Maybe it’s the hint of a summer’s golf to come, but there’s something about the Masters that gets everyone who loves to swing a club into a frenzy.
The lucky players who get to tread those famous Augusta National fairways aren’t immune either. The year’s first Major has seen some priceless moments down the years – shots that have worked their way into golfing folklore.
So as we get set to spend the next few days on the couch lapping up those sumptuous sights of azaleas and pine trees, here’s our list of top 10 Masters moments from the last 80 years.
10) “The shot heard around the world”
The Masters might just have been a run of the mill tournament had it not been for Gene Sarazen’s moment of magic in only the second event.
Trailing Craig Wood by three shots in the final round, the Squire holed a 4-wood from 235-yards on the 15th hole for an albatross.
He’s still only one of four players to have achieved such a feat at the Masters and he went on to win the tournament, beating Wood in a play-off. The Sarazen Bridge at Augusta commemorates the shot.
9) “Is it his time? YES!”
Harpooned as the best player never to have won a Major, Phil Mickelson looked set for more disappointment in 2004. After Ernie Els eagled the 8th and 13th, and birdied the 15th, the American looked sunk.
But in a thrilling back nine-duel, Mickelson birdied three in a row and then tied for the lead with a two at the 16th.
Left with an 18-foot putt to win on the final hole, Lefty finally secured his destiny – with the help of some immortal commentary from CBS’ Jim Nantz.
8) Lyle’s bunker shot at 18 in 1988
Tied for the lead standing on the final tee, Sandy Lyle found the fairway bunker with his drive. It was a notoriously difficult shot.
No player since Arnold Palmer in 1960 had gone to the 18th needing a birdie to win and made it, but the Scotsman’s 7-iron bounced past the flag and rolled back down the slope to finish six feet away.
Lyle holed the putt and danced a jig as he celebrated his Masters triumph.
7) Nicklaus’ bomb on 16 in 1975
As a final day shootout with Johnny Miller and Tom Weiskopf reached a tumultuous climax, Jack Nicklaus left his tee-shot on the par 3 16th some 40 feet short.
But in an act which thrilled the millions watching at home, Nicklaus sunk a dagger into the heart of his two rivals – breaking into a trot as his putt rolled across the green and right into the hole as he picked up his fifth Masters victory.
6) “The greatest shot of his life” – Mickelson from the pine trees in 2010
Lefty’s second shot at the 13th hole in the final round six years ago is arguably the best shot of his career.
With his ball in the pine straw 205 yards from the flag, Mickelson carved a 6-iron through a six-foot gap in the trees to four feet as he got measured up for a third green jacket.
5) Faldo at the 1996 Masters
Greg Norman blew a six shot lead, but we’d prefer to remember Nick Faldo’s ruthless hunting down of the Australian.
Faldo mercilessly chipped away at the Great White Shark as he claimed a third Masters title. His closing 67 was one of the best final rounds in tournament history.
4) “Yes Sir!”
Dismissed as the ‘Olden Bear’ in the run-up, Jack Nicklaus was a postscript in the final round coverage before remarkable things started happening on the back-nine.
His charge began at 15. Burying an eagle putt, he was only three feet away on 16 before Seve Ballesteros, playing a hole behind, dragged his second shot into the water.
Hitting his second on the 17th to 18 feet, Nicklaus holed the putt and gave one of the most famous salutes in golf.
3) Larry Mize’s chip in 1987
With Greg Norman safety on the green, the Australian seemed destined to get the green jacket as Larry Mize lined up an impossible chip from 110 feet on the 11th hole.
Having missed the green to the right, Mize had an unenviable task of negotiating sloping terrain and the contours of the putting surface.
But, landing his chip just short, he watched in amazement as the ball stayed on an unerring arc and dropped in to seal an incredible victory as a crestfallen Norman missed his putt.
2) Bubba Watson’s physics defying hook in 2012
After slashing his drive into the trees at the 18th in a play-off with Louis Oosthuizen, only Bubba Watson could have had both the invention and the nerve to hit this shot.
With a 52 degree wedge, and from 145 yards, the American sent the ball on a 45 yard swerve round the trees to set up victory. What. A. Shot.
1) “In your life have you seen anything like that?”
If Tiger Woods’ sponsors had filmed an advert, they couldn’t have done a better job – the swoosh on his ball hanging momentarily over the hole before the ball dropped in.
This was an impossible chip on the 16th in 2005. With a landing area the size of an old pitchmark to concentrate on, the world number one found the exact spot and his reaction – along with that of the commentators, is the stuff of legend.
Don’t agree with our choices? Have your say and let us know your favourites.