10 famous Masters shots — and the clubs used to hit them

Larry Mize hits famous chip in playoff at 1987 Masters

Tiger Woods at the 1997 Masters tournament.

Getty images

A lot of famous shots have been hit at the Masters, many of which have led to historic victories. Some shots at Augusta National, however, are remembered for other reasons.

But whether they’re remembered for being part of a win, loss or crucial watershed moment for the evolution of the Masters, here are 10 of the most famous shots in the storied event’s history — and the clubs used to hit them.

Lee Elder — first tee shot, 1975

Lee Elder at the Masters. Getty Images

When Lee Elder broke the color barrier to become the first Black golfer to play in the Masters, the club he used to hit his first tee shot was a custom persimmon driver. Although thorough research has been conducted to pinpoint the exact model it remains a mystery — but the likely conclusion is a custom Wilson or MacGregor personal model.

Tiger Woods — chip in, 2005

It’s a shot that most avid sports fans can identify as soon as they hear the famous “Oh my goodness” from Verne Lundquist as the ball slowly rolls towards the cup on the 16th hole. To execute this shot Tiger used a Nike wedge custom ground by Mike Taylor to stop the ball in the precise spot before gravity took control and did the rest.

Phils Mickelson — two drivers, 2006

As a way to further solve the puzzle that is Augusta National, Phil implemented a two-driver strategy in 2006. One longer (46″) driver with heel bias internal weighting to aid in hitting a draw, and a shorter (45″) driver with fade bias weighting to help hit a fade. Both drivers were Callaway FT-3s.

To gear up for the Masters, Phil played the week before with his two-driver setup at the Bell South Classic and won by an astounding 13 shots. He took that momentum straight to Augusta and won by two shots over Tim Clark, and three shots over a group that included Tiger Woods, Fred Couples, and Retief Goosen.

Jack Nicklaus — 7-iron into 16, 1986

Before Tiger Woods did the unthinkable and won the 2019 Masters, the 1986 Masters stood on a pedestal as one of the greatest major tournaments in history. It was then that a 46-year-old Jack Nicklaus won with his oldest son on the bag, over a leaderboard filled with some of the greatest to ever play.

Although most people talk about the oversized MacGregor Response putter, the shot that likely sealed the deal on that faithful Sunday afternoon was hit with a Macgregor Nicklaus blade 6-iron on the 16th hole. As the ball was in the air Jack’s son Jackie said “Be right” and as if he already knew the outcome, Jack picked up his tee as the ball hit the apex and replied, “It is”.

Loius Oosthuizen — albatross on 2, 2012

Although he went on to lose in a playoff to someone else farther down on this list, Louis Oosthuizen made history when he made an albatross on the 2nd hole of his final round in 2012.

The club he used was a Ping S56 4-iron and it has another place in history by being one of the few non-putters in the Ping’s gold putter vault.

Tigers Woods – winning putt, 1997

It was a win for the ages and marked a turning point for professional golf as well as the Masters and the PGA Tour. Tiger’s win in 1997 changed golf forever and what makes the win unique from an equipment perspective is that it’s the only time he ever won a major using a Scotty Cameron Newport Tei3.

It wasn’t long after that win that he changed to the now extremely famous Newport 2, and as they say, the rest is history.

Rory McIlroy – 10th tee shot, 2011

With so many shots on this list being attributed to wins, we had to include at least one that led to someone’s downfall. What almost felt like a foregone conclusion at the start of the day quickly became a struggle for Rory McIlroy as he turned to the back nine on Sunday.

Rory McIlroy hitting his second shot on the 10th hole. Reuters

Playing with Angel Cabrera, he teed off and hit a low screaming hook into the cabins left of the 10th hole, and after finding the ball and finding his way out of trouble he made a triple-bogey 7 to knock himself out of the running. That infamous tee shot was hit with a Titleist 910D3 driver.

Gene Sarazen – 15th hole albatross, 1935

Even though as few as 25 people witnessed the feat, it was called the shot heard around the world. Gene Sarazen, from 235 yards away and hitting into the 15th hole at Augusta National, holed out his second shot while three behind the leader at the time Craig Wood. The shot would help him tie for the lead and eventually get into a playoff where he went on to win.

As the story goes, he debated which club to hit into the green with his caddie, but settled on his Wilson personal persimmon model to make the shot.

Larry Mize — chip on 11, 1987

Greg Norman, a man known for near misses and heartbreak at major championships, was again on the receiving end of a historic shot when Larry Mize holed out on the second hole of a playoff in 1987 to win the green jacket.

Mize hit that chip with a Jack Nicklaus Muirfield sand wedge, which almost makes it seem like fate considering the man that helped him slip into the green jacket was Jack himself, after winning the year before in 1986.

Bubba Watson — hooked wedge 10th hole, 2012

Many players have found the right side of the fairway on the 10th hole at Augusta National, but few (were left-handed) or possessed the ability to hit a massive sweeping hook to within 15′ to set up a routine two-putt par to win the Masters in a playoff.

Bubba Watson isn’t your average golfer, and the shot he hit with his Ping Tour-W wedge will forever live in Masters lore. If you ever get the chance to visit Augusta National and walk down the 10th hole, it’s not unusual to find patrons staring off into the alleyway he hit his Titleist through and wonder how the heck he did it in the first place.

Ryan Barath

Golf.com Editor

Ryan Barath is GOLF Magazine and GOLF.com’s senior editor for equipment. He has an extensive club-fitting and -building background with more than 20 years of experience working with golfers of all skill levels, including PGA Tour players. Before joining the staff, he was the lead content strategist for Tour Experience Golf, in Toronto, Canada.