Most golf fans would say Tiger Woods’ playoff-clinching putt on the 72nd hole of the 2008 U.S. Open is the greatest shot of all time at Torrey Pines Golf Course.
That’s because they haven’t seen this one-armed ace from Abdul Nevarez.
It didn’t earn him millions and he didn’t get to take home a big cardboard check, but considering everything that’s happened in Nevarez’s life leading up to that swing on the 15th hole on the North Course, the shot came with a payout that you just can’t quantify.
“I was in shock. It was mind-blowing, for sure. Just watching the reaction from my buddies, it was like I was dreaming. Like I woke up from my sleep or something. It was crazy,” Nevarez said describing the shot.
Nevarez is a self-described golf junkie who plays two or three times a week. He started his golf journey in 2001, but in 2012 the game he holds dear was almost taken from him.
He was on his way home on his motorcycle when he was nearly killed by a hit-and-run driver. The accident left him without the use of his legs. That plus nerve damage in his left arm means he relies on his right arm and technology to play the game he loves.
Nevarez got back on the tee three years after his accident with the help of a specialized golf cart that hoists him into sound swinging posture so his right arm can grip and rip.
“[Golf] has been great just to keep me motivated and staying busy, because without golf I don’t know what else I’d be doing. Golf allows me to go out there and play with my buddies and that’s huge therapy right there,” Nevarez said.
So let’s set the scene for Nevarez’s dramatic ace.
It’s Sunday on Torrey North. Nevarez has 145 yards to the pin on the 15th hole, and beyond that, ocean as far as the eye can see. He’s got 5 wood in his hands.
He brings the club back with the tempo of a god and keeps the club on plane better than any golfer in the county. Contact is pure. The ball is tracking. Mid-flight, his buddy tells him, “That’s in the hole, homeboy.”
You can’t see the ball in the video, but the reaction from Nevarez’s gallery of family and friends tells you what the ball is doing. A crescendo of excited cheers culminates in a chorus of cheers and wails, and before Nevarez can realize what he’s done he’s being mobbed by his family and friends on the tee box.
“That’s one of the best holes out there at Torrey Pines and that’s the one we always look at, because you know, you’re elevated and the ocean views — you can’t beat that hole,” he said.
Nevarez, who’s from Antioch in the East Bay Area, was vacationing in San Diego for a friend’s birthday. He had his son and wife along with him for the round.
Not a bad story for your second hole-in-one.
Original post on NBC San Diego.