Each week, our panel of writers will be asked a question about the game of golf. Topics will range from their predictions for the Tour season to what they would order from the concession stand at Augusta National Golf Club. No subject is off limits for this esteemed group.
The biggest golf, and arguably sports, week of the year has finally arrived. The Masters is special for so many reasons, but we asked our writers to pinpoint one moment that they think back on every April in preparation for a weekend at Augusta National Golf Club.
This week’s question: What is your favorite Masters memory?
Tiger’s Chip-In on the 16th (2005)
Sam Scherman: In my opinion, at least in my lifetime, the most “memorable” Masters moment is actually the Jordan Spieth collapse on #12 in 2016 in which he recorded a quad and gave the tournament away to Danny Willett. Just wanted to mention that because even though I’m a Spieth fan, and in no way a Willett backer, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. That was some of the most insane drama I’ve ever seen on a Masters Sunday.
My favorite Masters memory will be an easy one though and one people expect: the chip in 2005 by Tiger Woods. Since it’s always assumed that Tiger was lapping the field in nearly every tournament he played during the early-mid 2000s (was definitely true a lot of the time), that chip ended up being a must make as he dropped a few shots during the back nine, including a missed putt to win it all on the 72nd. That sound of Verne Lundquist saying “OH WOW! IN YOUR LIFE” will be etched in my memory forever as a great Masters moment.
Tony Kasper: Re-watching this moment gives me chills to this day.
Tiger Woods had a three shot lead over Chris DiMarco going into the final group Sunday at the 2005 Masters. Tiger was at the peak of his dominance and looking to win his ninth major. Heading to the Par 3 16th, Tiger’s lead had shrunk to one shot. His tee shot was poor by his standards, as he hooked his 8-iron over the green and right up against the second cut.
As he was planning his second shot, Verne Lundquist and Lanny Wadkins discussed how difficult this would be for him to get it close. Due to the slope of the green, Tiger had to visualize a landing spot 25-30 feet from the hole and properly judge the break to give himself a good chance to save par. Right before Tiger hit his second shot, Lanny said there was a “good chance” Tiger wouldn’t get this shot close. He took a few practice swings, addressed to his ball, struck the ball, and the magic began.
Verne Lundquist is a hero of mine for many reasons, and having him on the call for this moment was perfect. His initial comment of “well, here it comes” was so fitting. It had a carefree sound, yet you can almost sense he knew that ball had a chance to go in. As the ball inched closer to the hole, the crowd began to shout, and Verne’s “oh my goodness” was incredible. As the ball sat next to the cup for what seemed like an eternity, the crowd implored for one more rotation in order for the ball to drop to the bottom of the hole. The ball obliged, and Tiger, Verne and the crowd erupted.
“Oh wow! In your life, have you ever seen anything like that?!”
This shot was one of those events where you remember exactly where you were watching, and it gave me a feeling of awe that only sports can provide. To hit that shot, in that moment, at that place makes it one of the greatest golf shots I will ever see. The combination of the ball pausing on the lip of the cup, the subsequent drop, the roar from the crowd, the celebration from Tiger, and the call from Verne all add up to my favorite moment in Masters history.
What is forgotten about this shot is that Tiger did not coast to the victory in the holes to follow. He extended his lead to two after the chip in, but bogeys on 17 and 18 forced a playoff between him and DiMarco. After DiMarco tapped in for par on the playoff hole, Tiger sank a 15 foot birdie putt to capture his fourth, but hopefully not final, Masters title.
Phil Mickelson winning the 2010 Masters
Bear: My mom spent part of her childhood in Georgia before attending the University of Georgia. She’s been to Augusta a number of times and always treats Masters week as a holiday. She has passed that tradition down to me. Another thing she passed on to me is a love for Phil Mickelson, so it’s fitting that my favorite Masters memory involves Phil donning the green jacket in 2010. Phil was incredible that week, but we all know the shot that comes to mind from that tournament – Phil around the tree on the 13th to 3 feet (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AHzhAzYlRUY). Beyond Phil’s play, what made that tournament extra special was Amy Mickelson’s battle with breast cancer. My mom is a breast cancer survivor, and seeing how much she enjoyed Phil winning her favorite tournament with a pink ribbon on his hat as Amy went through treatment was awesome. Phil and Amy’s embrace on 18 was truly storybook ending material.
Mike McNamara: My favorite Masters memory is pretty much a no-doubter. It is watching Phil Mickelson bring home the 2010 Masters and adding a third green jacket to his collection. His performance simply had everything. There was the narrative of Amy battling breast cancer, the infamous shot from pine straw on 13, and there was the emotional close by Lefty. I will always remember the euphoric look on Phil’s eyes after pulling that one off, and that performance definitely furthered my love for the sport.
