Friday 19 December 2014

padraig RELIVES masters momentS

Karl McGinty

Published 09/04/2013 | 05:00

GHOSTS are forever tapping golfers on the shoulder at Augusta National.

Daring shots from past Masters are revived and relived when golf's finest invitees return every April, while haunting memories of the horrors endured by many famous fall guys are impossible to banish.

As Padraig Harrington rolled up Magnolia Lane yesterday, he looked forward to the prospect of trying out for himself the unbelievable shot from the trees at 10 which clinched victory for Bubba Watson in sudden death last year.

Harrington must play a cut off the pine straw to mimic the astonishing 135-yard pitching-wedge the left-handed American hooked 40 yards in the air and landed on the green. He then two-putted for a miracle winning par.

Watson's stroke of genius is just one of many shots Harrington felt compelled to try for himself.

"The first year you get here, the two shots you want to try are the Larry Mize chip from the right of the green at 11 and Sandy Lyle's shot out of the fairway bunker at the last," he explained.

Mize broke Greg Norman's heart when he holed that 140ft chip for a winning birdie on the second play-off hole in 1987, while Lyle played a seven-iron of the ages from the fairway bunker to eight feet and made the putt to beat Mark Calcavecchia 25 years ago.

Most people view Tiger Woods' chip-in from the back of the 16th green as he marched to victory in 2005 as iconic; or Phil Mickelson's daring six-iron to four feet off the pine-straw and out of the trees at 13 in 2010.

Yet Harrington counts other less fabled shots among his favourites.

He is intrigued by the delicate chip 2011 champion Charl Schwartzel (pictured) holed with his seven-iron from an impossible position just short, right of the first green to get his final round off to a great start.

"A lot of guys would've taken six from there. It's the first, your head is swimming, you've missed the green and you're struggling. That shot made a big difference for Charl."

Harrington would love to blast his tee shot at 18 over the distant bunker as Ian Woosnam did on his way to victory in 1991.

He's tried and failed to reproduce Jose Maria Olazabal's beautifully controlled chip off the bank at the back of 17, which trickled to inches and set up the Spaniard in 1994.

As for the horror shots which haunt Augusta, don't get him started.

Irish Independent

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