13 shots from Augusta National’s ‘second nine’ that made Masters history

tiger woods celebrates on 16 at Augusta

The 12th hole at Augusta National is hallowed ground.

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They say the Masters doesn’t really begin until the back nine on Sunday. These holes — and the historic moments and shots that took place on them — prove it.

Hole No. 10 – Camellia – Par-4, 495 Yards

Crenshaw’s Coronation (1984): He’d come so close a bunch of times—five top 10s in his previous 12 runs at Augusta. “[But] you start wondering whether you are really going to hold yourself together,” Ben Crenshaw said of his near misses at the majors. In ’84, he put those doubts to rest when, in the final round, he jarred an epic 60-footer on the 10th. The birdie was a long-distance ticket to the first of his two Masters wins, which, it turned out, would be the only two majors of Ben’s career.

Bubba’s Bender (2012): Another two-time Masters champ took a way more circuitous route to win number one. On the second hole of sudden death against Louis Oosthuizen, Bubba Watson buried his tee ball deep into the trees right of the 10th fairway. Cue his miracle shot. “I hit 52-degree, hooked it about 40 yards, hit it about 15 feet off the ground until it got under the tree and started rising,” he said. The parabolic strike checked up 10 feet from the pin. Two-putt par. Win. “Pretty easy,” Watson said.

Hole No. 11 – White Dogwood – Par-4, 520 Yards

All Eyes on… Mize? (1987): In his Masters debut in 1984, Larry Mize, born and raised in Augusta, scratched out a T11 finish. But three years later, with a single Tour win to his credit, the 28-yearold journeyman might have been the only human on the ANGC grounds who liked his odds of winning. Playing the 11th hole on Sunday in a sudden-death playoff against Greg Norman (Seve Ballesteros, also tied for first, had been eliminated the hole before), Mize faced an impossible 140-foot chip from far off the green. With sand wedge in hand, he made his stroke. “I remember thinking, That’s pretty good,” he said. Good enough for a walk-off win—and the most ecstatic leap in Masters history.

Faldo’s Fortune (1989): Scott Hoch had it sewn up. A two-footer on the first hole of a playoff with Nick Faldo was all that stood between him and the champion’s locker room. Hoch’s shocking miss gave Faldo a second chance. On the next hole—11—he dropped a 25-footer. “It was a dream,” Faldo said of the putt and the win. Remarkably, a year later on 11, he was a sudden-death Masters champ again.

Hole No. 12 – Golden Bell – Par-3, 155 Yards

Couples’ (Near) Retreat (1992): “This is the shot that will make or break it.” Fred Couples may have been thinking it, but CBS’s Ken Venturi said it, as Couples, clinging to a shrinking Sunday lead, stood over his ball on the par-3 12th tee. Rae’s Creek had swallowed innumerable nervy tee shots over the years. But not today. Couples’ chunk landed short, tumbled down the steep bank and stopped 12 inches short of ignominy. The ever-chill Boom Boom smoothed his chip, walked away with par and a Masters win.

The 12th. Man! (2016): Without doubt, there have been heroics here, including an ace by Curtis Strange in ’88. But not all indelible moments are the winning kind. Exhibit A: Jordan Spieth’s brutal collapse in 2016. On the brink of joining Jack, Tiger and Sir Nick as the Masters’ sole back-to-back winners, Spieth was wet off the tee. Then wet again from the drop zone. Entering the hole he was five up. His quadruple bogey left him three back. And broken. “This will scar him,” Faldo said.

jordan spieth grimaces on 12 at augusta
Jordan Spieth’s back-nine collapse at Augusta National in 2016 remains in Masters infamy. Getty Images

Hole No. 13 – Azalea – Par-5, 545 Yards

Lefty’s Great Escape (2010): The word had come from a cameraman: In a seesaw battle atop the Sunday leaderboard, Phil Mickelson was suddenly in sole possession of first place—but with lots of golf still to play and a surging Tiger Woods a hole ahead of him. A more cautiously sane golfer might have taken his medicine—Mickelson’s tee shot on the 13th was nestled in pine straw and situated among trees in such a way that his window to the hole, 206 yards away, was, by caddie Bones Mackay’s estimation, the size of a box of golf balls. A layup was the prudent play. But this was Phil. Mackay recalls: “He said [to me], ‘If I’m going to win today, I have to hit a great shot under a lot of pressure. I’m going to do it right now.’ That is the ultimate ‘Get the f out of the way’ to a caddie.” So Lefty slashed it to three feet. Two-putt (ouch) birdie. Jacket!

Hole No. 15 – Firethorn – Par-5, 550 Yards

Singular Sarazen (1935): The gallery was minuscule. This was, after all, just the second Masters. No TV coverage, either. And yet, in that relative silence, Gene Sarazen’s double eagle on the par-5 15th became the Shot Heard ’Round the World. “I couldn’t see it go in the hole,” Sarazen recalled. “All I could see were those 25 people… throwing their arms up.” The Squire’s win that day, at 33, was the last of his seven majors. Still, he’d tee it up at Augusta, eventually as an honorary starter, until he was 97. Masterful.

Just… Jack (1986): If you watched it live on TV, you’re probably among the generations of fans who consider it the greatest achievement in sport. But what was the greatest moment from Jack Nicklaus’ astounding charge—and win—at the ’86 Masters? The birdie on 13? 16? 17? “How far would a three go here?” Jack asked, staring at a 204-yard approach over water to the shallow 15th green. He was talking eagle. “I think it would go a long way,” Jack Jr., his caddie, said. All the way to a record six Masters wins.

Hole No. 16 – Redbud – Par-3, 170 Yards

Intoxicating Arnold Palmer (1962): The scenario: The King, seeking his third Masters win, and Gary Player, hoping to become the tournament’s first repeat winner, are in a back-nine Sunday showdown. From the tee of the par-3 16th, Player throws a dart to 10 feet. Palmer’s tee ball lands in the fringe, 45 feet from the cup. “I did the unforgivable,” Player recalled. “I said to my caddie… we’ve won.” Player’s miss and Palmer’s momentous chip in rewrote the script.

Nicklaus, Rolling (1975): His tee shot on 16 in ’86—“Be right,” Jack Jr. said. “It is,” Jack Sr. replied— lingers in our collective memory, but the Bear’s 40-foot bomb on Sunday in ’75, with Tom Weiskopf and Johnny Miller in pursuit, caused estimable golf scribe Henry Longhurst to blurt, “That has to be the greatest putt I ever saw in my life.” Masters win five.

“Oh, wow!” (2005): What’s left to add to Verne Lunquist’s call? The greatest shot of Tiger’s career was a sublime, slowrolling chip in. Iconic. (Nike liked it too.)

Hole No. 18 – Holly – Par-4, 465 Yards

Lyle Loves It (1988): This Saharan view (above) is pretty much what Sandy Lyle was looking at on the 72nd hole in ’88. Acres of grain, uphill climb, 150 yards out—daunting stuff for a guy tied for the lead with one to play and, in his mind, the tournament slipping away. After he’d dumped his 1-iron in the front fairway bunker, he figured he was cooked. “I didn’t think I had a chance to get it out,” he said. “But when I got to it, the lie was actually pretty good. I’d come too far. Second place wasn’t good enough.” Lyle spoke for every Masters warrior. His astonishing up and in—a 7-iron to 10 feet—made him a green jacket winner. Does it get any better?

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