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9 Memorable Disasters at The Masters

By: | Mon 08 Apr 2024

You can take nothing for granted at Augusta National. No lead is ever big enough, with potential disaster lurking around almost every corner.

I have watched more Masters tournaments than I care to remember and I have witnessed many meltdowns over the years. Here are a few that stick in my mind - and it was only when I was compiling this list that I realised just how many challenges have come to grief at the par-three 12th.

The Masters 12th Hole

Rory McIlroy, 2011 Masters

The Northern Irishman entered the final round with a four-shot lead. He made a shaky start but the wheels really came off at the par-four 10th when he snap-hooked his tee shot. What followed was a comedy of errors that all added up to an horrific triple bogey seven. Two holes later he took four putts on the 12th...

Tiger Woods, 2020 Masters

The 15-time major champion returned to Augusta as defending champion. Suffice to say, things did not go to plan. During a round of 76, Woods tangled with the par-three 12th, as many have done before. He hit three shots into the water, then found a bunker and finally two-putted for a scarcely believable 10.

Jordan Spieth, 2016 Masters

Spieth is another defending Masters champion to come to grief in spectacular fashion. He seemed to be cruising towards a successful title defence until he also fell victim to the treacherous par-three 12th. He hit his tee shot into the water. He took a drop under penalty and then, unbelievably, duffed his next shot, finding the water again. He finally walked off the green after taking seven blows. His race was run and Danny Willett would take advantage to claim the Green Jacket.

Sergio Garcia, 2018 Masters

Yet another defending champion. And another embarrassing disaster. He came to the par-five 15th hole in the first round and had to lay up with his second shot. His approach hit the green, spun back and finished in the water. He dropped another ball and did the same thing again. And another. And another. Incredibly, the Spaniard found the water five times and signed for a 13, equalling the worst score on a single hole at The Masters.

Tom Weiskopf, 1980 Masters

Out of all the disasters at the 12th hole, Tom Weiskopf's might be the worst of the lot. He hit five balls into the water during the first round of the 1980 Masters. It all added up to a catastrophic 13 - the highest-ever score on the hole and tied for the highest in tournament history. For Weiskopf it was just another bitter blow at a tournament where he finished second four times.

Francesco Molinari, 2019 Masters

The Italian was the reigning Open champion and was riding high. Over a period of 18 months it seemed like he contended every time he teed it up - and the 2019 Masters was no exception. He started the final round on Sunday with a two-shot lead and looked poised to win his second career major. But it all fell apart at the 12th when he put his ball in the water en route to a ruinous double bogey. Molinari wasn't the only contender to find the water, though. So did Brooks Koepka, Ian Poulter and Tony Finau. All this helped clear the way for Tiger Woods to take control of the tournament on the back nine and win his fifth career Masters title.

Dan Forsman, 1993 Masters

A charge on the final day saw Dan Forsman close to one shot behind leader Bernhard Langer. It was unaccustomed territory for the American. He boarded the 12th tee to a standing ovation but his bubble burst pretty quickly as he dumped two balls in the water, took seven shots and tumbled down the leaderboard.

Greg Norman, 1996 Masters

Amid his Sunday disaster, the 12th hole marked the first time since the opening round that Greg Norman, who had a six-shot lead entering the final round, did not lead The Masters. Norman's double-bogey five included a tee shot into the water, a day after his ball stayed on the bank at the same hole. Norman wouldn't lead again, finishing second to Nick Faldo during an agonising day that saw an 11-shot turnaround at the top of the leaderboard.

Roberto De Vicenzo, 1968 Masters

The disaster here was actually perpetrated by Tommy Aaron. He was playing with Argentina’s Roberto De Vicenzo and was marking his card. At the 71st hole, De Vicenzo holed a birdie putt to take a one-shot lead over Bob Goalby. He then dropped a shot at the final hole and was heartbroken because he thought he was heading to a playoff. But that was nothing when reality hit home - Aaron had marked the Argentinian for a par on the 17th and De Vicenzo had signed the card. It meant that he ended up losing by a shot.

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Tags: the masters Masters Augusta National

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