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Legends of the Masters

Legends of the Masters

It has been 30 years since Legends Tour Ambassador Ian Woosnam triumphed at Augusta National, and it got us thinking, what is our stand-out Masters memory?


From Woosie’s celebration after holing the winning putt, to Nick Faldo’s successful title defence, we have picked out four of the most memorable Masters moments by Legends Tour players.

Woosie’s Major moment

Ian Woosnam

It has been 30 years since Ian Woosnam etched his name into the record books as the first Major Champion from Wales, so that is the only place to start.

He arrived at Augusta National as the world’s leading player but, although he was supposedly the man to beat, to win he would need to make history because a World Number One had never won the Masters.

Woosie opened with a level par round of 72, but after spending three hours using a different putter on the putting green after the first round, his fortunes changed on day two.

Having swapped his Ping putter for a Tad Moore, he shot a six under par round of 66 to sit just two shots behind leader Tom Watson at the halfway stage, before matching his total on day three to set the clubhouse lead at 12 under par.

He was neck-and-neck with Watson throughout the final round, with the America dropping two shots on the par three 12th hole before Woosnam’s tee shot found Rae’s Creek on the 13th hole.

With three holes to play, José María Olazábal had joined the party and all three men were tied for the lead. Watson and Woosnam were tied at 11 under par as they prepared to play the 72nd hole and they watched as Spaniard Olazábal bogeyed the last, meaning the winner would most likely come from the final group.

Watson found the bunker with his second shot, while Woosnam’s approach came to a halt on the apron of the green. The American got out of the trap without trouble, but was left with a 25 footer for par, which he sent sailing past the hole.

For the Welshman, that meant just six feet stood between him and becoming his country’s first Major Champion. He hit his putt, the now famous fist pump soon followed, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Faldo’s stoic defence


In 1990, one year prior to Woosnam’s triumph, Nick Faldo became only the second man after Jack Nicklaus to successfully defend a Masters title.

Then aged 32, Faldo had won his first Green Jacket in 1989 by beating Scott Hoch in a play-off, so he was no stranger to the drama of extra holes on the way to victory the following year.

The Englishman was in a tie for tenth place on one under par at the halfway stage after opening rounds of 71-72, but his fortunes turned on moving d when a six under par round of 66 fired him into third place, three shots behind pacesetter Raymond Floyd.

Faldo, playing alongside Nicklaus in the final round, double bogeyed the opening hole but fought back with three front nine birdies. He dropped another on the tenth and Floyd extended his lead to four with a birdie on the 12th, but Faldo was not going away.

Further birdies at the 13th, 15th and 16th – with Floyd bogeying the 17th – meant both men were tied at ten under par with one hole to play. When the leading duo safely secured pars on the final hole, extra holes beckoned.

It was honours even after pars at the tenth hole, before Faldo seized the advantage, hitting the longer drive on the 11th while Floyd’s approach shot found the water. The Englishman then chipped an eight-iron down the hill to 18 feet, from where he safely made par to retain the Green Jacket and claim the third of his six Major victories.

Langer’s last-gasp victory


People say that the Masters doesn’t really start until the back nine on Sunday and although that isn’t strictly true, events after the turn on the final day proved to be pivotal for Bernhard Langer in 1985.

First, let’s set the scene. America’s Curtis Strange had posted an opening round of 80 at Augusta National and looked set to complete the most monumental of comebacks when he entered the back nine of the final round with a four-stroke lead.

However, from the 13th to the 15th, Strange fell from a three-shot lead to a one-shot deficit, with Langer now the man to catch.

When he grasped the lead, the German never looked like relinquishing it, posting four birdies in the last seven holes to secure victory despite a bogey at the last.

Langer’s victory marked the beginning of an incredible period of Augusta domination for European players. Europeans slipped on the Green Jacket seven times in ten years starting with Langer’s triumph-  a run of victories which included another win for the German, two for Nick Faldo, and successes for Sandy Lyle, Ian Woosnam and José María Olazábal.

Lyle’s Sandy success


Augusta National Golf Club. Sunday. Hole 18. Fairway bunker.

What followed was arguably the greatest-ever shot hit in a Major Championship.

Scotland’s Sandy Lyle arrived at the 1988 Masters Tournament ranked third in the world – behind only Greg Norman and Seve Ballesteros – and by the halfway stage of the year’s opening Major Championship, he was on top of the leaderboard.

It was all going so well, and after posting a level par round of 72 on day three, he was still in possession of a two-stroke lead with 18 holes to play.

Fast forward nine holes and he still had the lead. Nine holes to play and he would be a Masters Champion, but, again, nothing is straightforward on the back nine at Augusta National.

Lyle bogeyed the 11th and found Rae’s Creek on the par three 12th, which resulted in two more dropped shots. The Scot could only par the 13th, which meant Mark Calcavecchia's birdie gave the American the lead.

The Scotsman missed a good chance for birdie on the 15th but made up for it on the following hole with a superb 12-footer to haul himself level with Calcavecchia.

By the time Lyle reached the 18th tee, Calcavecchia had already signed his card, and the task in hand was pretty simple; a par means a play-off, but a birdie earns the Green Jacket.

He opted to a play ‘safe’, but a one iron from the tee trickled into the fairway bunker and, suddenly, the odds were against him. He had to find the green.

The undulations of Augusta National meant he was unable to see the flag from his position in the bunker, but he pulled out a seven iron, lined his shot up using a cloud and hit an incredible shot which nipped back on the green to ten feet.

It was by no means a gimme, but he had given himself a chance. After taking his time and picking his line, Lyle rolled home the birdie putt to become the first Brit – and, of course, first Scot – to win the Masters.

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