The Nelson Bridge commemorates one of the most dramatic fightbacks in Masters history
The Nelson Bridge at Augusta National
The Nelson Bridge at Augusta National, home to the US Masters, is made of stone and crosses Rae’s Creek just upstream from the Hogan Bridge.
These two bridges in Amen Corner were dedicated on the same day – April 2, 1958 – and thereby became the second and third dedicated bridges at Augusta National.
The Sarazen Bridge had been dedicated on April 6, 1955.
There is a plaque in the ground that players pass as they are about to cross the Nelson Bridge. It reads:
“This bridge was dedicated April 2, 1958, to commemorate Byron Nelson’s spectacular play on these two holes (12-13) when he scored 2-3 to pick up six strokes on Ralph Guldahl and win the 1937 Masters Tournament. In recognition also to Guldahl, who came back with an eagle 3 on 13 to gain winning position in 1939.”
That US Masters win in 1937 was the first of Nelson’s six Major titles. He had gone into the final round four shots behind Guldahl. Nelson had led after the first two rounds, after scores of 66 and 72, but faltered in the third round with a 75 to Guldahl’s 68.
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In the final round Nelson made a long putt on 12 for a birdie, and then on 13 chipped in from off the green for an eagle.
It may be slightly ungallant to mention it, but Nelson would not have won the tournament on these holes had Guldhal not had a nightmare on the 12th with a triple bogey 6, and then followed it up with a bogey on 13. Nelson may have made 3 shots up on par, but Guldahl lost four.
This gap proved too large to, ahem, ‘bridge’ and Nelson finished the tournament two shots better than runner-up Guldhal. Ralph Guldahl was to win his only Masters title in 1939.
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