The defining shots of the major champions

The putt that Adam Scott thinks about most wasn’t the one that

won him the Masters. The best shot Justin Rose hit at the U.S. Open

didn’t even stay on the green.

The majors were filled with great shots, even if they didn’t

produce the obvious outcome.

Scott’s putt on the 18th at Augusta National ultimately got him

into a playoff when Angel Cabrera answered with a great birdie of

his own. Rose’s 4-iron into the 18th at Merion ran off the back of

the green into a collar. It was a relatively simple up-and-down

from there, though such a great shot deserved better.

Every major has a signature shot. Some are easier to define than


And with every major champion, there is another shot that is

just as pleasing to them, even if it doesn’t get as much



The putt that made Scott the first Australian in a green jacket

was a 12-footer for birdie on the second playoff hole at No. 10.

Scott, however, believes the defining moment of this Masters was

the 20-foot birdie putt he made on the 18th in regulation.

Adding to the significance of the putt was his reaction. Scott,

the image of GQ, transformed into WWF as he screamed with all his

might, ”C’mon, Aussie!”

”No matter what I do in my career from now on, I think it’s

going to be the one I’m remembered for,” Scott said. ”Even if I

do happen to win other big tournaments or majors, it might not

quite be everything that Augusta was.

”There’s no doubt, as I look back in my career, that’s going to

be the one moment I’ll think of first as a far as a signature


He won’t forget the 6-iron, either, as good as any shot he

struck all week.

On the second playoff hole, Scott had 191 yards from a hook lie

in the 10th fairway. Cabrera already was on the green with a

reasonable look at birdie.

”I didn’t want to sling a 7-iron in there,” Scott said. ”It

wasn’t the right shot. The atmosphere was heavy and I was jacked

up, but I had to hold a 6-iron. Somehow, I managed to hit such a

beautiful shot. If you asked me to do it right now, I couldn’t. But

I had it at that moment. Absolutely, it’s the best shot of my life

right now.”


Rose had a one-shot lead on the 18th hole at Merion. He was 229

yards from the pin, and just 15 feet behind the plaque that

commemorates Hogan’s 1-iron into the 18th during his 1950 U.S. Open

victory. While it was not as historic as Hogan’s moment, it was the

signature shot of his first major.

”It has to be the 4-iron into 18, given the poignancy of the

hole, the iconic photograph we’ve all grown up with and the 18th

hole of a major,” Rose said. ”That was the one that put it


Adding to the pressure was the wait. Luke Donald was taking a

penalty drop, leaving more time for Rose to contemplate the

consequences of the shot.

”I appreciated the situation I was in and relished it,” Rose

said. ”And luckily, the shot came off. I drilled it. It came off


He believes the 18th hole played a big role earlier in the week.

Rain kept the second round from being completed on Friday, and Rose

was in the last group that managed to finish without having to

return Saturday morning. He watched Phil Mickelson ahead of him

make birdie to share the 36-hole lead. Rose missed the fairway,

hacked it out of rough and had 115 yards to a pin that was just

over the false front, a shot that required close to perfection.

He delivered, hitting wedge to 7 feet.

”It was pretty dark by this time,” he said. ”But I wanted to

hit the putt. Even if I missed, the advantage was there to sleep

in. It was a slippery, downhill, left-to-righter for a 69 to stay

even par. From a momentum point of view, just finishing and giving

myself time in bed for the rhythm of the week … that was



Mickelson didn’t hesitate when asked for the signature shot of

his British Open victory – the 3-wood on the par-5 17th that set up

a two-putt birdie.

”Very simply put, there was no margin for error,” he said.

”If I miss it a little bit to the right, it goes in a bunker and I

have a very difficult par. I have to go out sideways and try to get

up-and-down for par. If I miss it left, it’s the worst rough on the

golf course and I could lose my ball or have an unplayable lie. But

if I hit it perfectly, there’s a good chance I could have a

two-putt birdie. And that’s what happened.

”I hit it dead perfect at the time I needed it most,” he said.

”If I made birdie, I felt like I would win.”

Mickelson’s closing 66 at Muirfield is considered the best round

of the year, and one of the best final rounds in any major. He made

birdie on four of the last six holes. As much attention as that

3-wood receives, Lefty was equally pleased with a 5-iron into 8

feet for birdie that started his big run.

It was on the 13th hole, 190 yards and dead into a strong wind

to a narrow green.

”If you miss it at all, the ball gets blown off sideways, and

you saw it with just about every player behind me,” Mickelson

said. ”I hit it so solid and perfect through the wind the ball

just soared. It was the prettiest shot.”


Jason Dufner had a two-shot lead with three holes to play. Leads

like that can disappear quickly at a major, especially with the

tough, two closing holes at Oak Hill.

Jim Furyk hit his approach to 10 feet on the 16th, easily birdie

range. Dufner followed with a sand wedge from 105 yards that spun

back to a foot, which stands out as his signature moment at the PGA

Championship (though a case could be made for the love tap he gave

his wife when it was over).

”I was trying to take it a little bit past the pin on the

right,” Dufner said. ”Obviously, with a wedge in hand, I was

thinking it could be a makeable birdie effort. Inside a foot is

great for me because I struggle with the putter.”

Not so obvious – except to Dufner – was how he played the par-3

11th hole for the week. At 226 yards, it was the sixth-toughest

hole at Oak Hill. Dufner never had a birdie putt outside 20 feet in

all four rounds, and he played the hole in 1-under par for the


”It was one of the tougher holes, and I made it easy for me,”

he said. ”The 16th is the shot people are going to remember. The

one people will forget about is to play that hole (No. 11) in 1

under and never sweat a bogey. That’s a pretty good deal.”