Tiger Woods, 2005
With three wins at Augusta already and Tiger at his peak, Woods was taking aim at not just another green jacket, but at Nicklaus’ 18 majors wins. After seeing his three-shot lead over Chris DiMarco shrink to one in the final round of the 2005 Masters, Woods pulled his tee shot on the par-three 16thhole long and left, missing the green entirely. Tiger was left with a chip that many believed would have him struggling to get up and down for par—then we all remembered he was Tiger Wood. The world number one’s ball trickled down from the top of the green only to hang onto the lip of the cup for what seemed like forever before finally dropping in. The chip shot gave Tiger a two-shot lead, which he needed every stroke as he bogeyed the last two holes to go into a playoff. Woods went on to birdie the first playoff hole and take the championship.
Phil Mickelson, 2010
Mickelson is widely known on the PGA Tour for being a gambling man. He has gambled and lost many times in his career, but in 2010 luck was on his side. He took a huge risk on the par-five 13thhole that ultimately led him to his third career green jacket. With a two-stroke lead, Mickelson hit his tee shot on the 13thhole into the woods where it sat behind a massive pine tree. Now, with a two-shot lead and a seemingly unplayable lie from over 200 yards, you’d think to lay up, take par and move on. But that’s not who Lefty is, he didn’t come there to lay up. Instead, he sent an unbelievable shot perfectly between two trees, over Rae’s Creek and onto the green, delivering one of the greatest shots in golf history. Mickelson ended up winning the tournament by three strokes.
Larry Mize, 1987
Augusta native Mize was a solid tour player prior to the 1987 Masters but few people gave Mize a chance when he went up against Greg Norman and Seve Ballesteros in a sudden-death play-off. The underdog had won only one previous event on the PGA Tour and was facing two-time Masters champion Ballesteros and the number one player in the world at the time, Norman. Ballesteros was knocked out after three-putting the par-four 10thhole, while Mize and Norman both two-putted for par. On the par-four 11th, when Mize’s approach shot missed the green, it looked like Norman would easily take the victory. Then Mize did the unthinkable. He holed his chip for birdie, which forced Norman to make a lengthy birdie putt, that came up short. Mize had won the Masters and the picture of him throwing his club into the air when the ball dropped in the cup says it all.
Bubba Watson, 2012
Wild Card? Absolutely. Bubba Watson, the man that’s never had a lesson in his life, made one of the most incredible shots in the history of the Masters. Bubba was faced with what looked like an impossible par-save from deep within the trees on the 10thhole. From 163 yards out, Bubba send a Hail Mary hook around fans, and multiple trees landing it within 15 feet of the hole he couldn’t even see. This shot from Bubba resulted in a two-putt par on the second hole of a playoff with Luis Oosthusizen. It was the hook shot heard around the world that gave Bubba Watson his first green jacket.
Jack Nicklaus, 1986
Tiger Woods broke the record for the youngest Masters champion in 1997, but the Golden Bear broke the record for oldest Masters champion in 1986. Both records still stand to this day. Nicklaus had a record 18 Majors championships winning six of them at Augusta, saving his best for last. In one of the greatest tournaments in golf history, Nicklaus came from behind to beat Seve Ballesteros, Tom Kite, Greg Norman, and Nick Price who were some of the best golfers ever. Nicklaus went eagle-birdie-birdie from holes 15 to 17 in this Sunday finish nail-biter. He was near level par on the front nine, but made incredible shots to card a 30 on the back nine and take the win.
Tiger Woods, 2019
There was a buzz leading up to this week that MAYBE it was Tiger Woods who would once again throw on another Green Jacket—something he hadn’t done since 2005. He hadn’t won a Major since 2008 and many thought he might never win one again. That all changed last year. Woods came from behind on the back nine of Sunday (could you even write a better script?) for the first time ever in a major to snag his 5th Green Jacket. The hug with his son, Charlie, 22 years after he first hugged his dad at Augusta was an absolutely surreal moment for golf fans everywhere.