The Shots That Defined the Masters


The Shots That Defined the Masters

April 13, 2014

Phil Mickelson's second shot, 12th hole, Friday

Mickelson's short week was highlighted/lowlighted by several big numbers, none as curious as the 6 he made on Augusta National's shortest hole. He avoided Rae's Creek with his tee shot, but blasted a straightforward bunker shot in front of the green into the back bunker. The resulting triple bogey proved particularly costly when he missed the cut by one stroke, failing to make the weekend at the Masters for the first time since 1997.-- *Alex MyersFollow: @AlexMyers3

Bubba Watson's first shot, 16th hole, Friday

Watson arrived at Augusta National's last par 3 Friday having seized the lead with four straight birdies. He kept the momentum going by fading a 9-iron that fed off the slope to within four feet of a back-left hole location. Another birdie led to a 68 and a three-shot lead heading into the weekend. -- A.M.

Rory McIlroy's second shot, 13th hole, Friday

The two-time major champion was already four over for the day when he reached the par-5 13th. But if there was one shot that spoke to his frustrating week, it was his approach from the middle of the fairway. McIlroy sent a towering shot toward the back of the green, but it improbably hit a sprinkler head and caromed up into the azaleas, forcing McIlroy to chop out. The bogey was his last en route to a third-round 77, ensuring he wouldn't be a factor over the weekend.-- *Sam WeinmanFollow: @samweinman

Jordan Spieth's second shot, 18th hole, Friday

It was one of the first glimpses at just how much the Masters rookie had already learned about where to hit shots -- and more importantly where not to hit them. With the hole location in the front part of the green, Spieth hit his approach past the hole. His ball released up the slope in the middle of the green but not too far up, eventually retreating back toward the cup. When it finally stopped, it was two feet away. The resulting birdie let him finish the day with a 70 -- and plenty of confidence.-- *Ryan HerringtonFollow: @GWcampusinsider

Miguel Angel Jimenez's third shot, 13th hole, Saturday

Could there be a new oldest-ever winner at the Masters? The 50-year-old Spaniard forced people to start mulling the question early Saturday. Three under for the day after a bogey on the 12th, things could have cooled for Jimenez. Instead, from the bunker back of the green, he hit the pin with his third shot. The resulting tap-in birdie was the first of three he would card in the next four holes as he posted the day's best score (66) and found himself within two strokes of the lead entering the final round.-- *Luke Kerr-DineenFollow: @LukeKerrDineen

Rickie Fowler's first shot, No. 16, Saturday

The 25-year-old had finally taken advantage of the par 5s, birdieing all four on Saturday. It wasn't until his tee ball on the par-3 16th landed eight feet from the hole, setting up another birdie, however, that he was truly able to turn a good round into a great one. Fowler finished with a 67 on the day, jumping from T-26 to T-5 to put himself in position come Sunday. -- R.H.

Bubba Watson's second shot, second hole, Saturday

After an opening bogey, Watson got back on track with a majestic 7-iron approach on the par-5 second. The ball rolled to four feet, setting up up his first-ever eagle on the hole and giving him his biggest lead of the tournament at five strokes. -- A.M.

Matt Kuchar's third shot, 15th hole, Saturday

The 35-year-old vaulted into contention after a string of three straight birdies on the back nine, the most impressive coming after he sent his second shot long and right of the 15th green. Facing a nervy chip with the pond lurking behind, Kuchar deftly landed his ball on the collar and allowed it to trickle toward the cup, settling eight feet away. He made the ensuing putt to get to five under, earning a spot in penultimate pairing on Sunday afternoon. -- S.W.

Thomas Bjorn's second shot, 13th hole, Saturday

The Dane wasn't really expected to win the Masters, but nobody seemed to have told him that as he headed into Amen Corner Saturday a five under and with a share of the lead. But then reality settled in. His ball in a solid position off the tee, Bjorn pushed his second shot short and right into Rae's Creek. That resulted into the first of three bogeys in the next five holes, dropping him into a busy group just behind the front-runners that he never escaped. -- L.K.D.

