My Favorite Masters Moments

Written by Charlie Epps on 01 April 2010.

It's Masters month, and I've been thinking about my favorite moments from my favorite tournament. There have been so many great moments; it was hard to pick just 10.

Let's start in 1934, when Bobby Jones, the greatest amateur of all time, started the "Augusta National Invitation," (it became the Masters Tournament in 1939). Jones created the Holy Grail of golf, the tournament by which all others would be judged. The Masters still is the gold standard for all professional tournaments.

In 1948, Houston's Claude Harmon won his green jacket by five shots and cashed all of $2,500 for the win. His greatest achievement, however, was raising four sons—Butch, Craig, Billy and Dick—all of whom have been rated among Golf Digest's Top 50 teachers.

In 1951, Ben Hogan won his first of two green jackets. Hogan played in only five events that year; he won three of them, including the Masters and U.S. Open.

The 1956 Masters held a moment near and dear to all passionate golf fans in Houston. Jackie Burke Jr., the co-founder of Champions Golf Club, overcame an eight-shot deficit to sneak past a young Ken Venturi, an amateur at the time, by a single stroke.

In 1968, my Argentine compatriot, Roberto DeVicenzo, signed an incorrect scorecard after the final round and was disqualified. He was tied for the lead with Bob Goalby, but his playing partner that day, Tommy Aaron, wrote down a "4" on the 17th hole for DeVicenzo, when Roberto actually had made a 3. Goalby donned the green jacket.

Gary Player's victory in 1978 cracked the top five on my list. Player won four tournaments in a row in 1978, including the Masters and Houston Open. The Black Knight won his last of three green jackets in '78 after starting the final round seven shots behind.

It was difficult to separate the remaining four moments, but I went with "The Bear...has come out of hibernation," as Jim Nantz said, for No. 4. Jack Nicklaus, my favorite golfer of all-time, sank a birdie putt on No. 17 to secure his record-setting sixth Masters. He shot 30 on the final back nine on Sunday. Wow.

My good friend Fred Couples winning the 1991 Masters is my third-favorite moment. He shot 13 under, beat Ray Floyd by two shots and became the No. 1-ranked player in the world the next week.

The next moment probably scores top-billing on most lists. When Tiger Woods, in his second year on tour, lapped the field at Augusta in 1997 and won by an unbelievable 12 shots at 18-under, I knew he was going to be one of the greatest of all time.

Of course, by absolute favorite Masters moment came last year, when my student, Angel Cabrera from Argentina, rallied from a two-shot deficit with two holes to play and beat Kenny Perry and Chad Campbell in a playoff. It was Cabrera's second major victory, but hopefully not his last!

Trimming this list down to 10 moments was so difficult. I left out some great ones, like Ben Crenshaw winning in 1995 a week after his teacher, Harvey Penick passed away. Maybe I should have ranked my top 11 moments.