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Wednesday
Jan102018

Should We Be Reconsidering Carl Pettersson's 2006 Mercedes Championship Drive On The List Of Greatest Shots Ever?

I hate revising history, but with Brandel Chamblee placing Dustin Johnson's Sentry Tournament of Champions tee shot atop the list of greatest shots in golf history got me thinking.

Should we revisit past TOC's at Kapalua to see just how profoundly out of character DJ's drive was compared to year's past? Could there be others that should be displacing ho-hum shots on this list:

 

Turns out, shocker of all shocker to those of us who have watched Kapalua for years: players have driven right down in front of, or on the front edge of the 12th green since ShotLink has been tracking shots (around 2006). I know, I know but never inches from the cup to win golf's 21st major.

Brandel described the difficulty of the shot in defending his case this way: "It was downwind/crosswind but not into a funnel, the green sits at the bottom of a hill, but the hill propelled balls into the right short bunker, to avoid the bunker you have to challenge the left side of the fairway, where a miss left could easily lead to a lost ball."

Scary! And...how it plays most years.

I randomly first pulled up the 2006 Mercedes Championship records, went to the pressure-packed round four, and what do you know but three players in one group drove within 54 feet of the hole.

But only Carl Pettersson converted that drive into an eagle the way DJ did. Granted, he probably had to chip in to do it, but I say, move over Sarazen double eagle! We have a new greatest shot for second place!


Okay, but you say the shot will not be shown 20 years from now "when he’s being inducted into the Hall" because, barring a late career surge of epic proportions, Pettersson won't be headed to the HOF.

Whatever!

As for Brandel's barometer that "nobody has ever hit a longer straighter shot that mattered more," I think "matter" is relative. Maybe to Carl that eagle mattered a whole bunch? For all we know, it could be the lifetime earnings difference between getting in PGA Tour Champions events or having to Monday qualify? Or maybe he paid for a first class upgrade home with the extra dough?

Chamblee said "DJs drive will likely be the signature shot of his career and the defining shot of this generation of great athletes coming to golf." But given that the Pettersson eagle was a decade ago, maybe we need to revisit his, Sergio Garcia and Wes Short Jr.'s amazing athleticism that helped them drive within mere feet of where DJ hit the greatest shot ever?

Anyway, this is all for your consideration, listmakers!

PS - DJ drove just in front of the green at the 2017 event despite soft and wind-unfriendly conditions. Cue that tape, too, for his HOF induction ceremony!

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Reader Comments (34)

I've played this course many time. That's a terrible golf hole to begin with. It's almost always straight downwind to a downslope and it's common to see balls end up near the front of the green. Kapalua is a wind tunnel much of the time as well and not much fun to play.
01.10.2018 | Unregistered CommenterJoel
DJ’s second to the 18th at Chambers Bay was massively more spectacular and difficult.
The fact he three-putted has zero to do with the execution of that shot.
It points up the dumbness of Brandel’s choice—and most choices. If Dustin had whiffed the putt, Brandel wouldn’t have even nominated it. But the next shot has nothing to do with the magnificence of the “great” one.
01.10.2018 | Unregistered CommenterDoctor
How many lost balls have there been at this hole in 20 years?
01.10.2018 | Unregistered Commenterrgw
Wow, Brandel, wow! He put DJ's drive on his list but not Hogan's 1 iron (or was it a 2 iron?)2nd shot to 18 in 1950 at Merion? The Hawk was still recovering from the auto accident that almost killed him and he barely made it, physically, through the tournament. He's ranking a shot in an insignificant early tourney to a shot that led to a US Open win in legendary fashion? Also, I love Arnie but let's face it, he tried to drive the first green in 1960 at Cherry Hills all four rounds and didn't succeed until the final round. Not sure a 25% success rate really ranks up there. Nonetheless, it WAS a tremendous shot by DJ.
01.10.2018 | Unregistered CommenterFiggster
How about Bubba in the playoff at Augusta?
01.10.2018 | Unregistered CommenterHoosier
Watson's chip in on 17 at Pebble doesn't get on the list?
01.10.2018 | Unregistered CommenterHardy Greaves
If we're just talking about long drives ... what about Mike Austin??? Wasn't it 515y??
01.10.2018 | Unregistered CommenterConfused
I can't believe all the fallout from this. For one thing, I'll cut Brandel some slack when he first said in that tweet that it was atop his list of "favorite" shots. He's entitled to have favorites, right? My favorite ice cream is Mint Oreo. Doesn't mean that Rocky Road isn't a damn good ice cream, and maybe the all-time greatest.

