Perhaps the title should be, “What is an albatross?”, because before Nick Watney’s round one shot on hole 17 at the US Open, I had no idea what it meant. I know what you’re thinking: Didn’t Web Simpson win the US Open? And yes, you would be correct. In fact, Watney didn’t even finish in the top ten; he tied for 21st to be exact. However, Watney had one of the best shots of the championship and I couldn’t let it go unnoticed.
Back to the albatross, one of the largest birds in the world, but more popularly known as the Double Eagle in the golf world. After Watney sunk his albatross, he dropped three strokes with one swing, going from three over par to even. Ask anyone who plays golf and they will tell you how nice that must feel, especially at a course like the Olympic, where the US Open was played.
With hard greens and some of the thickest rough you have ever seen, the golfers had to be as close to perfect as they could. Just ask Furyk or McDowell, whose 2012 US Open dreams slipped away at the 18th after a desperate sand shot and a wide putt. Watney was far from perfect for the majority of the tournament, but for a few shining momets at hole 17 he was spot on.
A solid drive off the tee box gave Watney a chance at getting on the green in two and putting for eagle. At 190 yards from the hole, Watney pulls out his 5-iron and sends the ball directly towards the hole. Looking just like a putt from 30 feet, Watney’s second shot rolled flawlessly to the bottom of the hole and to the top of my top play’s list.
So just how rare is an albatross? The US Open was first played in 1895 and has only produced two of them before Watney joined the rarest shot club. That’s 117 years with only three of these double eagles taking place at the US Open. From 1970 to 2003, the PGA recorded only 84 double eagles, an average that is less than three per year. So enjoy this TicketCity Play of the Week as it basks in all its rarity.