Jordan Spieth's second shot, 14th hole, Saturday

It's a hole where you typically take your par and move to the easy 15th, but Spieth instead used it as a jumping off point in his run to claim a share of the lead through 54 holes. His approach shot landed softly to the left of the hole, then caught a slope and rolled to within two feet of the cup. After holing his birdie, he made another on the 15th en route to a Saturday 70 and a date with Bubba Watson in the last group of the final round. -- R.H.

Matt Kuchar's third shot, third hole, Sunday

After great pitch shots produced a par and a birdie on his opening two holes, Kuchar put himself in another tough spot on No. 3 when his approach went over the green. But he flashed his superb short game again, hitting a delicate chip shot through a swale and into the hole for an unlikely birdie that gave him -- at least, briefly -- a share of the lead. -- A.M.

Jordan Spieth's second shot, fourth hole, Sunday

After moving alone into the lead with a birdie on the second, Spieth appeared to hit his first spot of trouble when he found the front bunker on the long par 3. No matter. Spieth blasted out and watched as his ball skipped forward into the cup. With playing partner Bubba Watson already hitting his approach in tight, the birdie for Spieth allowed him to hold onto a two-shot lead. -- S.W.

Jordan Spieth's first shot, sixth hole, Sunday

He survived shaky tee shots on the first, second and fifth holes to take the outright lead early in the final round. But there was nothing but confidence in the swing on the par-3 sixth. His ball one-hopped then trickled to two feet of the hole in its back right location. The birdie helped him keep his momentum going. -- R.H.

Bubba Watson's birdie putt, 9th hole, Sunday

Having regained a share of the lead after a birdie on the par-5 8th, Watson was able to re-apply pressure to Spieth with a slick right-to-left 10-footer. That birdie was followed by Spieth missing his five-footer for par, giving Watson a two-shot lead heading into the back nine. -- S.W.

Jordan Spieth's first shot, 12th hole, Sunday

Spieth may have made consecutive bogeys on the eighth and ninth holes, but it felt like his chance to win the Masters -- like so many others -- drowned in front of the 12th green. With a short iron in his hand, Spieth aimed for the pin and looked to catch it heavy, hitting the bank short of the green and watching it roll back into the water. He saved bogey but the damage was done Geoff Shackelford, on Twitter, perhaps said it best: "One negative for Jordan Spieth being so young: he didn't grow up listening to Ken Venturi saying always hit it to the middle of 12th green." -- S.W.

Matt Kuchar's first shot, 13th hole, Sunday

It was the story of Kuchar's day, one in which his performance off the tee betrayed him. After going a perfect 14-for-14 in fairways hit Saturday, Kuchar was just six of 14 fairways Sunday, included the wild hook that nearly left him in Rae's Creek. Where it wound up -- along the creek's bank -- wasn't much better. With Jordan Spieth in the water on 12, Kuchar approached the 13th hole needing a birdie to get back into contention. He saved par after laying up back into the fairway with his second shot. In that scenario, though, par was far from good enough. -- L.K.D.

Bubba Watson's tee shot, 13th hole, Sunday

Augusta National's 13th has never been called a long par 5, but what Watson did to it in the final round was downright absurd. He carved a huge drive that ended up in a spot not too much farther behind where most pros lay up on their second shot. CBS measured Watson's tee shot at 366 yards, leaving him just 144 yards for his approach. Despite a subpar wedge and first putt, Watson converted the birdie to take a three-shot lead with five holes to play. -- A.M.

Bubba Watson's second shot, 15th hole, Sunday

It was so Bubba. The guy has a comfortable three-stroke lead when he hits an errant tee shot on the reachable par 5. Instead of simply pitching it back out to the fairway with his second, he goes smashmouth, launching his second shot over the green. Dangerous? A yeah! He winds up no worse for wear when he makes a par and maintains his three-troke lead. -- R.H.

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