First published on the Golf Monthly website on Friday 6th March 2009
Fergus is far too easily influenced by TV. This week MTV2 has inspired him to consider great golfing moments!
Last weekend I found myself watching MTV2’s countdown of the greatest albums since MTV’s creation in 1981. Zane Lowe and a panel of “cool” music aficionados thrashed (you’ll see what I’ve done there) through a list of the “coolest” pieces of music from the last 27 years, and came up with their definitive list.
I generally agree with Zane Lowe’s opinions on music and my mild OCD means I love lists so, for me (though not for my wife), this was compulsive viewing. Nirvana’s Nevermind was predictably, and correctly, number 1 but it was great to see the likes of The Smiths and The Strokes in the top five.
Anyway the programme, like most programmes (like most things actually,) made me think of golf. Wouldn’t it be awesome to see a show counting down the greatest moments in televised golf history? A panel of golfing worthies could debate it, or the show could just feature professionals and commentators giving watery eyed accounts of where they were when Tony Jacklin won the 1969 Open and such like.
I’ve had a quick think about it and below are my top-10 moments, (not definitive by any stretch of the imagination – just the 10 that spring first to my mind):
10 – Colin Montgomerie seals his place in Ryder Cup folklore by holing the winning putt at Oakland Hills in 2004. He turns away, chokes back the tears and the celebrations commence.
9 – Jack Nicklaus takes off his yellow jumper to drive through the green on the 18th at St Andrews in the playoff for the 1970 Open Championship.
8 – Sandy Lyle plays one of the greatest shots of all time from the fairway bunker to the left of the 18th at Augusta. A 7-iron that flies onto the green, lands 30 feet past the pin before rolling back to rest just 10 feet from the cup.
7 – Payne Stewart stretches out like a sniffer dog to celebrate as his ball rolls into the hole on the 18th green at Pinehurst. His untimely death just four months later has imprinted that image on my memory.
6 – On the 18th hole of his singles match against Fuzzy Zoeller in the 1983 Ryder Cup, Seve Ballesteros looks dead and buried after hacking his second shot from thick rough into a bunker some 230 yards short of the green. But, Ballesteros will not be beaten and he fires a majestic 3-wood out of the sand and onto the green. Two putts later he’s halved with a bewildered Zoeller.
5 – Sam Torrance raises his arms to the sky as he holes the putt that wins the 1985 Ryder Cup for Europe and ends a 28-year winning streak for the USA.
4 – Constantino Rocca duffs his second shot on the 18th in the last round of the 1995 Open Championship at St Andrews and has seemingly blown his chance of forcing a playoff with John Daly. But, the Italian holes a ludicrous putt from the Valley of Sin then collapses on the slope and beats the ground with his fists.
3 – Greg Norman falls to his knees as his eagle chip narrowly misses the hole on the 15th hole of the final round of the 1996 Masters. As the ball slips away so too do Norman’s hopes of victory.
2 – Tiger Woods chips onto the 16th green during the final round of the 2005 Masters. He starts the ball at 90 degrees from the hole but it takes the slope and begins to roll inexorably towards the cup. It makes a last dramatic pause on the lip, as if he’s organised it to please his sponsor, before dropping in.
1 – For me, number one has to be Seve’s classic celebration on the 18th green at St Andrews after holing the putt that wins him the 1984 Open Championship. Has a man ever looked so cool on a golf course?