UA-59049186-1 Top 10 Masters Moments - Good if it Goes

Top 10 Masters Moments

It’s a tradition unlike any other. Every April, the golf world descends upon Augusta for the year’s first major. The Masters Tournament has provided some incredible memories over its 83 editions; here are the ten best.

10. Bird is the word. Arnold Palmer, 1960

While he may be better known to younger folks for the drink that bears his name, in his day, Arnold Palmer was one of the best, and most popular, players on tour. Each week, legions of fans, dubbed Arnie’s Army, packed courses to cheer on their man. In 1960, Arnie’s Army landed in Augusta where Palmer was in pursuit of his second green jacket. Palmer teed of on the 17th on Sunday one shot back of leaders Ken Venturi and Dow Finsterwald. Palmer would sink a 35-foot putt to birdie 17 to tie for the lead at 5 under. Then, following a Finsterwald bogey on 18, Palmer beat Venturi’s par with another birdie to win the tournament and become the first player to win the Masters with a birdie-birdie finish.

9. At long last! Phil Mickelson, 2004

Phil Mickelson came to Augusta in 2004 in search of his first major, a title that had eluded him for years. Mickelson had nine top-five finishes in majors to this point, including three consecutive third-place finishes at the Masters the prior three years. He just couldn’t get it done. In a year when Arnold Palmer would play his 50th and final Masters, it was finally time for one of the game’s new popular stars to break through. Lefty stepped onto the 18th tee tied with Ernie Els, who was already in the clubhouse. Left with an 18-foot putt for birdie and the win, Mickelson sunk it, then proved a lot of stereotypes about golfers not being athletes right with a dramatic leap that barely made it off the ground.

8. Mize for the win. Larry Mize, 1987

The 1987 Masters came down to a playoff featuring two of the game’s biggest names: Greg Norman and Seve Ballesteros. And Larry Mize. Mize, a relative unknown with only one Tour win to his name at the time, was an Augusta native who had worked at Augusta National on a scoreboard when he was younger. Ballesteros was eliminated on the first playoff hole leaving just The Shark and Mize. Mize missed the green badly with his second shot at the par-4 11th, but chipped in for birdie. Norman missed his birdie putt and the green jacket went to the hometown boy.

7. Bubba from the trees. Bubba Watson, 2012

In 2012, Bubba Watson found himself in a playoff in a playoff with Louis Oosthuizen as he attempted to claim his first green jacket. In said playoff, he found himself in the trees on hole 10. Watson had a gap and took full advantage, bending a shot around the trees and onto the green, setting himself up for the win.

6. The shot heard ‘round the world. Gene Sarazen, 1935

For this Masters moment, we go back to a time before the tournament was even called The Masters. Craig Wood led the Augusta National Invitational, as it was then known, by three strokes over Gene Sarazen. On the par-5 15th, Sarazen holed a 4-wood from the fairway for an albatross to pull even. Sarazen would ultimately win the tournament in a playoff over Wood.

5. Lee Elder breaks the color barrier. Lee Elder, 1975

For all the beauty of the course at Augusta National, there’s a lot of ugliness in the course’s history pertaining to who was allowed to play there. Clifford Roberts, co-founder of the club, once openly said “As long as I’m alive, all the golfers will be white and all the caddies will be black.” But in 1975, Lee Elder, by virtue of winning the Monsanto Open the previous year, became the first African-American man to play in the Masters. Prior to the tournament, Elder received numerous death threats, but at the tournament itself, received great support, especially from the African-American patrons. While Elder ultimately missed the cut, his impact on the game can’t be understated.

4. Domination. Tiger Woods, 1997

Twenty-two years after Elder broke the color barrier at Augusta, another African-American golfer would make history there. Tiger Woods, playing in his first major as a professional, boatraced the field, winning by 12 strokes, a record that still stands today. Woods was not only the first African-American to win the Masters, he was the first African-American to win any major. In the crowd for the final round was none other than Lee Elder.

3. Yes, sir! Jack Nicklaus, 1986

Sunday. 17th hole. The Golden Bear, at 46, is going for his sixth green jacket. Nicklaus hits his approach to 12 feet and has a tricky putt ahead of him for birdie. After a debate with his caddie, who’s also his son, he hits his putt. Verne Lundquist’s call tells the tale.

“Maybe…yes, sir!”

Jack would finish with a final round 65, including 30 on the back nine to claim that sixth Masters championship.

2. In your life! Tiger Woods, 2005

The greatest script writer in the world couldn’t come up with something like this. Battling with Chris DiMarco, Tiger Woods found himself left of the green on 16. He hit a chip shot high of the hole that began running down, getting closer…and closer…and then…stopped on the lip. The ball hung there for a second…and then dropped, the trademark swoosh perfectly displayed as if the ball knew it was about to become the star of a commercial. (Give an assist to the producer who stayed with the ball instead of cutting away when it looked to have stopped.) Tiger would go on to with the championship in the first hole of a playoff with DiMarco.

1. The return to glory. Tiger Woods, 2019

Between a bitter cheating scandal playing out in the public eye and multiple injuries, few stars have ever fallen harder than Tiger Woods. There was a time when it wasn’t a question of if he would surpass Jack Nicklaus’ 18 majors, but by how many. But those days were gone. That question replaced by a new one: would Tiger ever win a major again? While there were moments where he would play well and begin to look a little bit like his old self, they were usually short-lived and didn’t result in any majors.

Tiger entered the final round of the 2019 Masters tied for second with Tony Finau, 2 shots back of leader Francesco Molinari. Molinari would fall apart on the back nine, recording a pair of double bogeys, and while Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, and Xander Schauffele would each make runs, none was able to catch Tiger, who shot 2-under for the day and 13-under for the tournament, good enough for his fifth green jacket and first in 14 years. After completing his round, Woods shared yet another father-son hug, but this time, he was the father, his son Charlie on the receiving end.

Twitter: @KSchroeder_312

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