Most golf fans would say Tiger Woods’ winning putt on the 72nd hole at the 2008 US Open is the best shot ever at Torrey Pines Golf Course.
That’s because they didn’t see that one-armed ace from Abdul Nevarez.
It didn’t make him millions and he couldn’t bring home a big cardboard check, but considering everything that happened in Nevarez’s life before that swing at the 15th hole on the north course , the hit came with a payout that you just can’t quantify.
“I was in shock. It was mind blowing for sure. Just watching my buddies reaction it was like I was dreaming. Like waking up from my sleep or something . It was crazy,” Nevarez said of the photo.
Nevarez is a self-proclaimed golf buff who plays two or three times a week. He started his golf journey in 2001, but in 2012 the game he held dear was almost taken away from him.
He was returning home on a motorbike when he was almost killed by a 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 returned to the tee three years after his accident with the help of a specialized golf cart that hoists him into a sonic swinging posture so his right arm can grab and rip.
“[Golf] has been great at keeping me motivated and busy because without golf I don’t know what else I would do. Golf allows me to go out and play with my buddies and it’s a huge therapy,” Nevarez said.
So let’s set the stage for the dramatic ace of Nevarez.
It’s Sunday on Torrey North. Nevarez has 145 meters to the hole of the 15th hole, and beyond, the ocean as far as the eye can see. He has 5 wood in his hands.
He brings the club in with the pace of a god and keeps the club in the plane better than any golfer in the county. The contact is pure. The ball follows. In full flight, his buddy said to him: “It’s in the hole, buddy”.
You can’t see the ball in the video, but the gallery reaction from Nevarez’s family and friends tells you what the ball is doing. A crescendo of excited cheers culminates in a chorus of cheers and groans, and before Nevarez can realize what he’s done, he’s mobbed by family and friends off the tee.
“It’s one of the best holes in Torrey Pines and it’s the one we always look at, because you know, you’re elevated and the view of the ocean – you can’t beat this hole,” a- he declared.
Nevarez, originally from Antioch in the East Bay area, was vacationing in San Diego for a friend’s birthday. He had his son and his wife with him for the ride.
Not a bad story for your second hole in one.