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Masters memories: Ian Woosnam snatches victory in 1991

Masters memories: Ian Woosnam snatches victory in 1991

We look back at some of the remarkable Masters moments over the last 80 years
 

The background: Everyone remembers Ian Woosnam’s winning putt, but what made it extra special was the context.

The Welshman, despite having been a fixture of European golf for the best part of a decade, only made his Masters debut in 1988 and he arrived at Augusta National for this tournament during a glorious time for British golf.

Sandy Lyle’s triumph and back-to-back victories for Nick Faldo had established the Georgia course as a little corner of the United Kingdom.

Woosnam made sure that continued.

The scene: As the tournament reached the 72nd hole, three players were locked together at -11.

Woosnam was joined with two-time champion Tom Watson and Jose Maria Olazabal in the fight for the coveted green jacket.

Olazabal was a group ahead of his two rivals but faltered badly on the difficult final hole, going from bunker to bunker and failing to hole a 45-foot putt to save par.

Watson, who had surged from four shots back of Woosnam with eagles at 13 and 15, faded a three wood into the trees and then hit his second shot into a greenside bunker.

When he three-putted for a double bogey, it left the way clear for the 33-year-old Woosnam.

Apr 1991: Ian Woosnam of Wales punches the air in triumph as he watches his winning putt on the 18th green during the US Masters at Augusta in Georgia, USA. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Munday /AllsportThe moment: Facing the diminutive player was an eight foot putt for par. Miss and it would be a playoff with Olazabal.

“I felt good over it,” he later said. “And it was like there was a voice saying to me, ‘This is your time, step up’. It was my turn.”

As the putt moved inexorably towards the bottom of the cup, the shutters clicked and captured a memorable image of Woosnam dropping to his right knee and pumping out a victory salute.

 

They didn’t have a jacket to fit the 5ft 4in champion’s frame at the victory ceremony – he borrowed a press officer’s – but it mattered little.

He had achieved golfing immortality.

Steve Carroll

Steve Carroll

A journalist for 25 years, Steve has been immersed in club golf for almost as long. A former club captain, he has passed the Level 3 Rules of Golf exam with distinction having attended the R&A's prestigious Tournament Administrators and Referees Seminar.

Steve has officiated at a host of high-profile tournaments, including Open Regional Qualifying, PGA Fourball Championship, English Men's Senior Amateur, and the North of England Amateur Championship. In 2023, he made his international debut as part of the team that refereed England vs Switzerland U16 girls.

A part of NCG's Top 100s panel, Steve has a particular love of links golf and is frantically trying to restore his single-figure handicap. He currently floats at around 11.

Steve plays at Close House, in Newcastle, and York GC, where he is a member of the club's matches and competitions committee and referees the annual 36-hole scratch York Rose Bowl.

Having studied history at Newcastle University, he became a journalist having passed his NTCJ exams at Darlington College of Technology.

What's in Steve's bag: TaylorMade Stealth 2 driver, 3-wood, and hybrids; TaylorMade Stealth 2 irons; TaylorMade Hi-Toe, Ping ChipR, Sik Putter.

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