And if your first reaction to a 430-yard drive to six inches (by anyone, anywhere) is pure anger, then you might want some counseling.
01.10.2018 | Unregistered CommenterJohn
Brandel's list sucks btw.

No TW @ Bethpage on the bunker lip with the 3i? The shot Els says is the hardest, most impossible shot he ever saw?

No Hogan @ Merion 2i?

No Nicklaus @ Pebble (1972) 1i?

I'm sure there are plenty more I'm forgetting ...


Seriously though - Brandel should have said something like "best modern shots" or something to that effect. Still wouldn't have been comprehensive/correct .... but a lot better than this "alltime" list, lol.
01.10.2018 | Unregistered CommenterConfused
Exactly, Hoosier. Let's say the shot has to be under enormous pressure ... so Bubba's wacky wedge, or even that chip Larry Mize rolled in to win the Masters over the half nude selfie addict from Australia. I forget his name, but love his titty muscles.
01.10.2018 | Unregistered CommenterSclaff & Foozle
@John -

Good point ... he does say "favorite" and not "greatest".

Also - he HAS Nicklaus' 1972 1i @ Pebble ... so I'ma keep my trap shut for awhile as I think of more great shots I've seen/read about. :)
01.10.2018 | Unregistered CommenterConfused
The term 'subject to hyperbole' might apply to BC's defending comments...
01.10.2018 | Unregistered CommenterBDF
DJ's shot was great and fun to watch, but it belongs on the list of "Best All Time Long Drives By Guys That Hit Really Long Drives". However, it is "his" list of favorite shots, so good for him having the free time to assemble such a list.

Here's a throwback real "great" shot, 1995 US Open, Corey Pavin, 4-wood on the par 4 18th from 225yrds. Pre-equipment explosion, pre-ball explosion, while firmly in the mustache era. Dude hit a 4-wood to 5 feet in a major to clinch! Today, 225 yrds is a 6-iron for most guys. BTW, let's see what guys are hitting into #18 at Shinny this coming year...
01.10.2018 | Unregistered CommenterPMG
@ Confused - believe the TW 3 iron shot was at Hazeltine in '09, however since it was in the 2nd round and not the final round, it might not make any of these "greatest shot" lists...although it's still one of his greatest shots for sure. As for the DJ drive, this was certainly due to talent and skill no doubt, but also quite a bit of luck with the rather fortuitous bounces (2? 3?) he got, which in my mind doesn't put it in the same league compared to those other "greatest shots" which relied more on skill than luck...
01.10.2018 | Unregistered CommenterRichie Rich
@Richie -


You're totally right. Hazeltine!! :)
01.10.2018 | Unregistered CommenterConfused
@Confused - for what it's worth, Hank Haney (surprisingly) didn't remember that shot when someone suggested it on his Sirius show today.
01.10.2018 | Unregistered CommenterKevin part deux
@kevin -

Haney's got the brain yips, I guess.
01.10.2018 | Unregistered CommenterConfused
Right on, Hardy.
01.10.2018 | Unregistered CommenterFC
What happens to the distance debate when it’s discovered Carl Patterson in 2006 drives it out with DJ circa 2018?
01.10.2018 | Unregistered CommenterJS
To be the greatest shot ever! There must be consequences for failure. It must be outcome changing. It must be in a tournament of consequence. It must be played under extraordinary pressure. None of these criteria were met with Dustin's shot. Brandel's conclusion that this was the greatest shot ever is ridiculous and another attempt at self promotion.
01.10.2018 | Unregistered Commentergolferman
Seve's top 10 shots all beat DJ's last weekend:

Chip on #18, 4th round in 1976 Open
2nd shot #16, 4th round in 1979 Open & again in 1988 Open
2nd On 17 & then on 18, 4th round in 1984 Open
Chip on #18, 4th round in 1988 Open
2nd on #13, 4th round in 1986 Masters.
Fairway bunker shot #18, singles match 1983 Ryder Cup
2nd shot - over the wall, 4th round 1993 European Masters
All the times he drove the par 4 10th at The Belfry - In European Tour events & Ryder Cups.
All the shots he hit on the front-nine at Oak Hill in his Ryder Cup singles match against Lehman in 1995.

