fever grows, Eurosport-Yahoo!'s Toby Keel looks back on memorable moments in
Tiger's chip-in - 2005
Tiger Woods was winless at the Majors for
two seasons heading to Augusta
in 2005, but turned things round even if at times he was not at his most
dominant. Just as it looked as if he was going to lose out to Chris DiMarco, he
chipped from the back of the 16th green, watched as the ball stopped
agonisingly on the lip, and then roared and punched the air as the ball dropped
in! Such a great moment that almost everyone forgets that he bogeyed the next
to almost blow his chances of victory.
Gene Sarazen's four-wood - 1935
One of the all-time greats of American
golf - not to mention the man who invented the modern sand wedge - Gene Sarazen
had yet to win what was still a relatively new tournament back in 1935, but he
changed that in fine style. Trailing Craig Wood as he approached the 15th
green, Sarazen gambled on playing a wood over what was then a thin stream in
front of the green. He watched in delight as the ball ran off the back up a
bank, rolled back down again and straight in for an albatross that moved him
into the lead and effectively gave him the title. It was 'the shot heard around
the world' and made the Masters the most famous tournament on the globe.
Jack Nicklaus's back nine - 1986
The Golden Bear was all washed up,
written-off, without a win at a Major for half a decade, and well off the pace
going into the final round in 1986. Seve Ballesteros and Greg Norman behind him
were chasing victory, but Nicklaus's putter caught fire at the perfect moment
as he came home in 30 for a closing 65 that turned out to be good enough to
give him an 18th Major championship, and a record sixth Masters title.
Angel Cabrera's great escape - 2009
For American golf fans, the 2009 Masters
was all about Kenny Perry's disintegration over the final stretch to drop into
a play-off; for everyone else, it was about Argentina's Angel Cabrera. Taking
anti-hero charm to a level rarely seen in golf, the big-hitting Cabrera has
long been a crowd favourite in Europe and counted almost as 'one of ours'. So
there was huge disappointment when he piled his tee shot into the trees on the
first play-off hole and hit a tree with his recovery shot. But Cabrera's ball
ricocheted on to the fairway, from where he hit a nerveless long pitch below
the hole, rolled in the putt for a par then parred the next with flawless golf
to become the first South American winner of the Green Jacket.
Tiger's first win - 1997
Heralded as the next big thing in golf
after a stellar amateur career and two wins late in 1996 to secure his Tour
card, Woods arrived at Augusta
not as favourite, but with plenty of expectation. After a terrible opening nine
of 40, it seemed the latest new wunderkind was another case of all talk and
little action. But things changed spectacularly. Woods shot 30 on the back nine
to leap into contention. The then 21-year-old proceeded to decimate the field
with rounds of 65 and 66 to open up a nine-shot lead, before a final 69 gave
him a record 12-shot victory.
Greg Norman crumbles - 1996
The Great White Shark had been cruelly
treated by Augusta,
most notably with Larry Mize's 1987 chip-in (see below). But in 1996 it seemed
that, even as his powers had begun to wane, Norman would finally don the Green Jacket. A
course record-equalling 63 in the first round followed by two steady days had
given him a six-shot lead, and it seemed inconceivable that he would fail to
close out victory. However, Augusta had one more
cruel trick to play on Norman.
He simply had a bad day at the office during his final round when good shots
turned bad and bad shots turned awful. Nick Faldo had clawed back the six-shot
deficit by the 13th as Norman
crumbled to lose yet another Major.
Larry Mize's chip - 1987
Greg Norman had led all four 1986 Majors
going into the final round and, one-by-one, had seen all except The Open at
Turnberry slip away. The worst had been that year's final Major, the US PGA
Championship, when Bob Tway holed a bunker shot at the last to win by a shot.
So when Norman came to the second play-off hole a few months later, and
local-born journeyman Larry Mize missed the 11th green by 20 yards, it seemed
Norman would win his second Major. Mize had other ideas. His wildly over-hit
chip was rolling fast across the green and heading for the water beyond when it
smacked into the pin and dropped for an outrageous birdie. Norman had lost his second consecutive Major
to a shot holed from off the green.
Sandy Lyle's bunker shot - 1988
The 1985 Open champion was one of the
world's best players when he arrived at Augusta's
final tee tied for the lead. Sensibly, he chose a one-iron to avoid the sand
but, pumped with adrenaline, ended up hitting it 290 yards into the bunker. Yet
the Scot produced the most famous bunker shot in Masters history, with the ball
not only finding the green but critically landing on the edge of the top tier
and spinning back towards the hole. He rolled in the birdie putt to become the
first British player to win the Green Jacket.