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The Masters: 10 Most Memorable Shots

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The Masters, which begins on Thursday, never fails to deliver shots to remember, which generate roars from the crowd at Augusta National Golf Club.

This year will no doubt provide more shots that fall into that category and more thunderous roars. Most likely they will come during the back nine on Sunday, when, as the saying goes, the tournament truly begins.

Here are 10 examples, in chronological order, of sensational shots by players who walked away with the title — and, since 1949, the coveted green jacket.

There’s no film of the shot that ranks as the greatest of all. That’s unfortunate.

The Masters wasn’t known as the Masters then; it was the Augusta National Invitation Tournament and in only its second year.

In the final round, Sarazen was trailing Craig Wood by three strokes. On No. 15, a par 5, Sarazen hit a 4-wood from about 230 yards away. The ball dropped into the cup for an incredible double eagle. Just like that, he was tied with Wood.

Sarazen beat Wood by five shots the next day in a 36-hole playoff.

After making a long birdie putt on No. 17 to tie Ken Venturi, who had completed play, Palmer needed another birdie on the last hole to capture his second Masters title in three years.

Mission accomplished.

He nailed a 6-iron from the fairway to within five feet of the pin and then converted the putt.

Palmer prevailed again at Augusta National in 1962 and in 1964, winning the last of his seven majors.

His tee shot at No. 16, a par 3, in the final round wasn’t what he was looking for, with the ball coming to a rest about 40 feet from the cup. He would, in all likelihood, get his par, but still trail the leader, Tom Weiskopf, by a shot.

Forget about the par.

Nicklaus knocked in the uphill putt for a birdie, lifting his putter in the air to celebrate. After Weiskopf and Johnny Miller missed their birdie attempts at 18, Nicklaus won his fifth green jacket.

Nicklaus, 46, was making an unexpected run on Sunday when he faced a second shot at the risk/reward 15th hole.

The risk was worth the reward.

From 202 yards away, he hit a 4-iron over the pond to about 12 feet from the pin.

He converted the eagle putt and followed with birdies at 16 and 17 to win by a stroke. For Nicklaus, who fired a final-round 65 (30 on the back nine), it was his sixth Masters title and 18th, and final, major championship.

When a sudden-death playoff got underway, Mize was not the favorite. His opponents were Greg Norman and Seve Ballesteros, future Hall of Famers.

Yet it was Mize, an Augusta native, who came through, chipping in from about 140 feet on No. 11, the second playoff hole, to outduel Norman. Ballesteros, in pursuit of his third green jacket, had dropped out after a bogey on the first playoff hole.

Mize went on to win only two more PGA Tour events.

After hitting his drive on No. 18 into the bunker, Lyle needed a par to move to a playoff with Mark Calcavecchia, who was already in the clubhouse.

From 150 yards away, Lyle, who couldn’t see the flag, proceeded to hit a magnificent 7-iron, the ball trickling down the hill to stop about 10 feet from the pin.

Lyle, of Scotland, made the birdie putt to become the first player from the United Kingdom to win the Masters.

The tournament seemed destined for the first sudden-death playoff since 1990.

O’Meara, who was tied with David Duval and Fred Couples, was lining up a 20-foot birdie putt on the final hole.

There would be no playoff.

O’Meara, who had started the day two shots back, knocked it in for his first major title. He won his second major a few months later in the British Open.

Without question, Mickelson’s 6-iron from the pine straw on No. 13 in 2010 deserves to be on the list, but his birdie on the final hole in 2004 also stands out.

Tied with Ernie Els, Mickelson hit his approach to 18 feet from the hole. A playoff appeared to be a strong possibility, and similar to O’Meara in 1998, Mickelson, 33, was in search of his first major triumph. He had finished second three times.

Jim Nantz, the CBS anchor, said it best as the ball edged toward the cup.

“Is it his time? … Yes.”

Leading in the final round by only one, Woods was in trouble after his 8-iron to No. 16 missed the green to the left. He had to aim about 25 feet from the cup to catch the slope at the perfect spot.

He found the perfect spot, and the ball stayed on the edge of the cup for a second or two before tumbling in for a miraculous birdie.

Woods secured his fourth green jacket on the first playoff hole against Chris DiMarco.

Watson, on the second playoff hole against Louis Oosthuizen, sent his tee shot into the pine straw on the right.

Advantage: Oosthuizen. Not for long.

Watson managed to hook his wedge shot to about 15 feet from the cup. He finished with a par, earning the first of his two Masters victories when Oosthuizen made a bogey.

“As an athlete, as a golfer,” Watson told reporters at the time, “this is the Mecca. This is what we strive for — to put on the green jacket.”

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