I have not even covered any of his World Match Play shots at Wentworth through the years.
01.10.2018 | Unregistered CommenterBill Shamleffer
How can Brandel have personal favorite shots that he wasn't alive to witness?
01.10.2018 | Unregistered CommenterDrBunsenHoneydew
he probably won "stupidest comment of the year " award with that one.....yikes
01.10.2018 | Unregistered Commenterchicago pt
Micheel's 7-Iron. The guy barely sniffed a big tournament leaderboard, and almost holed out from 173 with a major on the line.

Cannot believe someone named "Hoosier" did not give him an honorable mention.

Brandel is just a parody account at this point.
01.10.2018 | Unregistered CommenterMJR
@ Bill Shamleffer

We have today's winning post.....
01.10.2018 | Unregistered CommenterCroDad
Brandel's post did exactly what it was (probably) designed to do: stir the pot and get the conversation going...
I think Brandel is just sitting back and laughing at how he is playing all of us. With our current attention spans, this list will be forgotten in 6 months. But guess what? Right now, Brandel has some golf fans discussing one of the more boring tournaments of the year. This is his job, and he does it just about better than anyone. Brandel, compared to Duval and Nobilo was the worst player of the three. But boy does Brandel know how to play the media game in 2018. In media now, you will get eyeballs if your are loved, or if you are hated. There's no place for you if you're in between (well, maybe Youtube). And bloggers love it when Brandel shoots off the mouth, because they will repost, they will get clicks, and we will comment. When things get slow around here, Geoff will just post something bashing the golf ball and we swarm in just like a school of piranhas.
01.10.2018 | Unregistered CommenterBooyahs
+1 Booyahs

Brandel actually said it was both his favorite and greatest shot. He is definitely laughing right now. And he knows how to play the media game very well.
Seriously with that Seve list?

On what planet is driving a 260 yard hole better than doing it on a 420 yard one? DJ could drive the 10th at Belfry with an iron even with 30 years ago ' s equipment.

Every shot on the front nine against Lehman in the Ryder Cup? A holed pitch over a bunker, a recovery shot out of the trees, all set up because of truly horrendous shots? The other chips/pitches/iron shots were all good and timely, but anyone could have got lucky and done that.

The greatest shots are those that simply could not have been executed by anyone else due to skill level, IMO. Tiger's 3 iron at Hazeltine, and several from the 2000 US Open (like that 7 iron up the hill from deep rough 220 out on No. 6) certainly qualify. Or Brandel's mention at the Canadian open. The magnitude of the moment matters too of course. Of the Seve list only the 3 wood out of the fairway bunker in '83 Ryder measures up.

I'm with Brandel on this one. DJ's shot took skill that no one else possessed.
01.10.2018 | Unregistered CommenterMatt
@ Matt-no he couldnt!!! The hole measured 296 back then BTW.
01.11.2018 | Unregistered Commenterchico
Matt,

DJ could have driven the 295 yard 10th at the Belfry with an iron using the equipment John Daly used to average 288.9 yards off the tee in 1991?

Interesting.
01.11.2018 | Unregistered CommenterTremendous Slouch
Seems as though Matt is a fan of Brandel's style and has incorporated it into his daily life of hot takes.....
01.11.2018 | Unregistered CommenterCroDad
Cue Sesame Street...one of these things is not like the others...

Sad when the media cares more about getting a reaction than objective reporting.
01.11.2018 | Unregistered CommenterBrad
If DJ tops the list for ALMOST making an ace on a par 4, where is Andrew Magee on the list? The hole was considerably shorter, but a water hazard was directly adjacent to the 17th green in Phoenix when Magee MADE the only ace on a par 4 in tour history in 2001...with an assist off another ball on the green for style points!
01.11.2018 | Unregistered Commentersurfmeister

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