With the 2016 Masters getting underway tomorrow, the NCG team talk us through their best moments from Augusta over the years.
Steve Carroll: Phil Mickelson’s winning putt in 2004. It was a brilliant climax to a thrilling final day duel between Lefty and Ernie Els. Having been a Phil fan for years, I thought he was to remain the bridesmaid again as Els surged three shots in front on the back nine but it was a brilliant fightback. The hairs on the back of my neck still stand up to this day when I watch that moment back. What a putt.
Mark Townsend: The Mickelson putt was pretty much the low point in my Masters viewing. I was ‘travelling’ and watched it in a sports bar in San Diego, Mickelson’s home town. I had a tenner on Els at 14-1 which would have paid for the next bit of the trip to Vegas.
When the putt went in I collapsed into my clam chowder. Favourite would be Woosnam by some distance and my favourite moment in any sport. I think I felt more aggrieved than Woosnam himself when he failed to get invites year after year. He made his debut in 1988 and shot something like 86. Three years later he won it despite various American fans heckling him. My uncles and cousin used to play him as the club No 1 players and his dad Harold was big mates with my dad’s brother as they used to play football and cricket together in Mid Wales. I was introduced to Woosnam at Wentworth in about 1984 and I thought it was like saying hello to Elvis, but smaller and not as good looking. So when he slipped in his putt it was the most magical moment and I still get a lump in my throat at the thought of it.
James Savage: Bubba’s banana wedge in the play-off against Louis Oosthuizen in 2012. I’d backed Bubba £2.50 each-way at about 50/1 so to see that shot come off made me very happy. It was strange because it wasn’t really that much of a surprise when he did it.A right-hander couldn’t have done it and it was the sort of shot he’d probably hit a thousand times around his house as a kid. The tears on the green were a bit much and the non-handshake with Billy Payne in Butler’s Cabin afterwards was about as awkward as it gets.
Dan Murphy: Nick Faldo denying the pantomime villain Raymond Floyd was as good it gets for me. Faldo was very much my hero at the time and I would rather have seen him win any event than Seve, Sandy or Woosie. Let alone Floyd, who was always the least likeable American come the Ryder Cup (at least until Corey Pavin came along). What I didn’t realise at the time was quite the extent to which these European heroes were defying the odds year after year at Augusta. My next favourite would definitely be Ollie in 99.
Craig Middleton: The obvious choice for me. Tiger’s chip at 16 in 2005. for someone who was just starting to take an interest in the game, that moment, as I’m sure it was for many others, was the start of my love for the game. It also made me instantly want to go and buy some Nike golf balls.
Tom Irwin: I enjoyed watching Woosnam make an eagle on 15 when I went to The Masters in 2013. I do remember how all of the cliches are true – it is in perfect condition everywhere, it is really, really hilly, Amen Corner does feel other worldly, the Pimento sandwiches are cheap, absolutely nothing disappoints – you should go.