OVER the years everyone who has written about Augusta has mentioned the lush, undulating fairways, white sand bunkers, slick greens and the colourful azaleas but for me it’s been the excitement that it has thrown up over the years.

One of my abiding memories is Scot Alexander Lyle in 1988 going up the 18th needing a birdie to win the coveted Green Jacket. But in Sandy’s inimitable style he slams his drive straight into the fairway bunker.

On the Sunday he had a two-shot lead over Mark Calcavecchia and Craig Stadler (the Walrus) and was looking good. But he still had Amen Corner to negotiate (11th, 12th and 13th) and they were proving particularly difficult.

At the 11th he had a bogey five and followed that up with a double-bogey five at the 12th after finding the water. He was then tied for the lead before Calcavecchia, ahead at the 13th, birdied it to go one in front.

At the 15th Stadler joined Calcavecchia as co-leader and Lyle couldn’t take advantagewhen his eagle chip shaved the hole and his birdie putt slipped past.

But Sandy’s Masters came alive again at the par-three 17th. His sweetly-struck 7-iron gave him a chance of birdie which he successfully converted and joined the two Americans at the top of the leaderboard.

Going to the 18th Calcavecchia’s total of 282 was Lyle’s target. A par for a play-off, birdie to win the Green Jacket.

Sandy erred on the side of caution and took his 1-iron off the tee for accuracy.  He hit it sweetly, too sweetly and it landed in the fairway bunker. At that moment you could see Lyle’s shoulders drop. Yet when he reached the bunker his ball was sitting on an up-slope and the situation could have been a lot worse.

The rest is history. Reaching for his 7-iron, which had served him so well all week, he picked the ball off the sand perfectly and it flew directly over the pin, landing 20ft past the hole.

Slowly, very slowly the ball began to run back to the hole, leaving him with a 10-footer to become the first Briton to win the Masters. He was never going to miss.

Lyle was also the first man to win The Masters needing a birdie at the last since Arnold Palmer did it in 1960.

What a climax that was and one of my fondest memories of Augusta.

Lyle will tee it up again next week but won't be in the mix come Sunday.

World No.1 Dustin Johnson and Japanese star Hideki Matsuyama will be there and best of the Brits could be Justin Rose as he tries to emulate Danny Willett's feat last year.

Don't miss my Augusta tips next week as well a tipster contest for members only.

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5 Comments
  1. rjb 5 years ago

    Great memories of big Sandy…I met him in Silverburn shopping centre about 6 months ago and got my picture taken with him,I told him that his shot out of the bunker was in my opinion one of the best shots ever with what was at stake!!!
    Magic!!!

    • Mr Fixit 5 years ago

      Big Sandy’s family used to own the lyle clober course I play at so I can imagine the party that night.
      I can’t remember watching it live or anything like that and hadn’t started at the Record so would have just read about it the next day.
      Just back from the golf and a bit wet.

  2. rjb 5 years ago

    I was working and my mum had taped it on our old Betamax video recorder and I had managed to avoid hearing any details about it hoping to watch it when I got home ..all going good till I jumped in taxi to get home and the driver delighted in telling me big Sandy had won the Masters.,I watched it on fast forward..not the same knowing the end result lol..still think
    its the best bunker shot ever!!!

    • Mr Fixit 5 years ago

      You must be as old as me coz I too remember Betamax.
      I spoke briefly to Sandy at Augusta 2 years ago and he walks about as if he owns the joint.
      Great to see and he’s still remembered for that one shot.
      Hope he makes the cut this year.

  3. jimron12 5 years ago

    Matty Fitzpatrick is going to have a good year!!!

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