We take a look back at the highs and lows of the last 6 Masters Tournaments from Mickelson's heroics in 2010 to McIlroy's meltdown the following year
2014 Watson’s Back
Last year the US Masters threw up an intriguing final day dual between Bubba Watson and Jordan Spieth. The front nine saw both players making birdies and bogeys and we looked set for a rollercoaster afternoon as the lead consistently changed hands.
However, it was 2012 champ Watson who pulled away with a timely birdie at the par-5 13th after a whopping 366-yard drive left just a wedge approach.
His birdie gave him a three shot lead that, in truth, he held on to with ease. It was Watson’s second win in three years but perhaps the surprise package of the day, and indeed the tournament was Spieth. The young American showed not only the skill but also the fight to content in the biggest of arenas.
Both Spieth and Watson will surely begin their 2015 campaigns as likely contenders once again.
2013 The First Australian Champion
Adam Scott became the first Australian to win the Masters in 2013 beating Angel Cabrera on the second extra play-off hole.
Scott was always in the running on an action packed final day, with the lead changing hands between compatriot Jason Day, Cabrera and overnight leader Brandt Snedeker as well as Scott himself.
Both Scott and Cabrera showed their fight with birdies at the 72nd hole and after parring the first extra hole, it was Scott who claimed victory with a birdie at the 10th that followed a near miss from the ‘09 champion.
The 2012 Masters will forever be remembered for a single shot. After pulling his drive into the right hand trees on the second play-off hole against Louis Oosthuizen, Bubba Watson looked dead and buried.
Surely a chip back out onto the fairway was his only option…
But the University of Georgia graduate hit the most incredible of recovery shots, hooking his wedge (the most difficult club in the back to shape so violently) around the trees. The ball checked and span close to the hole on landing leaving the American a short putt for his first major title.
He duly converted leaving Oosthuizen scratching his head at the skill of his opponent.
2011 McIlroy Meltdown
Charl Schwartzel may have won the 2011 Masters but the story of the day belonged to Rory McIlroy and it stands out among the last 6 Masters as perhaps the most dramatic.
The 21 year-old Northern Irishman began the day with a four shot lead but after a difficult front nine, his game imploded as he reached Amen Corner.
McIlroy looked to have lost his nerve during a final round 80 that saw him finish the tournament a whopping 10 shots behind Schwartzel.
For the South African, it couldn’t have been a more different story. His four birdies on the final four holes provided an electric finish that saw him defeat Jason Day and Adam Scott by two shots.
2010 Fortune Favours The Brave
As with Watson’s win in 2012, Phil Mickelson too provided a stunning shot at a crucial moment that turned the tide in his favour during the 2010 Masters.
Having pulled his drive on the 13th and seemingly snookered behind a tree, the American took on a shot that few in the same position would have dared.
Mickelson’s attacking instincts paid off as his approach from the pine needles finished just 6 feet from the hole. Despite missing the putt, this birdie was a crucial blow to Lee Westwood – the two having been locked at the top of the leaderboard for much of the preceding 18 holes.
For Westwood, this was another near miss in a career that has become defined by his record in the Major tournaments. The Worksop man’s defensive golf in a solid if unspectacular round of 71 was a stark contrast to the aggressive approach of his opponent.
This Masters was also notable as it marked the return to competitive golf of Tiger Woods. Emerging back into the public eye after the scandal that broke at the end of 2009, Woods couldn’t have hoped for a better reception. Through the week, the Augusta fans showed their affection for the then world number one and he astonished many seasoned observers by beating the odds and finishing tied for fourth.
2009 The Unlikely Trio
As it is the only major that returns to the same venue every year, the Masters often throws up the same likely contenders during the closing holes. Not in 2009!
A great triumvirate of Kenny Perry, Chad Cambell and Angel Cabrera took part in one of the most exciting play-offs in recent memory.
It was the veteran Argentinean – winner of the ’08 US Open – who took the title on the second extra hole with a par, after Perry had missed the green with his approach and failed to get up and down. Campbell, the first round leader, was eliminated on the first extra hole after he missed a four-foot putt to save par.
Indeed it was Kenny Perry who was left reeling at the end of a topsy turvey final day. He looked nailed on to become the oldest ever player to win the Masters but as the finish line-loomed, so his chipping game dismantled leaving Cabrera to take the spoils.