The Masters that never fade

  • Last Updated: April 8 2013, 16:45 BST

Phil Casey remembers his favourite five US Masters including Jack Nicklaus' stunning comeback win of 1986.

Jack Nicklaus: Celebrates his stunning win in 1986

1 - 1986, Jack Nicklaus
Nicklaus was 46 years old, had not won a tournament in two years or a major in six, and was being written off as a spent force. But the Golden Bear produced one more back-nine charge in the 50th Masters, coming home in 30 for a final round of 65 to beat Greg Norman and Tom Kite by a single shot. Nicklaus went eagle-birdie-birdie on the 15th, 16th and 17th as Seve Ballesteros squandered the lead by hitting his approach to the 15th into the water short of the green.

2 - 1997, Tiger Woods
Kite was again the runner-up 11 years later, but this time by an incredible 12 shots as Woods tore up the record books to claim his first major title. That had looked distinctly unlikely as the 21-year-old played the front nine of his opening round in 40, but he came back in 30 to lie just three shots off the lead. A second-round 66 took Woods three clear of Colin Montgomerie, a lead he extended to nine shots after round three and a record 12 after a closing 69 made him the youngest ever winner at Augusta.

3 - 2004, Phil Mickelson
"I don't think any Masters will ever compare to the '86 Masters but, for me, this one does." That was the verdict of an emotional Mickelson after he had broken his major duck at the 47th time of asking. Mickelson had shared the lead with Chris Di Marco heading into the final round, but struggled to a front-nine 38 before a brilliant back nine of 31, culminating in a decisive birdie on the 18th, was enough to beat Ernie Els by a shot after the South African's excellent 67.

4 - 1995, Ben Crenshaw
At 43, Crenshaw was not quite as old as Nicklaus in 1986, but his second Masters title in 1995 was equally remarkable and emotional. Harvey Penick, who was Crenshaw's golf coach since he was seven years old, had died the week before and Crenshaw spent the Tuesday of Masters week at Penick's funeral in Austin, Texas. The image of Crenshaw doubled over in grief and happiness after his final putt dropped - he did not have a single three-putt in 72 holes - has become an iconic Augusta image.

5 - 1996, Nick Faldo
Greg Norman had finished third behind Crenshaw in 1995, but it was the manner of his second place finish to Nick Faldo the following year which was memorable for all the wrong reasons. Norman led from the outset after an opening 63, the joint lowest score ever in a major championship and only the second 63 ever at Augusta, and after adding rounds of 69 and 71 he was six shots clear of Faldo heading into the final round. However, his lead was down to two shots by the turn and a back nine of 40 - despite two birdies - meant a closing 78 to Faldo's 67 and a five-shot winning margin for the Englishman.


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