At the Masters, decades of unforgettable shots

The Masters, which begins Thursday, never fails to deliver memorable shots, which generate roars from the crowd at Augusta National Golf Club.

This year will undoubtedly provide more hits that fall into this category and more thunderous roars. They will most likely come during the back nine on Sunday, when, as the saying goes, the tournament really begins.

Here are 10 examples, in chronological order, of sensational shots from players who walked away with the title – and, since 1949, the coveted green jacket.

There is no plan movie that ranks as the greatest of them all. It is sad.

The Masters were not known as Masters at the time; it was Augusta’s national invitational tournament and it was only in its second year.

On the last lap, Sarazen was ahead of Craig Wood by three strokes. At No. 15, a par 5, Sarazen hit a 4 wood from around 230 yards out. The ball fell into the cup for an incredible double eagle. Just like that, he was even with Wood.

Sarazen beat Wood by five strokes the next day in a 36-hole playoff.

After landing a long birdie putt on the No. 17 to tie Ken Venturi, who had finished the game, Palmer needed another birdie on the final hole to claim his second Masters title in three years.

Mission accomplished.

He nailed a 6 iron from the fairway within five feet of the pin, then converted the putt.

Palmer again prevailed at Augusta National in 1962 and 1964, winning the last of his seven majors.

His tee shot at No. 16, a par 3, in the last round was not what he was looking for, the ball coming to rest about 40 feet from the cut. He would, in all likelihood, get his par, but still trail the leader, Tom Weiskopf, in one shot.

Forget s.

Nicklaus hit in the uphill putt for a birdie, raising his putter in the air in celebration. After Weiskopf and Johnny Miller missed their birdie attempts at 18, Nicklaus won his fifth green jacket.

Nicklaus, 46, was making an unexpected run on Sunday when he faced a second shot at the risk/reward 15th hole.

The risk was worth the reward.

From 202 yards out he hit a 4 iron over the pond about 12 feet from the keel.

He converted the eagle putt and followed with birdies at 16 and 17 to win by one stroke. For Nicklaus, who shot a final round 65 (30 on the back nine), it was his sixth Masters title and his 18th and final major championship.

When a sudden-death playoff began, Mize was not the favorite. His opponents were future Hall of Famers Greg Norman and Seve Ballesteros.

Yet it was Mize, an Augusta native, who came through, stepping in about 140 feet on the No. 11, the second hole of the playoffs, to beat Norman. Ballesteros, chasing his third green jacket, had given up after a bogey on the first playoff hole.

Mize has only won two other PGA Tour events.

After hitting his drive on No. 18 in the bunker, Lyle needed a par to advance to the playoffs with Mark Calcavecchia, who was already at the clubhouse.

150 yards away, Lyle, who couldn’t see the pin, hit a beautiful 7-iron, the ball rolling down the hill to come to rest about 10 feet from the pin.

Lyle of Scotland birdied the putt to become the first player from the United Kingdom to win the Masters.

The tournament seemed destined for the first sudden death playoff since 1990.

O’Meara, who tied with David Duval and Fred Couples, lined up a Birdie putt 20 feet on the last hole.

There would be no playoffs.

O’Meara, who had started the day two strokes back, hit it for his first major title. He won his second major a few months later at the British Open.

Without a doubt, Mickelson’s 6-iron from Pine Straw on the No. 13 in 2010 deserves to be on the list, but his birdie on the last hole in 2004 also stands out.

Tied with Ernie Els, Mickelson hit his approach 18 feet from the hole. A playoff seemed like a strong possibility, and like O’Meara in 1998, the 33-year-old Mickelson was looking for his first major triumph. He had finished second three times.

Jim Nantz, the CBS anchor, said it best as the ball headed for the cup.

“Is it his time? … Yes.”

Leading into the final round by one, Woods was in trouble after his 8-iron at the No. 16 missed the green to the left. He had to aim about 25 feet from the cut to catch the slope in the perfect spot.

He found the perfect spot and the ball sat on the edge of the cup for a second or two before dropping for a miraculous birdie.

Woods got his fourth green jacket on the first hole of the playoffs against Chris DiMarco.

Watson, on the second playoff hole against Louis Oosthuizen, hit his tee shot into the pine straw on the right.

Advantage: Oosthuizen. Not for a long time.

Watson managed to hook his corner shot about 15 feet from the cut. He finished with a par, earning the first of his two Masters victories when Oosthuizen bogeyed.

“As an athlete, as a golfer,” Watson told reporters at the time, “that’s Mecca. That’s what we strive to put the green jacket on.

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