Masters 2012: 10 Most Memorable Moments in Championship Sunday History

Scott Semmler@@ScottSemmler22Analyst IIApril 7, 2012

Masters 2012: 10 Most Memorable Moments in Championship Sunday History

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    Taking a look back at the most memorable moments from The Masters tournament, they seemed to be centered around two people: the struggles of Greg Norman and the vintage Tiger Woods.

    No one can deny Woods has earned several spots on this list of the greatest shots in Masters history, and no one can deny that Norman's meltdowns opened up opportunities for classic moments that will never be duplicated.

    In the same manner, both players have made Masters history one way or another, which has made The Masters tournament that much more exciting to watch.

    The Masters tournament brings out the best of golfers because it joins the greatest players in the game with pressure and the possibility to either succeed or fail in the most crucial of moments.

    As fans of the game, those two scenarios cannot become more entertaining to watch.

10. Sandy Lyle's Bunker Shot on the 18th Hole

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    When a shot goes down as arguably the greatest shot in a major tournament in golf history, it is quite an honor, and Sandy Lyle holds that title with his shot on the 18th hole in the 1988 Masters tournament.

    With a par to tie and birdie to win, Lyle hit his one-iron tee shot into a fairway bunker.  He then followed it up with one of the best shots ever hit on the 18th hole, a partly blind shot at the difficult green, which he hit to within 18 feet.

    He would go on to make that putt and win the Masters.

    Lyle became the first British winner of The Masters and now holds a place in the history books and hearts of so many who watched him hit arguably the greatest clutch golf shot the Masters has ever seen.

9. Gene Sarazen Makes Double-Eagle on 15th Hole

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    It happened so long ago that it sometimes does not get the credit it deserves, but Gene Sarazen's double-eagle on the 15th hole of The Masters is right up there with some of the best shots a major tournament has ever seen.

    Sarazen was looking at a 220-yard shot into the green at the par-4 15th. He would end up holing out, which put him into position to make a move at the top of the leaderboard.

    As it stood, he would go into a playoff with Craig Wood, who Sarazen would ultimately beat.  Without the shot on the 15th hole, he would have never had a chance at contending that year at The Masters.

    It was the first double-eagle ever recorded at The Masters.

8. Rory McIlroy's Meltdown on the 10th Hole

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    Video here

    For how young he was in 2011 (just 21 years old at the time), his shot on the 10th hole of the 2011 Masters tournament may go down as one of the worst of all time.

    With his confidence up and the tournament in his hands, McIlroy started the final back nine of The Masters tournament with a substantial lead.  After his botched shot into the trees and a nearby home, McIlroy pitched out, then fumbled his way to a triple bogey.

    He started Sunday at Augusta with a four-stroke lead and finished with an 80, which was well out of the lead.

    The spot in the trees will always be known as the spot to where McIlroy hit his ball with the Masters victory in his grasp.

    In the end, it was just another final-round collapse at Augusta National. 

7. Greg Norman Collapse in 1996

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    As previously mentioned, Greg Norman has several spots on the most memorable moment list at The Masters, but none of them are good.

    Norman entered the final round at Augusta with a six-stroke lead, and even said he was "totally in control" of the tournament.

    He would lose that lead in the first 11 holes to Nick Faldo, who would ultimately win by shooting a five-under 67.

    The moment was after his debacle on the ninth hole, followed by his three-putt on 11 and the mistakes on 12.  Norman had just birdied the 13th hole and had a good shot to chip-in at the 14th hole for eagle to get back into the hunt when his chip barely missed the hole and flew past.

    At that point, it seemed like everything had gone wrong for Norman, who then botched the 16th hole to sum up his tragic day.

6. Larry Mize Chips in to Win the 1987 Masters

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    Another Greg Norman memory here, although you cannot blame him for this one.

    With Norman and Larry Mize in a playoff to decide the champion, the two played the 11th hole, which was the fourth playoff hole as the sun was setting in Georgia.

    Norman had the clear advantage as he was on the green in two with a 40-foot birdie putt coming up. Mize, who came up well short of the green, was still 45 yards away from the pin going for birdie.

    Mize would send his pitch shot into the hole to which he celebrated by jumping in the air, while Norman and his caddie looked on in disbelief.

    Norman was forced to make his 40-foot birdie putt, which flew past the hole.

5. Phil Mickelson

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    Most people recognize this moment as the one that took Mickelson's career to the next level, as far as being one of the better golfers alive.

    Before this putt, he was known as the choker in majors, but that all turned once he won The Masters in 2004.

    Mickelson needed an 18-foot birdie putt to drop on the 18th hole to win the tournament, and he did so in the ultimate fashion.  

    The look on his face paired with the leap in the air with both hands up sums up Mickelson's personality and thrill at winning The Masters and getting over that hump in a major tournament.

4. Jack Nicklaus Sinks Putt on the 17th Hole in 1986

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    In a 1986 Masters tournament that was packed with talent like Tom Watson, Nick Price and Seve Ballesteros, Nicklaus bested them all by making a late charge on the back nine at Augusta, carding a 30 to win the tournament.

    The key moment was the putt on the 17th hole, with which he stuck his putter in the air almost calling his putt to go in, which it did in emphatic fashion.  

    That was Nicklaus' first lead of the final round, which he started at four strokes back, and he would not give it up on the 18th hole.

3. Tiger Woods Wins 1997 Masters in Landslide

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    It was amazing to watch Rory McIlroy win the U.S. Open in a landslide in 2011, but he was only copying what Woods had done just 14 years earlier at the Masters.

    Woods smashed the field, winning by 12 strokes, the largest margin of victory in a Masters tournament,  as well as becoming the youngest players ever to win the tournament.

    It was Woods' celebration and embrace with his father moments after he had won that really summed up what it meant to Woods and his family.

2. Phil Mickelson from the Trees in 2010

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    With the tournament on the line and momentum in his favor, Mickelson hit his drive into the trees and pine needles on the par-5 13th hole.

    Most assumed he would lay up on the hole and look to make par on such an important hole.  What Mickelson did still perplexes people, as he pulled out a six iron and bombed his second shot over the creek and onto the green to within 15 feet for eagle.

    Mickelson would go on to miss the putt and make birdie, but it is still one of the most ill-advised and glorious shots The Masters has ever seen.

1. Tiger Woods' Chip-in on 16th Hole

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    There are not many moment in sports history that can rival what Woods did on the 16th hole at Augusta National.

    In the middle of a heated race down the back nine with Chris DiMarco, Woods was in a terrible position on the side of the 16th green with not much room for error.  We can see him line up the chip nearly 20 feet left of the hole and hoping to guess the correct speed on such a gentle chip as that.

    The spin here was the most important, as Woods was able to gather the ball at the just the right position atop the hill and nudging it down towards the hole.

    The Nike logo flashed as the ball paused before falling into the hole, and the greatest moment in golf and the Masters tournament was born.