Greg Norman had his share of Major disappointments, especially at Augusta
So, I’m putting together my picks for Fantasy Golf this week, plodding through the multitude of stats trying to steer myself away from my emotional favorites. It’s become clear though, that with respect to the Masters, there needs to be a “choke-ability” stat given the amount of Sunday collapse’s witnessed over the years. To wit:
1946: Herman Kaiser led by one going into 18 with Hogan 1 back, Kaiser three putted for a bogey….but so did Hogan!
1954 Hogan was leading the tournament, found water on both 13 and 15, but made the playoff. Amateur Billy Joe Patton hit the water for a double bogey on 13, and a bogey on 15 to get into the playoff, but both lost to Sam Snead.
1956 Amateur Ken Venturi had a four stroke lead going into Sunday, gives up the Jacket to Jackie Burke Jr by shooting 80 in the final round.
1961 Arnold Palmer, needing only a par at 18, hits into the bunker for a double bogey to loose to Gary Player
1962 Palmer had a two stroke lead going into Sunday, ballooned to a 75, but won in the playoff with Dow Finsterwald and Gary Player
1971 Johnny Miller stood at the 15th with a two stroke lead. As he’s recounted, “I started thinking about how I was going to look in that Green Jacket, and the next thing I know they’re putting it on Charlie Coody”
1978 Hubert Green missed a three footer at 18 to make a playoff with Gary Player
1979 Ed Sneed, with a 3 shot lead going into 16, bogeyed the last three holes to end up in a playoff and loosing with Fuzzy Zoeller, who won his first time out at Augusta.
1980: Tom Weiskoph in a Tin Cup moment, put 5 balls in the water at 12 to card a 13
1985 Curtis Strange with a three shot lead went for the greens at 13 and 15, finding water both times, and missed winning by two strokes
1986 The year of the immaculate comeback of 46 year old Jack Nicklaus, Greg Norman had a chance at 18, but missed the green, and couldn’t get up and down. Seve Ballesteros snap hooked one into Rae’s Creek at 15 as the roars from the Golden Bear’s charge distracted him. Tom Kite fell to his knees at the 18th green after his putt to tie lipped the cup.
1987 Greg Norman lipped the cup on 18 to win, but then lost in the second hole of the playoff when Larry Mize chipped in from 40 yards.
1989 Scott Hoch bogeyed 17, then missed a short birdie putt at 18 to win, which forced a playoff, then three-putted from 2 1/2 feet on the first hole in the playoff to loose to Nick Faldo
1996 Greg Norman started the day with a 6 shot lead, shot 78 and lost by 5 to Nick Faldo.
2003 Jeff Maggert while with a 2 shot lead on Sunday morning had two-2 stroke penalties in bunkers at the 3rd and the 12th, and finished five strokes back of Mike Weir.
2005 Billy Casper carded a 14 with 5 balls in the water at 16 , didn’t turn in his scorecard, if he had the 106 would have been the worst score ever recorded at the Masters.
2011 Rory McIlory with a four shot lead on Sunday morning shot an 80 while bouncing one off the Peek Cabin on #10.
This history of disasters on the back nine on Sunday define ”Amen Corner” and may have persuaded Chip Beck to lay up on 15 at 236 yards out when he needed to make up 3 shots to catch Bernhard Langer in 1993, ending up four shots back. Everyone it seems is subject to their own demons as well as what Augusta National can throw at you while negotiating the back nine on Sunday, when the tournament really begins.
It’s guaranteed there will be drama and more history made on Sunday afternoon at the Masters. If it were up to Alister McKenzie though, who designed Augusta National, there would be no water on the backside on Sunday, no Amen Corner, and likely a much different history than we have today. His original design showed the nines reversed!