Bunker Mentality

The most agonising moments in the history of The Masters

Bunker Mentality

Rory McIlroy unravels - 2011

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Rory McIlroy walks up the 18th at Augusta after blowing the tournament in epic fashion

The Northern Irish star looked certain to confirm his status as the golf's newest superhero as he took a four-shot lead into the final round of the Masters, and still held the lead entering the final nine holes. But a wild hook into the trees on the 10th saw him run up a treble-bogey seven which prompted one of the sport's great implosions. McIlroy went on to take four putts on the 12th hole, and ended up with a final round 80 that left him ten shots back in 15th place.

Looking back two years on, and that afternoon in Georgia looks like just a small speed bump on the road to greatness, but at the time it seemed the sort of calamity that could bury a player's confidence for good. All the more kudos to him for picking himself up and winning the US Open two months later to silence the doubters for good.

Roberto De Vicenzo's scorecard blunder - 1968

Mark Roe's famous scorecard mix-up cost him a shot at the 2003 Open Championship when he accidentally switched cards with Jesper Parnevik, and was therefore disqualified for signing for the wrong score. But that was nothing on Roberto de Vicenzo's blunder 35 years beforehand.

When Argentine star and reigning Open champion De Vicenzo birdied the 17th hole at the 1968 Masters he looked likely to win the tournament, and was guaranteed to at least make a play-off.

Sadly, playing partner Tommy Aaron had failed to notice his birdie, and marked him down for a four. De Vicenzo didn't check his card properly, and signed for a 66 instead of the 65 he should have had - and when Bob Goalby made a birdie elsewhere, De Vicenzo missed out on the play-off chance he had earned.

Kenny Perry collapses - 2009

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Kenny Perry's chip misses at the 2009 Masters

The 2009 Masters was all about Kenny Perry's final triumph: a long but generally undistinguished career had suddenly taken off as Perry entered his late 40s, the likeable journeyman suddenly finding a level in his game that he had never before approached. Augusta seemed certain to be his crowning glory as he game to the 17th tee with a two-shot lead.

Bogies on the last two holes put him into a play-off, but even then he seemed set to win the title as Angel Cabrera drove his ball into the trees and Chad Campbell also found trouble. That looked even more likely as Cabrera's recovery shot hit a tree, but from there he hit a nerveless long pitch below the hole and rolled in the putt for a par. A shaken Perry bogied the next play-off hole - his third bogey in four holes - and it was all over.

Hogan three-putts the last to lose -1946

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Ben Hogan

Ben Hogan would go on to become one of the greats of the game - but in 1946 it looked like he'd blown the best chance he would ever have to win a Major championship. He stood on the 18th green facing an 18ft putt for a birdie to win outright, knowing that even a simple two-putt would get him into a play-off. The birdie putt missed, and he left himself a tiddler - which, incredibly, he missed as well to hand the title to Herman Keiser.

Tiger crushes Monty - 1997

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Nick Faldo slips Tiger Woods into the Green Jacket for the first time

Nick Faldo slips Tiger Woods into the Green Jacket for the first time

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Heralded as the next big thing in golf after a stellar amateur career and two wins late in 1996 to secure his Tour card, Woods arrived at Augusta not as favourite, but with plenty of expectation. After a terrible opening nine of 40, it seemed the latest new wunderkind was another case of all talk and little action. But things changed spectacularly. Woods shot 30 on the back nine to leap into contention, then followed up with a second-round 66 to take the half-way lead.

His nearest challenger, just three shots back, was Colin Montgomerie, Europe's brightest star and a man who had already been a runner-up in two Majors. Would Monty put Tiger in his place, or would the young pretender prove that he was a legend in the making?

They were paid together in the third round - and for Monty, the experience was devastating as he slumped to a 74, nine shots worse than Woods's brilliant 65.

Tiger went on to produce a final 69 gave for a record 12-shot victory, while Monty ended up finishing 30th, and has only made four cuts at Augusta ever since.

Greg Norman crumbles against Faldo - 1996

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Greg Norman collapses as his eagle chip lips out on the 15th

The Great White Shark had been cruelly treated by Augusta, most notably with Larry Mize's 1987 chip-in (see below). But in 1996 it seemed that, even as his powers had begun to wane, Norman would finally don the Green Jacket. A course record-equalling 63 in the first round followed by two steady days had given him a six-shot lead, and it seemed inconceivable that he would fail to close out victory.

However, Augusta had one more cruel trick to play on Norman. He simply had a bad day at the office during his final round when good shots turned bad and bad shots turned awful. Nick Faldo had clawed back the six-shot deficit by the 13th as Norman crumbled to lose yet another Major.

Norman denied by Mize's miracle - 1987

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Larry Mize's incredible chip-in finds the cup on the second extra hole at the 1987 Masters

Greg Norman had led all four 1986 Majors going into the final round and, one-by-one, had seen all except The Open at Turnberry slip away. The worst had been that year's final Major, the US PGA Championship, when Bob Tway holed a bunker shot at the last to win by a shot.

So when Norman came to the second play-off hole a few months later, and local-born journeyman Larry Mize missed the 11th green by 20 yards, it seemed Norman would win his second Major.

Mize had other ideas. His wildly over-hit chip was rolling fast across the green and heading for the water beyond when it smacked into the pin and dropped for an outrageous birdie. For Norman it was a second consecutive Major to a shot holed from off the green.

Scott Hoch becomes Scott Choke - 1989

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Scott Hoch

Nick Faldo's final-round 65 got him into a play-off against American journeyman Scott Hoch, but the Englishman seemed to have blown it when he bogeyed the 10th, the first play-off hole.

But then fate stepped in: Hoch had left himself an 18-inch tap-in for par and victory, but blasted it past with a rush of blood. He actually did well to rap in the resulting four-footer for a bogey to continue the play-off, but Faldo birdied the next to win the Green Jacket. Hoch's putt remains the shortest ever missed to lose a Major in men's golf.

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