The 17th hole at Sawgrass’s 18 most iconic moments - Part 2

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It might be less than 130 yards, but the legendary Island Green hole at Sawgrass has staged some of the most famous moments in golf. Mark Flanagan counts down the most iconic 18.
Posted on
March 2, 2023
by
Mark Flanagan in
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

12) Ben Crane strikes the bulkhead twice in 2011

The 17th green is framed by a 9-inch wide wooden bulkhead. The structure that holds the green in place has got to be tough so being hit twice by Crane in 2011 was no big deal.

With the pin at the back, Crane’s tee shot hits the thin strip of wood before bouncing over the water onto a bank about 20 yards behind the green.

Chipping back, the American strikes wood again but luckily it holds the green.

 

11) Ace king Miguel Angel Jimenez  does it again in 2002

The hole-in-one king has the record for the most aces on the European Tour (10), including three in one quick burst in 2015.

However the popular Spaniard’s most famous one came in 2002. This was pre ponytail, the ball landing about 12 feet past the front-left pin and spins back into the hole.

 

10) Will Wilcox holes in one on his debut appearance in 2016

Will who? Well quite. The unheralded American from Alabama had two seasons on the PGA Tour (2016/17) but his five minutes of fame came in dramatic fashion in the second round of The Players in 2016.

Wilcox later admitted he hit his 9 iron slightly heavy but it was a good job as it rolls in like a putt. With the pin at the back, the ball lands around eight feet short and never looks anywhere else.

 

9) Shane Lowry holes in one in 2022

Every golfer who has ever played the 17th at Sawgrass knows that an ace on The Island Green means just that little bit more than a hole-in-one on a ‘standard’ par three.

Lowry’s reaction after watching his ball fly over the pin and spin back into the hole is testament to that. The ball even has time to do a 180 around the cup before dropping in.

The Irishman whips up the gallery and they respond in kind. His beaming smile and interaction with fans as he walks to the green are fantastic. The definition of genial.

 

8) Sergio finally does it in 2008

For all his talent, Sergio Garcia struggled to win and by 2008 he had amassed 13 top tens in Majors. The year before he came second in the Players after a great charge up the leaderboard on Sunday. Phil Mickelson won by two in the end having enjoyed a good battle with Sean O’Hair, who walked off 17 with a seven.

The following year the Spaniard came through well again in the final round and finished level at the top with 54-hole leader Paul Goydos.

The American went first on 17 and his short iron fell way short while Garcia hit a beautiful approach to three feet, the ball inching its way to the hole as the two men walked around the water. A par would be enough for victory and a big monkey was off his back.

 

7) Sergio chokes in 2013

The 2008 champion had just birdied 16 to join soon-to-be-champion Tiger Woods on 13 under at the top.

The 15-time Major champion would par in but all around him heads were being lost, Garcia doing it in the most spectacular fashion.

At 17 the Spaniard missed the green short and right and then hit virtually the identical approach to leave himself playing five off the tee.

At 18 he would also smash his drive into water up the left which meant he played the final two holes in six over par (7,6) and finished in a tie for eighth.

 

Part 1, Part 3

 

Other articles in the 18 Club Series:
Those pretty little swings
Augusta’s holes ranked from 1 to 18
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About Mark Flanagan

Mark Flanagan has spent 25 years as a sports journalist. He has written for multiple golf magazines and can often be found missing putts from inside gimme range.

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