AUGUSTA, Ga. — Even if he doesn't have a place in the champion's locker room at the Masters, Louis Oosthuizen can say he has a spot in the Albatross Club with Gene Sarazen.
Not a bad consolation prize: That shot by "The Squire" in 1935, after all, is widely credited with putting the Masters on the map.
Back then players weren't routinely hitting the ball so far, but Sarazen had the pluck to pull out a 4-wood from 235 yards and blast the ball over the creek that guards the 15th green at Augusta National. He made double-eagle, otherwise known as an albatross. It erased a three-shot deficit to Craig Wood in one swing. The two went to a playoff that Sarazen won.
On Sunday, Oosthuizen also got to the playoff on the strength of his double-eagle but he didn't make any more history.
Bubba Watson pulled off The Shot of the tournament – that twister from nowhere at No. 10, the second playoff hole – and Oosthuizen went home without the green jacket, but with a good-looking 2 on the scorecard. It was only the fourth double-eagle in the history of the Masters and the first ever on the par-5 second at Augusta National.
Yes, this is a rarity, and not only at Augusta.
There have been only 17 double-eagles compared to 130 holes-in-1 on the PGA Tour since 2008, according to STATS LLC.
It's even more infrequent at your average muni, where the everyday player is nowhere near as skilled as the guys shooting at pins for a living.
On this crazy Sunday at Augusta National, Oosthuizen's 2 was much more notable than a pair of 1s – the holes-in-1 by Adam Scott and Bo Van Pelt that wound up as mere footnotes.
"My first double-eagle ever," Oosthuizen said.
The shot came from 253 yards out and Oosthuizen flushed a 4-iron that dropped on the front of the green, then traveled around 80 feet back and toward the right and straight into the hole.
Oosthuizen raised his hands, high-fived his caddie.
Watson, who was playing in the same group, told Oosthuizen he wanted to high-five him, too, "but felt it might not have gone over too well," Oosthuizen said.
The South African retrieved his ball from the cup and in a surprising move tossed it toward fans seated behind the green.
The man who caught it, identified by ESPN as Wayne Mitchell of New Tripoli, Pa., kept the ball for a few hours before giving it to Augusta National officials after being approached by two green-jacketed club members.
Club officials declined to say what arrangements were made to get the ball or what plans they had for it, according to ESPN.
Oosthuizen's albatross now ranks No. 2 on the list of four that have come at Augusta National – ahead of Bruce Devlin's in 1967 on No. 8 and Jeff Maggert's in 1994 on No. 13, but still one notch behind Sarazen's. Had The Squire not made that shot, the historians say there's no telling where the Masters would be today.