There are 25 days until we kick off the 2019 version of The Tradition Unlike Any Other, The Masters Tournament played over Bobby Jones, Alister Mackenzie and Clifford Roberts masterpiece the Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta Georgia. To get everyone in the mood for it I will countdown to the great tournament going over the top 25 moments in the tournament’s history. Including the good the bad and the ugly.
No. 25 (1991) Ian Woosnam
Throughout the ’80s and ’90s, the grounds of Augusta National were dominated by a European Invasion over those two decades, seven European Golfers combined to win eleven of the twenty tournaments. While Europe was dominating the golf world the one man who was often overlooked was a 5’4 man from Wales named Ian Woosnam. Despite routinely being the highest ranked golfer in the OWGR from across the pond he could never break through and win a Major. That all changed when he made the drive down Magnolia Lane in April of 1991.
Woosnam started his tournament with an Even Par, 72 that left him five shots off the first round lead held by a threesome of Jim Gallacher Jr. Mark McCumber, and Lanny Wadkins. He then caught fire on Friday and Saturday shooting -6, 66 on Friday and following it up with a -5, 67 on Saturday to take the lead going into the final round by one over two-time champion Tom Watson. As Sunday began Woosnam and Watson were joined in battle by Ben Crenshaw, Jose Maria Olazabal, Steve Pate, and Wadkins. Pate opened his round nine shots off the lead but he made two early birdies and an eagle on the Par Five eighth to enter the fray. He followed up his -4 front nine, with a -3 back nine with birdies at 13, 15 and 17 to finish the tournament at -9, 279. Wadkins picked up an early birdie at the second hole but faltered with a double bogey on the fifth and from there he could never quite regain momentum finishing at -9 with Pate. Crenshaw started his day six off the lead birdied two, bogeyed four, then played three under golf from there on in caped by an Eagle at fifteen.
Olazabal birdied three of his first seven holes before bogeying three straight from 8-10. Meanwhile, Woosnman was all over the place he somehow managed a -1 front nine with three birdies and two bogeys. Watson turned in a +1 front nine with two bogeys on one and five with a lone birdie at two. Woosnam’s lead was three over Watson and four over Olazabal who was one group ahead as the final group made the turn for home. A poor tee shot cost Woosnam a stroke as he bogeyed the tenth while Watson made a birdie, and Olazabal steadied himself with a Par at the brutal eleventh. Watson appeared to shoot himself out of contention as he found the water on both eleven and twelve leading to a bogey, and a double. Woosnam pared both holes as up ahead on thirteen Olazabal made a birdie. Woosnam stood on the 13th tee box four shots clear of Watson and three of Olazabal. It was his tournament to lose…until he put his tee shot on the 13th into Rae’s Creek, which led to a bogey while Watson rebounded with an incredible Eagle, and Olazabal up ahead made another at 14 and just like that Woosnam’s lead was down to one over the two of them. Both Woosnam and Watson Pared 14, while Olazabal picked up his third straight birdie at the 15th and tied Woosnam for the lead. Watson made another Eagle at 15, Woosnam limited the damage by making a birdie of his own. The three warriors were tied for the lead with three holes to play.
All three pared the Par 3, 16th and all pared the Par 4, 17th. Olazabal ahead of the other two was first to play the 18th. His tee shot found a fairway bunker, and he put his 2nd shot in the front left greenside bunker. As Olazabal assessed his bunker shot, Watson and Woosnam stepped to the tee, Watson hit a poor tee shot into the right woods. While Woosnam hit a massive tee shot that cleared the fairway bunker. Olazabal up by the green had a long uphill bunker shot the hardest shot in golf. Predictably he left it short and failed to make his long par putt he finished a -10 (278) and needed to hope that both Watson and Woosnam faltered behind him. Watson tried to pull off a miraculous escape from the pine straw that came up just a few yards short of perfection as he found the same bunker as Olazabal did. Woosnam came up short with his 2nd shot but left it in a place where he could putt at it about 60ft below the hole. Watson was not going to make the same mistake as Olazabal he hit his bunker shot too hard and blew it 25ft past the flag. Woosnam hit his putt seven feet by the hole, two putts by two great players with everything on the line. Watson blew his Par Putt by the hole and missed his bogey putt coming back ending his chances he finished in a tie for 3rd at -9 (279) It was down to a 7ft par putt for Woosnam to decide whether he would slip the Green Jacket on his shoulders to have to fight Olazabal in a playoff. It was downhill it was right to left, and it was right in the center of the hole Woosnman made the biggest Par Putt of his life and finally had a Major Championship. 1990 Champion Nick Faldo helped him into his green jacket and a little amateur from San Diego you may know him as Phil Mickelson was honored as the tournament’s Low Amateur.