Sport Golf

Saturday 25 March 2017

Augusta: 25 years in Master's history

1986

Jack Nicklaus produced a performance for the ages (or should that be the aged?) by shooting a remarkable final-round 65 and playing the fabled Augusta National back nine in six-under-par 30. Nicklaus was five behind Greg Norman on the ninth tee and four behind Seve Ballesteros with four to play but, at the age of 46, still had the moxie to become the oldest champion in Masters history.

1987

The Golden Bear's victory would be the catalyst for a stunning series of feats and fables at the Masters, and Augusta native Larry Mize's win still resonates as one of the most dramatic in the event's history. Mize chipped in from nearly 60 feet to the right of 11, the second hole of sudden death, to beat Greg Norman. Seve Ballesteros had fallen by the wayside at the first play-off hole.

1988

Sandy Lyle pulled off the first Masters win by a British golfer with an utterly unforgettable birdie out of a fairway bunker at 18. The Scot seemed to cede the advantage to Mark Calcavecchia when he hit his one-iron tee shot into the trap but he hit a stunning 140-yard seven-iron over the pin and it sucked back to inside 20 feet. Lyle holed out to win by one.

1989

Scott Hoch (rhymes with choke) missed a two-foot putt for par and victory on the first tie hole, the 10th, letting Nick Faldo off the hook. The Englishman took full advantage, claiming his first Green Jacket at the next.

1990

Faldo joined Nicklaus as only the second man to successfully defend the US Masters title. Four down to Calcavecchia with six to play, he forced extra holes with birdies at 13, 15 and 16 before clinching victory on 11, where his rival pulled his approach into the water.

1991

World No 1 Ian Woosnam of Wales holed a six-foot putt for par at 18 to prevail over Jose Maria Olazabal and Tom Watson in an exciting final-day battle to claim his only Major title.



1992

Freddie Couples benefited from an outrageous stroke of good fortune on Masters Sunday at the treacherous par-three 12th, where his tentative tee shot somehow held up halfway down the steep grass bank in front of the green. Couples made par but one can only imagine the outcome had the laws of gravity applied and his ball tumbled into Rae's Creek.



1993

Bernhard Langer eagled No 13 and birdied No 15 on Sunday, the German ultimately finishing four ahead of Chip Beck as he wrapped up his second Masters title.



1994

Short-game genius Olazabal had 30 one-putts in 72 holes, chipped in twice and made six out of six sand saves as he breezed to his first Masters title and Europe's sixth in seven years.



1995

Augusta National was awash with emotion as Ben Crenshaw paid the ultimate tribute to his late mentor Harvey Penick, who had passed away the week before, by winning the Masters for a second time.



1996

The world winced and turned away as Great White Shark Norman choked on a six-stroke overnight lead to shoot a nightmarish 78. He lost by five strokes to Faldo, whose superb 67 that fateful afternoon is often overlooked. The Aussie had equalled Nick Price's course-record 63 in the first round.



1997

Goodbye Bear, hello Tiger! Records fell like confetti as 21-year-old Tiger Woods blitzed the opposition with an all-time-

high 12-stroke winning margin

in an all-time low 270,

18-under par. Woods, who

replaced Seve as the youngest

ever winner, broke 20 Masters

scoring records and equalled six more.



1998

Tiger's mentor Mark O'Meara won the Masters at his 15th attempt, the longest any champion has had to wait for victory. He completed a super double at Royal Birkdale in July at the British Open.



1999

Olazabal became the 14th multiple-winner at Augusta, notching crucial birdies at 13 and 16 to beat Davis Love III by two and Norman by three.



2000

Vijay Singh was precision personified as he hit 58 of 72 greens in regulation on his way to a 10-under-par 278 and a three-stroke victory over Ernie Els.



2001

Tiger Slam! Woods looked utterly invincible as he won his second Masters and became the first golfer in history to hold all four Major titles at the same time. His 16-under-par total of 272 wasn't as great as in 1997, but Woods prevailed under the weight of enormous expectation that unforgettable week.



2002

The world wondered if anyone could beat Tiger at Augusta as he joined Nicklaus and Faldo on the short list of players to win back-to-back Masters. His 12-under-par 276 is the lowest 72-hole score by a defending champion.

2003

Having parted with coach Butch

Harmon the previous autumn,

Woods was in a so-called Tiger slump as the Masters was hit by awful weather and a highly-publicised protest against Augusta National's male-only membership policy. Mike Weir beat Len Mattice to become the first Canadian and left-hander to don the Green Jacket.



2004

Phil Mickelson used the appliance of science, in the shape of short-game drills suggested by former NASA scientist Dave Pelz, to end his mysterious Major Championship famine in flying style. Lefty sank an 18-foot downhill putt at the last for birdie, one of five he landed in the last seven holes to pip Ernie Els by one, breaking Big Easy's heart.

2005

Woods brought the 'Tiger Slump' to an end by beating Chris DiMarco in sudden death. Fans had been perplexed by his failure to win in 10 Majors following the 2002 US Open but Tiger produced one of the shots of the new century on Augusta's 16th hole on Sunday -- that long, mazy chip and run from the fringe which paused for a breather before tumbling into the cup.



2006

Mickelson took on all the appearances of a true Augusta Master as he donned the Green Jacket for the second time in three years. Couples was the man of the tournament for 54 holes, but his putting went awry on Sunday as the 46-year-old played in the final pairing with Mickelson.

2007

As one of the shorter hitters on tour, Zach Johnson's strategy of laying up on all four par-fives on all four days of the Masters was hardly surprising. Yet this conservative approach paid dividends as Johnson played those 16 holes in 11-under and emerged from a cold, blustery week with the Green Jacket. His 289 strokes (one-over) matched Jackie Burke (1956) and Sam Snead's (1954) previous highs by a champion.



2008

South African Trevor Immelman was so far ahead on Saturday night after posting three rounds in the 60s (68, 68, 69), he could afford to shoot 75 on Sunday and still finish three ahead of runner-up Tiger.



2009

Kenny Perry blew a gasket on the brink of becoming the oldest Major champion in history. At the climax to his final round on Sunday, the 48-year-old bogeyed 17 and 18 to fall into a play-off with Angel Cabrera and Chad Campbell and then played poorly in sudden death as Argentina's Cabrera took his second Major title.



2010

One shot said it all as Mickelson completed his third Masters success with a real flourish, posting a final-round 67. The defining moment came after he had driven into the trees at 13 and hit a swashbuckling 206-yard six-iron off the pine needles to three feet.The spirit of Mickelson, Augusta National and the US Masters had been embodied in one wonderful stroke.

Irish Independent

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