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The Day in Sports | COUNTDOWN TO 2000 / A day-by-day
recap of some of the most important sports moments
of the 20th Century: APRIL 7, 1935

Sarazen Hits Masterful Golf Shot at Augusta

April 07, 1999|EARL GUSTKEY | TIMES STAFF WRITER

For three generations, it has been called golf's greatest shot.

And like Bobby Thomson's 1951 playoff home run and Sugar Ray Robinson's 1957 one-punch knockout of Gene Fullmer, it's still atop any list of great shots.

Situation: Gene Sarazen stands in the middle of the 15th fairway in the final round of the 1935 Masters tournament.

After his 255-yard drive on the 485-yard, par-five hole, he trailed leader Craig Wood by three strokes.

Sarazen, with a gallery of about 2,000 watching, pulled a four-wood from his bag.

His shot reached the green and a great shout went up because it first looked as if Sarazen might have only a 10-foot putt for an eagle.

Then, the impossible: The ball kept rolling . . . right into the cup. A double-eagle two. The roar of the crowd lasted five minutes as Sarazen walked to the green to retrieve his ball.

The shot enabled him to tie Wood for the lead and he beat him by five strokes in a 36-hole playoff the next day.

Famed sportswriter Grantland Rice covered the Masters that year and talked to Bobby Jones afterward about Sarazen's historic shot.

"That was beyond all imagination, and golf is all imagination," Jones said.

"This one was beyond the limit of all dreams . . . I still don't believe what I saw."

Said Sarazen: "It was the greatest thrill I've ever known in golf or ever expect to get again. Even if the ball had stopped 10 feet short or 10 feet over, it still would have been the best shot I ever played."

After he had won the tournament, Sarazen went back to the 15th fairway and stepped it off. He measured it at 232 yards.

It would be 32 years before another player, Bruce Devlin, would strike another double-eagle at the Masters.

Sarazen is 97 and has never tired of talking about the shot. "My good bird," he has often called it.

Also on this date: In 1958, ground was broken in Exposition Park for the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena. Cost: $5.1 million.

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