03 Apr 2021

Top five Masters comebacks

Historically the winner of The Masters almost always comes from the final pairing, but every now and then there is a come-from-behind winner which shocks the field – and patrons and those watching at home – to slip into the Butler Cabin and receive the most prestigious piece of clothing in the sport. Here we highlight some of our favourites in tournament history.

Nick Faldo – 1996

One of the most famous final rounds in Major championship history occurred 25 years ago as Greg Norman fell foul of the golfing gods and Nick Faldo pounced to win his sixth and final Major title. Six strokes clear, Norman withered as the day progressed with some heavy-handed chips and uncharacteristically poor iron play – finding water on the par-3 12th and 16th holes – while Faldo methodically put together a superb 5-under-par 67 – the best of the day from anyone in the top ten – for a third Green Jacket.

Phil Mickelson – 2004


When Phil Mickelson arrived at the 2004 Masters there were only two players in history who had won more PGA Tour titles (22) without winning a Major. Lefty had posted three third-place finishes in succession and found himself in contention again, in a share of the lead after 54 holes. However, as he struck his tee shot to 12 he found himself three behind Ernie Els. Mickelson sparked into life with five birdies in the last seven – including one final putt for a three at the last – to win by one. Els did nothing wrong, making eagle on 13 and gaining another shot on 15, but Mickelson’s blistering finish earned him all the plaudits while the South African, like many multiple Major champions before him, would end his career without membership to the most exclusive club in golf.

Tiger Woods – 2019

Two shots off the lead, Tiger had never previously won a Major coming from behind, but he remained steadfast as those around and ahead of him lost their way. Woods was in the final group alongside leader Francesco Molinari and Tony Finau and remained in touch until the drama began on the back nine. After getting to within one with a birdie on the 7th, Woods fell two back with a bogey on the 10th. However, on the 12th tee, Molinari found Rae’s Creek, and so too did Finau to fall further back. Woods dialed up the perfect number to find the middle of the green and a two-putt par secured a share lead with the Italian. Both players followed with birdies on 13 but a three-shot swing occurred on 15 when Molinari found water again for a double and Woods birdied to get to 13-under. A textbook birdie on 16 gave the Big Cat a cushion and he closed out on the last to spark pure pandemonium – the like of which we may never see again.

Jack Nicklaus – 1986


Without a win in two years and at the age of 46, not many fancied Nicklaus’ chances, but the Golden Bear was inspirational on that final Sunday with a back-nine of 30 to roar to a sixth Masters title. Nicklaus passed Greg Norman, Tom Kite, Seve Ballesteros, Tom Watson and Nick Price and won by one stroke thanks to a stretch that contained two pars, one bogey, one eagle and five birdies.

Gary Player – 1978

Trailing by seven strokes overnight, Player put together one of the most famous final rounds in Masters history – an 8-under- par 64 – to win his third Green Jacket. Leader Hubert Green, who had won the previous year’s US Open, could only muster a level- par round as he settled for second place alongside Rod Funseth and defending champion Tom Watson.

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