Jack Nicklaus says this is the shot that won Tiger Woods the 2019 Masters

Tiger Woods holds up Masters trophy.

Tiger Woods celebrates his 2019 Masters victory.

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This week’s Augusta National-centric Bamberger Briefly will bring you Masters tidbits straight from the man, Jack Nicklaus, culled from a recent wide-ranging interview. Part I, on Monday, covered the feat this year’s winner will be in position to accomplish that no one has before. [Interview lightly edited.]

On Thursday morning, 80-year-old Jack Nicklaus and his 85-year-old friend Gary Player will stand on the first tee at Augusta and hit ceremonial tee shots to begin this delayed playing of the 84th Masters. Yesterday, today, and again tomorrow and Thursday, we bring you some Masters tidbits straight from the only man with six green coats, culled from a wide-ranging interview Nicklaus gave to Sean Zak and me at his home in North Palm Beach, Fla., last month.

I asked Nicklaus if, on Sunday at last year’s Masters, Tiger Woods had a big advantage, as he was the only player in contention to have won a green jacket.

“Well, I don’t pay much attention to that,” Nicklaus said. “I think that last year when Tiger was there. Yes, Tiger hadn’t won for a while. But he was playing well. He got to the 12th hole and [Francesco] Molinari I think was leading.”

He was, and Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Xander Schauffele and others, along with Woods, were in the mix.

“But they all filled up Rae’s Creek,” Nicklaus said, referring to the famous stream that fronts the 12th green. “And they all, every single one of them, played a draw into that green. That green does not want a draw. I mean, that green runs front-left to back-right, and any time you’re hitting a draw you’re going across the green.

“So you either leave it out to the right and it doesn’t get there, or it goes all the way through on the left side. It’s got to be started on the left side and worked up the green. All of my watching, I was sitting there and I just kept shaking my head.

“Tiger got up and he played the prettiest little cut shot, right over where he should put it, over the center of the bunker, the left side of the bunker, into the middle of the green,” Nicklaus said.

He was watching on a boat, during a fishing trip.

“I said, ‘Tournament’s over. Tiger hasn’t won [for a while] but he will remember how to play the last six holes.’

“Because that’s what you do when you’re a good player and you really know what you’re doing. He knows what he’s doing, he knew what he did at 12, he knew what a great shot he had played, and from then on it was automatic for him. I mean, sure he still had to play a couple under par but he played it pretty darn well. So, that was my feeling. It made no difference who was there at that point because once he moved into the lane and once he played 12 the way he did, everybody else was trying to say, ‘How do I recover?’”

Michael Bamberger welcomes your comments at

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