With the start of the 2017 US Masters just over a week away, golfing fans from all over the globe will be clearing their schedules from Thursday the 6th to Sunday April 9th, in anticipation for one of the game’s greatest spectacles.
Augusta National has played host to some of the greatest, most dramatic duels ever witnessed, throughout the years. The plethora of great names who have graced the famous plot of hallowed turf in Eastern Georgia is something to behold in itself. Bobby Jones, Walter Hagen, Sam Sneed, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Tom Watson, Tiger Woods…the list is endless.
Despite the ever-endearing memories of some of the most spectacular shots ever hit at Augusta, there have been just as many heartbreaking stories, with painful endings. Die-hard golf fans have always been addicted to the drama of the game, not just the scintillating golf on display.
However it is spun, there is something mesmeric about watching one of the world’s best players collapse and gradually go into Kamikaze mode. Here are three of the greatest meltdowns ever witnessed on Augusta’s rolling hills:
Greg Norman, 1996:
The Australian entered the final round of the ’96 Masters with a six stroke lead over Nick Faldo. He eventually crumbled under the relentless pressure of the Englishman, however, and subsequently lost by five shots, with Faldo’s 67 eclipsing Norman’s score by 11 shots on the day.
Rory McIlroy, 2011:
The Northern Irishman was just a 21-year-old man when he entered the final round of the 2011 Masters with a four shot lead over four separate players, including Jason Day and Charl Schwartzel. He began nervously, and by the time he reached the 11th tee he had already squandered his lead.
The tournament became synonymous with his triple-bogey seven on the 10th and his four-putt double-bogey on the 12th. Fortunately for McIlroy, he has gone on to win four major championships, although his wait for a green jacket continues to rumble on.
Jordan Spieth, 2016:
Never had a young man looked as assured as the Dallas-born then 22-year-old did last year…until the 12th hole of the final round.
Spieth led by five shots after his scintillating front nine, but soon came a cropper, after an encounter with Rae’s creek, which led to a quadruple bogey seven. He eventually lost by three shots to Danny Willett.
Vegas favorites for this Masters:
Next week, the golfing population will surely be served up with another treat, and don’t be surprised to see even more drama than there was on display last year.
And in what will be the first Masters since the passing of the great Arnold Palmer, wouldn’t it just be fitting to see someone win the green jacket through their own swashbuckling, cavalier play, rather than another player handing it over.