shot ahead of playing partner Chris DiMarco. Their nearest rivals would finish a distant seven shots back.

If the shot was out of this world, the commentary somehow matched it when the ball lingered on the hole side, with the Nike swoosh never having a better time of it. Verne Lundquist would gasp, “In your life, have you seen anything like that?” as it finally dropped. 

It’s hard to put into words how difficult this shot actually was. Woods couldn’t see the hole from beyond the green, so he would have to aim 25 feet left of the flag, get the precise contact to get the precise amount of spin, and then take the ridge at dead weight.

The shot would give him a two-shot lead, which he would relinquish over the closing holes, but a birdie at the first extra hole would secure his fourth Green Jacket and ninth Major title. 

Bizarrely, Woods has never been back to that spot to replay it. “They have since redesigned that hole, that green. So it’s not how it used to be over there,” he has said.


8. Ian Woosnam overpowers the 18th (1991)

Skip to 2:25:45 to see the shot

You might argue that Ian Woosnam was well ahead of his time with his approach. If he got the chance to get the driver out, he hit it and hit it hard.

At the Masters in 1991, the Welshman had seen his lead slip away on the back nine, but he came to the 18th level with Tom Watson and José María Olazábal. The Spaniard would double it, and Watson would find the trees off the tee, while Woosnam would take a different approach altogether. His tee shot was pummelled well over the famous fairway bunkers at 260 yards, with a steel-shafted Persimmon driver to leave just an 8-iron in. Supposedly, he would pull a muscle in his forearm celebrating the winning putt.

“I was always taught to swing around my head. It was just sort of a turn and a turn. The stiller I kept my head, the better it was,” he said. “I can only explain it like tightening up a spring and releasing it. That’s what I tried to do in my swing. I wanted to get the club to the top of the backswing, and if I put it in the right position, I could hit it as hard as I possibly could without hitting it too far offline.”


9. Jack Nicklaus drains a monster at 16 (1975)

It’s not often that you get the three greatest players all leading the way going into the final round at Augusta. “Only the nearest of kin could have been watching the other 43,” wrote Hubert Mizell.

In the lead was Tom Weiskopf, fresh from a morning 66 and three times a runner-up at Augusta, to be followed by Nicklaus, who had led by five at the halfway point. Then there was the prolific winner Johnny Miller, who many thought was the best in the world at the time.

At the 16th, the Golden Bear would leave his 5-iron tee shot 40 feet shy but then produce one of the best Masters shots of all time and one of the tournament’s most iconic moments by rolling it in.

Playing partner Tom Watson would make a quadruple-bogey seven. “To know you can look back someday and know you were a part of something like it, that’s just great,” remembers Nicklaus, who would be winning the 13th of his 18 Majors.


10. Louis Oosthuizen makes albatross (2012)

You think you’ve seen everything at Augusta, then Oosthuizen records an albatross in the final round in 2012—undoubtedly one of the tournament’s greatest moments and best Masters shots of all time.

The South African was playing in the penultimate group with Bubba Watson when he picked up an incredible three shots in just a few moments. It would be just the fourth double eagle in Masters history and the first at the par-5 2nd.

“It was about 210 yards to the front and 235 to the flag. That was a good 4‑iron for me. I needed to pitch it about five, six paces on the green, and I knew if I got it right, it’s going to feed towards the hole. But I never thought it would go in,” explains Oosthuizen. “It was tough after that; when something like that happens early in your round, you think that’s it. That was my first double‑eagle ever. It was tough for the next five holes to just get my head around it and play the course.”

He and Watson would eventually go to a play-off where another piece of Masters magic would take place.