02 Apr 2019

Masters memories – Top five shots

OK – granted, The Masters has been the unique playground for the best players in the world since it began in 1934 and has featured so many memorable moments, it’s hard to narrow this list to just five. The back nine is ingrained in the minds of golf fans, thanks to the combination of spectacular shots and recent wall-to-wall broadcast coverage. So we put our heads together to narrow it down to our Favourite Five (in no particular order).

1988 – Sandy’s bunker brilliance

After wins for Seve Ballesteros and Bernhard Langer the pressure was growing for many of the leading British players to make a breakthrough at Augusta, and Sandy Lyle became that man in 1988. He was playing beautifully and held a two-stroke lead at the close of play on Friday and Saturday.

However, he dropped three shots around Amen Corner on Sunday and suddenly found himself one shot behind Mark Calcavecchia. He drew level with a birdie on 16 but still faced the prospect of a play-off when he stood on the final tee. Adrenaline took over as he overhit his 1-iron drive into the fairway bunker he was trying to avoid. What followed was one of those magical moments which is rightfully remembered some 30 years on.

With a clean whip of a 7-iron he picked the ball cleanly and it soared over the flag before gently rolling back down the slope towards the pin. He nudged in the winning birdie putt and attempted a jig to celebrate. It was the catalyst for a brief period of European domination as Sir Nick Faldo won back-to-back titles the following years before Ian Woosnam donned the Green Jacket in 1991. Those wins were then followed by a second title for Langer and a first for José Maria Olazàbal.

2005 – Tiger’s magical touch


Time seemed to stand still on the par-3 16th as Tiger Woods mulled over his next move. After pulling his tee shot, Woods and caddie Steve Williams patrolled the area looking for the best possible route to get it close. They picked a spot and Woods dinked it up the bank and then let the slope do its work. It trundled towards the cup, hung on the lip and then, being Tiger’s ball, it duly dropped in and arguably the biggest roar in Masters history reverberated around Augusta.

2010 – Lefty’s needle thread


The par-5 13th has long been a favourite hole of Phil Mickelson’s. After bombing his drive through the fairway and
into the trees Mickelson got a break with a clear sight to the green. Two strokes ahead, the conservative play was to knock it down the fairway and then wedge it close. But Mickelson isn’t nicknamed ‘Phil the Thrill’ for nothing. Taking dead aim with a 6-iron he arrowed it over Rae’s Creek and onto the green to within six feet.

1987 – Mize’s miracle chip

As Greg Norman and Larry Mize assessed their third shots at the par-4 11th – the second hole of a play-off – it was Norman who had the advantage. He was on the fringe of the green and faced a birdie putt while Mize was some 30 yards off the green and had the daunting prospect of pitching onto the lightning quick green, which sloped away from him, with water lurking beyond. The Georgia native broke Norman’s heart by impossibly holing the shot.

2012 – Bubba’s wild hook

A right-hander had no chance of hitting the green from where Bubba Watson’s tee shot on the second hole of his play-off with Louis Oosthuizen had landed. Watson snap-hooked his drive and was faced with a 144 yard shot to the green but no direct route. Instead he conjured up a plan to hook the ball some 60 feet through the air in order to get the  ball on the putting surface. No problem for one of the best ‘feel’ players in the game. A quick fl ash of a pitching wedge and Watson had hit it to within about 10 feet.

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