Jake Mulholland: Phil Mickelson on the 13th hole of the 2010 Masters (final round). Phil slapped a six iron through an opening between two trees and it couldn’t have been more pure. He went on to birdie the hole and win the tournament by 3 shots. Not generally a Phil fan, but there’s no denying the greatness of this moment.
The 2011 Masters
Kevin Walsh: My favorite Master’s Memory takes me back a bit. Before the Spieth dominance of 2015, the Bubba hook shot from the trees, and the Sergio victory. Back in 2011, Tiger Woods began the final round 7 strokes back of a then 21 year old Rory McIlroy. Tiger had been struggling since his comeback from private life woes, and Rory looked to be on his way to Masters victory #1 and a spot as the next legend of the game. Instead of the formality expected for the final round, we got fireworks, implosions, and birdie streaks. Tiger made one of the most memorable front nine charges in Masters history, pouring in 4 birdies and an eagle (capped by a huge fist pump) to tie for the lead. Meanwhile, Rory was starting to implode on the front and others were putting themselves in the mix. Unfortunately, Tiger cooled off a bit and finished t-4th and Rory continued to fall apart, shooting an 80 and allowing Charl Schwartzel to sneak in with 4 straight birdies to finish his round and claim the Green Jacket. It had been an interesting ride as a major Tiger fan during those years. The triumph in 08’, the brutal loss to YE in 2009, and of course the off course issues that derailed 2010. Seeing the Sunday Red make the crowd roar like that again still gives me chills when I watch the old YouTube clips. There have been many incredible Masters, but this one sticks out for what I hope it represented moving forward. Tiger has been close, but unable to close the deal on his fifth green jacket. Rory has yet to win one, making it arguably the most surprising major to be his last during the quest for the career grand slam. Let’s hope 2019 can top 2011.
Jordan Spieth’s First Masters win (2015)
Jack Corrigan: The Tiger chip-in, the Adam Scott playoff putt, Bubba’s hook, Phil’s leap – so many great memories and amazing childhood moments in this game we love. The one that I believe was the most icnonc for my fanhood though was the Jordan Spieth rebound in 2015 after losing to Bubba the year before. In 2012, I got into golf at the Ryder Cup. Later on, I saw a Texas team with a guy named Jordan Spieth lead his team to a championship title. I began to follow his career from then on out. In 2013, a Puerto Rico Open hole in one made headlines from him. Later on he’d be in the top 10 weekly, and I knew this 19 year old was destined for success. During The John Deere Classic in July 2013, I made my dad wait to go to a concert because I wanted to watch his playoff after he holed out in a bunker and became the first teenage winner in over 80 years. I met him at the BMW Championship, chirped his Texas football team and got a picture with him. He went on to make the Presidents Cup and by 2014 he was in the last pairing at August on his first try. He went in the water on 12 and that was it, Bubba played calm, cool, collected and won. Fast forward a year later and Jordan has another try in a last pairing and went on for a breezy easy victory. It was the first guy that I had followed who I had no idea what he was going to eventually accomplish and so quickly he became a star. It made 2014 feel alright because he rebounded and won again. To me this Masters was more than a shot or a round it was the guy who really got me into the game making his path to try and become an all-time great.
G.T. Nicklaus’ Hole in One (2018)
Sean Carney: I think you could point to a number of Tiger moments to answer this question, and quite frankly, I wouldn’t disagree. However, I am going to take a look at a moment that didn’t happen on a Sunday or even in an official round. The Par 3 contest is one of the cooler traditions of Masters week. It draws some of golfs biggest legends back out on the course. Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, and formerly Arnold Palmer (since replaced by Tom Watson), would always be out there playing together. Back in 2018, Jack Nicklaus’ grandson, Gary Jr. was on the bag for Jack. On the 9th hole of the contest, Jack sent G.T. at 15 years old, up to the tee. G.T. calmly steps up and bangs in a hole in one, bring his grandfather into tears and the crowd into an absolute frenzy. I think being able to witness moments like that is something as a fan, will always stick with me.
Jordan’s Chase for History (2018)
Frank Laterza: I’ve said it before: my love for golf just recently came to blossom, so I’ll stick with that theme. While it didn’t end in a victory, watching JT and Spieth together on Sunday, and Jordan shooting the best round I’ve ever seen at Augusta, is probably my favorite memory. If you want to relive that, click here.
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