The 18 most iconic moments at The Masters - Part 2

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Augusta has provided the backdrop to some of sport’s most iconic moments. Golf Today editor Mark Flanagan counts down his top 18
Posted on
March 22, 2023
by
Mark Flanagan in ,
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

12) Tiger hugs Earl Woods by the side of the green in 1997

The 1997 Masters was the most significant golf tournament in the history of the sport. Nobody ever ‘arrived on the scene’ quite like Tiger Woods did that very special year.

However for everything that happened over those unforgettable four days, it was the emotion in Tiger’s face as he hugged his father Earl, just a few seconds after his victory was confirmed, that lives longest in the memory.

Tiger’s dad had plotted his son’s path to greatness from an early age and even had eclipsing Jack Nicklaus’s 18 Majors in his head as a target. He told anyone, willing to listen, that his son was destined for greatness. To be fair we had heard it all before. Seasoned hacks had had enough of hearing about ‘the next Jack Nicklaus’.

However the manner in which his son destroyed the field ensured nobody was questioning Earl Woods’ sanity re those grandiose claims and, if anything, he had understated the effect his son would have on the game.

Earl Woods was already struggling with his health in 1997 and looked fragile as he edged himself towards the new champion, by the side of the 18th green, but Tiger did not hold back with a hug that screamed ‘thanks for everything dad’.

 

11) Adam Scott’s birdie to win in 2013

In many respects Adam Scott is a bit of an enigma. His physical attributes and to-die-for swing might have coloured people’s opinions re whether he fulfilled his ‘potential’.

Critics certainly had a field day at the 2012 Open and the way he collapsed down the stretch. Four successive bogeys at Royal Lytham handed the title to Ernie Els.

However nine months later Scott showed he had the stomach for the fight, birdieing three of the final six holes to get himself into a play-off with 2009 champion Angel Cabrera.

Both players parred the 18th and then, at the 10th, the Argentinian just missed with a curling 20-footer. Scott had 14 feet across the green for his three and made no mistake to become the first Australian winner of The Masters.

 

10) Spieth falls apart on 12 in 2016

In the spring of 2016 great things were being written about Jordan Spieth, which makes what happened on the 12th hole in the final round all the more remarkable.

Aged just 22, the American had enjoyed a 2015 that dreams are made of, winning the Masters and US Open, finishing second at the USPGA and tied for fourth at The Open.

He looked like the heir apparent to Tiger Woods and looked destined to go back-to-back at Augusta as he turned for home with a five-shot lead.

His nearest challenger was the relatively unheralded Englishman Danny Willett but in the space of 20 unbelievable minutes, the Yorkshireman was catapulted into a serious title challenge.

Having bogeyed 10 and 11, Spieth’s tee shot on 12 was bad – the ball bouncing back off the bank and into the water – but what followed afterwards just goes to show what Sunday at The Majors can do to even the best players.

The American chunked his third shot so badly it barely made it into the water. The crowd gasped in disbelief with good reason. This was a player with the world at his feet disintegrating before our eyes.

Spieth would walk off with a quadruple bogey seven but my how Willett took his opportunity, birdieing three of the final six holes to win by three shots. His playing partner Lee Westwood also had his opportunities but disappointingly bogeyed 16 while Willett hit a stunning tee shot at the iconic par three to set up a critical birdie.

 

9) Bubba Watson’s hook shot out of trees on 10 in 2012

It was a shot that probably only Bubba Watson could hit but what a time to do it… in a play-off to win your first Major.

Watson and Louis Oosthuizen had both found trouble off the tee at the second extra hole (the 10th). The South African came up short with his approach while the big-hitting left hander looked like he faced an impossible shot to get his ball anywhere close.

What Watson executed was a banana-hook with a wedge, curving the ball more than 40 yards in the air. The ball fizzed off the putting surface and came to rest just ten feet from the hole and two putts would be enough to secure the first of two Green Jackets.

 

8) Mickelson out of the trees on 13th in 2010

When Phil Mickelson was in top gear he was right up there with the best ever to play the game and he certainly had a head of steam as he tackled the 13th in the final round in 2010.

A birdie at 12 had given him a two-shot lead over Lee Westwood and KJ Choi but he looked in trouble up the right.

With the creak waiting for anything mis-hit, Mickelson took it on, firing the ball past two trees just in front of him and the ball headed straight for the flag. It finished just five feet away.

The eagle attempt was missed but the birdie gave him breathing space and he would confirm his third victory in fine style with a three at the last.

 

7) Sandy Lyle out of the bunker on 18 in 1988

The way Sandy Lyle won the 1988 Masters remains one of golf’s stand-out ‘came to the party when it really mattered’ moments.

Not only was it the way he birdied 18th that remains so memorable, but the English-born Scot recovered superbly from a double bogey at 12 to overhaul Mark Calcavecchia down the stretch.

First came a birdie on 16 to get himself back on level terms with the American and then came that remarkable seven iron out of a fairway bunker at the last.

Lyle nipped the ball off the sand just perfectly and left himself 10 feet to become the first British winner of the competition. And, my, how he grabbed the opportunity with both hands, the final putt rolling beautifully into the centre of the cup.

His considerable efforts certainly warranted a little jig of celebration.

 

Part 1, Part 3

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About Mark Flanagan

Mark Flanagan is editor of Golf Today having spent 25 years as a sports journalist. He has edited three other golf magazines and can often be found missing putts from inside gimme range.

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