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Posted April 2, 2015, 1:24 am
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Throwback Thursday: Tiger's 2005 Masters win

 

A pesky underdog. Spectacular shots galore. And the final competitive round in Augusta for a legend.

The 2005 Masters Tournament had it all, even bad weather that plagued the first two rounds.

Chris DiMarco, who first made a splash at Augusta National Golf Club when he challenged as a rookie in 2001, was on top again. The former Florida star opened with a pair of 67s to open up a comfortable lead.

Tiger Woods, meanwhile, was trying to regain his spot at the top of the game, both figuratively and literally. A streak of not winning in his last 10 majors combined with a swing overhaul with new coach Hank Haney had knocked Woods from his customary perch atop the Official World Golf Ranking.

A first-round 74 didn’t help Woods, nor did the weather delays that pushed the opening round into Friday.

Woods got back on track in the second round with 6-under-par 66, the low round of the day. But it still left him six shots behind the surprising DiMarco.

Saturday was a day to remember. With the second round wrapping up that morning because of the weather delays, six-time Masters winner Jack Nicklaus announced that he was done as a competitor.

Later that afternoon, when the third round finally began, DiMarco and Woods were paired together. Woods birded Nos. 7, 8 and 9, his final three holes of the day, to cap a front-nine 31 and pull within four of DiMarco.

Nobody else was close to DiMarco and Woods, and that didn’t change when the third round was completed Sunday morning. What did change was Woods overtaking DiMarco for the lead.

Woods birdied Nos. 10 through 13 to continue his hot streak and match the tournament record with seven consecutive birdies. Meanwhile, DiMarco struggled and shot 41 on the back nine. Woods had turned a four-shot deficit into a three-shot lead.

While most figured it would be another Sunday afternoon stroll for Woods, DiMarco wasn’t about to give up. He matched Woods’ 34 on the front nine, and then the real fun began.

DiMarco made up two shots over the next six holes and trailed by just one coming into the par-3 16th hole. When he hit the green and Woods’ tee shot sailed long, DiMarco had the advantage.

But not for long.

Woods played his chip well above the hole, then watched as it slowly trickled toward the cup. It stopped momentarily, then fell in the cup for an unlikely birdie.

“Oh my goodness,” CBS Verne Lundquist said as he described the shot. “Oh wow. In your life have you seen anything like that?”

That set off a huge celebration for Woods and caddie Steve Williams.

“Got a great break on 16, didn’t go in the bunker, didn’t go in the rough and somehow an earthquake happened and it fell in the hole,” said Woods, who now led by two with two holes to play.

But Woods made two bogeys coming in, sendind him and DiMarco into a sudden-death playoff. Thanks to a change in format, the playoff began on No. 18.

Woods hit his approach to 15 feet past the pin, while DiMarco’s second shot spun off the green. He chipped close and had a tap-in for par.

“I was trying to make birdie,” DiMarco said of his chip. “I felt like we needed to make birdie to beat him. I said, ‘We’re going to have to make a putt for birdie to win. It’s not going to be given to us with a par.’”

That set the stage for Woods, who has a flair for pressure situations. He rolled the birdie putt into the heart of the cup, setting off a giant fist pump and another celebration with his caddie.

The victory was the Woods’ fourth of his career at Augusta National for Woods, matching Arnold Palmer for second most. And it gave Woods another victory in a major that also served as Nicklaus’ farewell. Later that summer, at the British Open at St. Andrews, Woods would win again to complete the sweep of majors in the same year Nicklaus retired from them.

The win at Augusta also restored Woods’ place at the top of the golf rankings, and validated his work with Haney.

Woods also tipped his hat to DiMarco, who played in the final Masters pairing for the second year in a row.

“This was one fun victory, but I’ve got to say it was a lot of work because I was playing against one heckuva competitor out there in Chris DiMarco,” Woods said. “We all know this as players, but he has no backoff in him. He’ll come right at you, tooth and nail. He’s a fighter, what else can you say?”

 

1995: Ben Crenshaw

Ben Crenshaw was struggling with his game – and his emotions. Famed golf instructor Harvey Penick, who helped Crenshaw when he had swing problems, had died the previous Sunday.
 
Crenshaw traveled to Austin, Texas, for Penick’s funeral, a day before the first round of the Masters.
 
“I was an emotional wreck; my concentration was not there,” Crenshaw said. “My game was bad and so was I after that news Sunday night (about Penick’s death).”
 
When Crenshaw returned from Penick’s funeral, he came back with confidence in his game, thanks to a swing tip suggested by longtime caddie Carl Jackson.
 
Playing with memories of Penick in his head, Crenshaw went out and shot 70-67-69-68. His 14-under-par 274 clipped Davis Love III by a shot.
 
It was the second Masters win for the popular Texan.

 

1985: Bernhard Langer

With Augusta National’s slick, undulating greens, most experts would agree that a skillful putting touch is a requirement for Masters champions.
 
A man who putts cross-handed and once quit the game because of a bout with the yips? No chance, right?
 
