Was the final-day duel between Tiger Woods and Bob May the best
in major championship history? It certainly deserves
consideration for that distinction, but it's also in fast
company. Here are our choices for the 10 top battles ever.
1 Tom Watson defeats Jack Nicklaus, 1977 British Open
Two days of glorious head-to-head golf at Turnberry between
game's two best players at the time, with Watson's 65-65 finish
beating Nicklaus's 65-66 for a one-stroke victory.
2 Francis Ouimet defeats Harry Vardon and Ted Ray, 1913 U.S. Open
Twenty-year-old local amateur beats world's two best players
with a playoff-round score of 72 at Brookline. This ultimate
Cinderella story launches golf in U.S.
3 Byron Nelson defeats Ben Hogan, 1942 Masters
Fort Worth, Texas, turf war that began when both were caddies
creates interest so intense that fellow pros stay overnight to
see 18-hole playoff. Nelson shoots 69 to win by a stroke.
August 27, 2000
4 Jack Nicklaus mounts late surge, 1986 Masters
With a turn-back-the-clock 30 on Augusta's back nine,
46-year-old Golden Bear passes Seve Ballesteros, Greg Norman and
Tom Kite to win his 18th major championship.
5 Jack Nicklaus defeats heirs apparent, 1975 Masters
Fending off the two prime challengers to his throne--Johnny
Miller and Tom Weiskopf--Nicklaus puts in dagger with 40-foot
birdie putt on par-3 16th hole.
6 Sam Snead beats Ben Hogan, 1954 Masters
In final showdown of their careers, Slammin' Sammy edges the
Hawk 70-71 in a playoff. Match turns when Hogan three-putts from
15 feet on 16th hole.
7 Tiger Woods answers Bob May, 2000 PGA
Journeyman takes Woods to edge, where Woods further proves his
greatness in a three-hole playoff victory. Both shoot 31 on back
nine and sink birdie putts on 72nd hole.
8 Payne Stewart beats Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, 1999 U.S.
Eerily calm veteran outguts young guns in the stretch, cinching
his win by sinking a 15-foot putt on the 72nd hole for best-ever
9 Seve Ballesteros beats Tom Watson, 1984 British Open
Issue decided in the frozen moment it takes for Watson--going
for record-tying sixth Claret Jug--to falter on St. Andrews's
Road Hole, allowing Ballesteros to win with birdie at 18.
10 Jack Fleck beats Ben Hogan, 1955 U.S. Open
Ultimate underdog stymies aging Hogan's bid for record fifth
Open crown with closing birdie and final-round 67 at Olympic,
followed by a 69 in the next day's playoff.