My top 10 Masters moments!

It is time for the greatest golf tournament of the year – The Masters.

I have written about it for years and will always call the tournament my favorite of the four majors. It’s must-see television every year with the better the hi-definition TV, the better the beauty of the Augusta National course comes through.

Simply put it is my favorite tournament to watch each year because it’s played on the same course  every year.

When Sunday rolls around, you know where every tee shot needs to go, where the approach needs to be, or what break needs to be played.

Even as some of the holes have changed over the years by being lengthened, at the end, you still know where the ball lands what is facing the golfer with the next shot.

You know if they are in a sweet spot, or whether they are in golf jail for their next shot.

The Masters boasts some of the greatest moments in golf – certainly the most memorable in my mind.

Here are some of the most spectacular moments since I have been watching the tournament.

No. 10: Bubba Watson’s second shot on the 10th hole in 2012 when he hit a wedge out of the pine straw 144 yards, with a 40-yard hook to 15 feet. It seemed impossible, but Watson pulled it out on the way to his first Masters’ win.

No. 9: In 2004 when Phil Mickelson won his first Masters, he needed to make an 18-footer on the 18th to win it. He made it and immediately produced a 2-inch vertical leap to celebrate.

No. 8: In 1987 local product Larry Mize was in a playoff with Greg Norman when he left his shot to the 11th green some 144 feet from the hole. Facing a nearly impossible chip on a green that ran away from the hole and towards the water, Mize made the chip, gave us a celebratory leap, and crushed the hopes of Greg Norman, which is never a bad thing.

No. 7: In 2010 Mickelson faced an impossible lie on the pine straw for his second shot on the par 5, 13th hole. His caddie Bones asked Mickelson to layup rather than face the water. Mickelson takes a 6-iron and goes for the green, leaving an improbable 5-footer for an eagle. Just an amazing shot.

No. 6: Tiger’s tee shot on the 16th hole in 2019 that seemingly hung on the break in the green before rolling slowly down towards the hole. The emotion of the crowd built to a crescendo before just missing the ace. It left a short birdie putt when he was on his way to another title.

No. 5: Tiger’s win in 1997 where he won his first Masters by 12 shots, lapping the field and sharing the moment with a lengthy embrace of his father.

No. 4: 1986 brings two memories, both involving Jack Nicklaus’ last Masters’ win. One was the tee shot on the par 3, 16th, where as soon as Jack hit the ball, his son Jackie, who was caddying, said “Be Right,” to which his father replied, “It is.” Then the bender putt on the 17th from 12 feet that prompted announcer Verne Lundquist to say, “Yes Sir,” as the ball went into the hole for birdie.

No. 3: Tiger’s chip on 16 in 2005 remains the most amazing shot I have ever seen, and certainly the most exciting. For those that don’t remember, it was a chip with an amazing break that slowly rolled to the hole, then hung on the edge of the cup, before finally dropping. It sent the crowd, as well as Tiger and his caddie Stevie Williams, into a frenzy.

No. 2:  In 1992 my all-time favorite golfer Fred Couples was on the way to winning his only Masters. On the par 3, 12th hole, a treacherous hole that can win or lose the tournament, Couples left his tee shot short, hitting the bank where it’s automatic the ball will roll back into the water. Except this time. When the ball came to rest not too far above the waterline. Couples made an amazing chip, then made the putt for the par.

No. 1: In 2019 when Tiger won again, his embrace with his son Charlie after finishing is a lasting image I will always carry. The emotion of the moment is the thing legends are made of as father and son, both dressed in traditional Sunday Tiger red, embraced, leaving everyone to soak in the amazing moment. It came 22 years after his first Masters where the lasting image was hugging his father after the tournament.

Make sure you watch all four rounds this week as you never know what to expect, or when another memorable moment will occur.

By Dennis M