The Best of Shell's Wonderful World of Golf

By: Golfshake Editor | Thu 23 Aug 2018 | Comments

The Tiger Woods v Phil Mickelson encounter in Las Vegas - coined The Match - has rekindled memories of the past, when exhibition and challenge matches between golf's biggest names were commonplace. Dating back to the days of the Morris' and Parks' in Scotland, through to Harry Vardon and J.H. Taylor, Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson, and Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player, these showpiece meetings were a regular part of the calendar throughout the world. 

Much of that heritage was celebrated and promoted through Shell's Wonderful World of Golf, an iconic television series that brought together a pair of great players and saw them face off in a match at a famous course or spectacular venue, dotted around the globe. Part travelogue, part golf exhibition, these programmes were hugely popular during the 1960s, and later returning to our screens in 1994 with a revived series that ran until 2003.

Being ridiculously lucrative pay-per-view broadcast, Tiger v Phil is somewhat removed from the halcyon days of Shell's Wonderful World of Golf, but we've taken the time to share many of the classic matches that defined the format, some of which are still broadcast on the Golf Channel in the US and on Sky Sports in the UK.

1962 - Gene Littler v Byron Nelson at Pine Valley

In one of the earliest matches on Shell's, former U.S. Open winner Gene Littler faced the legendary Byron Nelson at Pine Valley, one of the most exclusive and finest golf courses in the world. It's a rare chance to see this layout, and an opportunity to watch two of the greatest players of their era.

1965 - Ben Hogan v Sam Snead at Houston Country Club

When experts reflect on the most classic swings in history, the names of Ben Hogan and Sam Snead will be quickly spoken of. Hogan's technique became hugely influential, as he sought perfection, while the enviable tempo and fluid nature of Snead's action became a template for those seeking longevity within the game. Here is a chance to watch two of the finest players in history.

1994 - Greg Norman v Nick Faldo at Sunningdale (Old Course)

Norman and Faldo were the dominant figures in golf during the early 1990s, competing in majors and at the summit of the world rankings. Marking the first episode of Shell's Wonderful World of Golf in over two decades, it was the fitting match, played in the grand setting of the Old Course at Sunningdale.

1995 - Paul Azinger v Seve Ballesteros at the Old Course, St Andrews

These two Ryder Cup stalwarts developed a considerable rivalry when representing the United States and Europe, a contentious history that inspired this meeting between the pair on the Old Course at St Andrews, where Seve memorably won the Open in 1984.

1995 - Jack Nicklaus v Tom Watson at Pebble Beach

Roughly a decade older, Jack Nicklaus faced a major challenge from Tom Watson during the 1970s and early 80s. They battled at the Masters, famously in the Open Championship of 1977 at Turnberry, and the U.S. Open of 1982 at the iconic Pebble Beach. Years later, they returned to the Monterey Peninsula to relive those memories.

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