Bernhard Langer didn’t fit the conventional mold. The German turned pro as a teenager, battled putting woes and persevered to become one of the game’s all-time greats.
 
Langer got off to a slow start with rounds of 72 and 74, but 68 in the third round left him a shot off the pace.
 
In the final round, he trailed Curtis Strange heading into the final nine. Strange found water on both of the par-5s coming in and made a pair of bogeys to squander a four-shot lead.
 
“What’s a three- or four-shot lead on a golf course like this where you have holes like 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 and 16?” Langer asked.
 
The German hit both par-5 greens in two and made birdies. A birdie on the short 12th helped him shoot 3-under 33 on the second nine. It capped a round of 68 and wrapped up a two-shot win for Langer.
 
“I think I won the tournament on the back nine,” Langer said.

 

1975: Jack Nicklaus

Jack Nicklaus, Tom Weiskopf and Johnny Miller were at the top of their games in the spring of 1975. The three combined to stage one of the most memorable Masters of all time.
 
Nicklaus set a blistering pace in the first two rounds with scores of 68 and 67. Weis­kopf, already a three-time Masters runner-up, was six back. Miller, one of the pretournament favorites, was 11 back.
 
In Satur­day’s third round, Nicklaus stumbled to 73, leaving the door open for Weiskopf (66) and Miller (65) to get back into contention.
 
After the first nine in the final round, Nicklaus and Weiskopf were tied for the lead, with Miller two back.
 
The three jockeyed for position on the second nine until Nicklaus pulled ahead with clutch birdies on the 15th and 16th holes. On the 16th, Nicklaus holed out from 40 feet and broke into a celebratory trot around the green.
 
Shaken, Weiskopf made bogey at No. 16 to fall one behind Nicklaus. Miller made birdie at the 17th to pull within one.
 
On the 18th, both men had chances to send the tournament to a playoff, but each missed from inside 10 feet, securing a record fifth green jacket for Nicklaus.

 

1965: Jack Nicklaus

The Big Three of Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player dominated the Masters from 1958 to 1966, winning all but one green jacket. In this year, one would stand head and shoulders above the others.

Nicklaus came out firing with 67 in the first round to trail only Player. A second-round 71 left Nicklaus, Play­er and Palmer tied for first.

A thrilling weekend shootout seemed to be on tap, but what happened shocked the world of golf.

Nicklaus, after making a slight adjustment in his putting stroke, rolled in a medium-length birdie putt on the second hole of his third round. Another one fell on the fourth, then again on the sixth. When he birdied Nos. 7 and 8, the rout was on and the course record of 64, set by Lloyd Mangrum in 1940, was in jeopardy.

Three more birdies on the inward nine gave Nicklaus a 64 of his own and left him five clear of Player and eight ahead of Palmer.

Next up was Ben Hogan’s tournament record of 274. Nicklaus took care of that Sunday with a closing 69, and it established a new 72-hole scoring record of 271.

His margin of victory, by nine strokes over Palmer and Player, also shattered the previous mark.

 

1955: Cary Middlecoff

Cary Middlecoff was not listed as one of the pre-tournament favorites heading into the 1955 Masters. All eyes were on Sam Snead and Ben Hogan, who had won the previous four Masters between them.
 
After opening with 72, Middlecoff seized control with 65 in the second round. After making four consecutive birdies on the front nine, the highlight came at the 13th when Middlecoff made an eagle putt in excess of 80 feet. That opened up a four-shot cushion for him at the midway point, and he maintained it going to the final round.
 
Middlecoff played the first nine holes in 2-under fashion and went to the final nine with a big cushion. But then he made double bogey at the 10th.
 
He didn’t let that deter him. He responded with birdies at Nos. 12 and 15, and he capped the day with a short birdie putt on the final hole.
 
When it was over, Middlecoff’s 279 total was seven better than Hogan’s and eight better than Snead’s.
 
The Masters was in its third and final year of not being held because of World War II.

 

1935: Gene Sarazen

According to golf writer O.B. Keeler’s account, Gene Sarazen had a premonition on the 14th hole in the second Masters. He had hooked his tee shot into the rough, then heard the roar from Craig Wood’s birdie on the final hole.
 
“Well, Gene, that looks as if it’s all over,” Walter Hagen said to Sarazen.
 
“Oh, I don’t know,” Sara­zen replied. “They might go in from anywhere.”
 
One hole later, Sarazen backed up his statement. His double eagle at the par-5 15th gave the tournament its first signature moment. His 4-wood shot from 235 yards out cleared the pond fronting the green and rolled into the cup for a deuce. Sarazen made pars on the remaining three holes.
 
A 36-hole playoff with Wood was held the next day. It was the only time the Masters used that format, and Sarazen prevailed by five shots over Wood.
 
“There had never before been a shot in an important tournament as sensational as that double eagle, and one can understand how nearly everything else about that Masters has been forgotten – Sarazen’s three closing pars, for one thing, and the playoff, for another,” Herbert Warren Wind wrote in Following Through.