Editorial provided by National Club Golfer
The wait is almost over. The first Major of the year is just around the corner. If you can’t get excited about the Masters, golf is not the sport for you.
Sometimes the Masters is so good, 72 holes just aren’t enough. We want more. So as the 78th edition of the tournament approaches, we look at some of the most memorable play-off victories witnessed at Augusta National.
2013 – Adam Scott edge out Angel Cabrera to break his Major duck
For the second year running the 10th, Camellia, proved to be the final stop.
Previously Bubba Watson had extricated himself from a spot which was off bounds even as a walkway, last year Adam Scott made birdie – which had never happened before in a play-off.
This was the 16th win in a play-off in 77 stagings of the Masters.
Prior to 1976 these were 18-hole affairs except for 1935 – the year Gene Sarazan made an albatross at the 15th – which was 36.
Of the six 18 or 36-hole play-offs none were tied at the end of the round. The sudden-death play-off was adopted in 1976.
Interestingly none of the 10 sudden-death play- offs since has advanced past the second hole; three were decided at the first and seven at the next.
Only one player, Ben Hogan, has twice gone beyond the 72 holes and then lost, in 1942 and 1954.
And then there was the play-off that sadly never happened. In 1968 Bob Goalby tied Roberto DeVicenzo but, instead of marking down a birdie three for DeVicenzo at the 17th, playing partner Tommy Aaron wrote four.
DeVicenzo missed the mistake and Goalby was the champion.
1989 and 1990 – Faldo’s double delight
Nick Faldo remains the only player to prevail twice in extra holes in Georgia.
First up the Englishman watched Scott Hoch miss a tiddler at the 10th, his third putt of the day to win the tournament, before then rolling in a 25-footer at the next having bogeyed it all four days that week.
The following year Ray Floyd, seeking a Major win in four different decades, found the pond to the left of the 11th allowing Faldo to claim the third of his six Majors and become just the second player to defend his title.
“When I faced the three-foot putt for par on 10 I was thinking, ‘Well, after what happened to Scott (Hoch) last year, maybe it’s going to get it back on me this time,’ Faldo said after the second win.
“But I kept grinding away, and when we went to 11, I had the same mixed emotions. I was so fortunate here last year, I thought it was going to get me this time. It wasn’t until I saw Ray get wet that I thought, ‘Maybe this is my hole.’
“I still had to hit my shot, so I still had to stay in the right frame of mind.
“I don’t want to hit way right and bail out, because I could still take five. I still had to make four.
“I just aimed right of the hole and hit a hold-up shot. That’s all I was asking.”
1987 – Larry Mize stuns Seve Ballesteros and Greg Norman
First there was the disconsolate figure of Seve and his brother trudging back up the hill at the 10th after three putts had signalled the Spaniard’s exit.
Then Mize, who had worked on the scoreboards as a youth, hit a chip that bounced twice before the green before making its way to the hole.
“It was certainly the best shot I’ve ever hit – how could you beat that?” said Mize.
“I was elated and, as everyone saw, my caddy and I got very excited.”
1979 – Fuzzy Zoeller beats Ed Sneed and Tom Watson in dream debut
The Masters’ first sudden-death play-off and one of four to finish at the 11th.
Ed Sneed dropped shots at the last three having begun the final round five ahead.
Sneed, debutant Fuzzy Zoeller and Tom Watson all parred the 10th.
Zoeller had relied on his veteran caddy, Jerry Beard, all week. At the 11th Beard wanted his man to hit a 9.
Zoeller replied: ‘I knock an 8-iron down better than any player in the world.’
Zoeller hit the 8 to 10 feet and knocked in the putt for the first of two Major victories.
1962 – Arnold Palmer chalks up his third Masters victory
Of Palmer’s four Green Jackets only this one came in extra holes.
Five over in his final round having led into the final day, he chipped in at 16 and birdied 17 to force a Monday play-off with Gary Player and Dow Finsterwald.
Birdies at 10, 12, 13 and 14 put him four shots ahead and safe.
Coming into the week Palmer was struggling with an ear infection. Despite hating hats, he wore a white cap.
After a three putt at the very 1st hole of the week the cap came off and never returned.