One of the special parts of the Masters is that the past champions get to play on in the event long after their primes have passed. But there comes a time when each has to make that final stroll down the 18th fairway.
This year, it’s 1987 champion Larry Mize‘s turn to say goodbye to his hometown major.
Mize confirmed to The Augusta Chronicle the 2023 Masters, his 40th consecutive appearance, will be his final tournament.
“It’s going to be an emotional week, but it’s time,” Mize said. “I know it’s time.”
The 64-year-old won his only green jacket by defeating Greg Norman and Seve Ballesteros in a playoff. Mize memorably left his approach right on the second playoff hole, the difficult par-4 11th, then chipped in for an improbable birdie to stun Norman.
Many consider the 140-foot chip to be one of the greatest shots in Masters history.
“It’s the greatest shot ever, and I’ll tell you why: It was a walk-off. It won the tournament,” 54-year Masters caddie Carl Jackson told The Chronicle. “People talk about Tiger’s chip  or Sarazen’s double-eagle  but neither of those won the tournament. Mize walked ’em off.”
He is still the only Masters winner to be from Augusta. As a teenager, he worked the No. 3 scoreboard during the week.
The win earned Mize a lifetime exemption and he finished tied for sixth in 1992 and third in 1994. He last made the cut in 2017.
He told The Chronicle his second favorite memory from the event actually came in 1994, when he held the early lead going into the weekend, but bogeys on 12 and 14 doomed his chances by the time he got to 18 tee.
“I hit my drive and a stranger shouted, ‘Thank you, Larry,’” Mize said. “I wasn’t going to win the tournament. José [María Olazábal] had pulled away. But that appreciation I felt, I’ll never forget it.”
Mize made just six starts on the PGA Tour Champions in 2022, a tour he’s played regularly since 2008. He has one PGA Tour Champions title, back at the 2010 Montreal Championship, to add to his four PGA Tour wins.
He was uncertain of his future at Augusta after the 2022 Masters, offering a noncommittal response when asked about it last year.
“Will next year be my last?” Mize said then. “I don’t know. I really don’t. That decision will come, but I can’t say for certain right now.”
Now a year later, he seems certain 40 in a row is a good time to hang it up.