15 Revealing Moments From The Masters
April 11, 2015
Erik Compton sees dream become reality
For Erik Compton, the odds of him one day teeing it up in the Masters were far more unlikely than for anyone else in the field. And not because of anything he's done on the course. Compton has said on many occasions he thought he was going to die, needing not one but two heart transplants in his life. That's what makes this photo so inspirational. Compton -- with impressive artistry, we might add -- drew this photo of himself at Augusta National when he was a kid. His dream, unlikely as it may have been, came true this week. -- Stephen Hennessey
Tiger's clarifying practice session
When Tiger Woods announced he would play in the Masters after more than two months away from golf, the question wasn't so much whether he would contend, but whether chipping yips would plague him enough to make breaking 80 difficult. The answer seemed to come as soon as Woods arrived on the property, dropping down a bag of balls and immediately hitting an impressive series of pitches and chips. Yes, it was only practice, but for a player whose ever move was under such tight scrutiny, it was still a telling moment. -- Sam Weinman
Jack summons magic in Par 3
Jack Nicklaus has been competing at the Masters since 1959, yet he had never made a hole-in-one at Augusta National ... until Wednesday. After predicting an ace might be in the offing during the Par 3 Contest, he made good on the boast when he spun back his tee shot on the 140-yard fourth hole on the Par-3 course. -- Ryan Herrington
Streelman's special guest caddie
The Par 3 Contest overflows with feel-good moments -- Tiger with his kids on the bag, Jack's ace. But our favorite came via Kevin Streelman, not just because he ended up winning, but because he did so with a special guest on the bag. Through the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Streelman was put in touch with Ethan Couch, a 13-year-old boy with an inoperable brain tumor. Couch's wish was to attend the Masters, but Streelman took the idea to the next step by making Couch his caddie for the Par 3 -- and then winning. "He said on the first hole that he wanted to win for me," Couch said. "There's a jinx, apparently, that no-one's ever won the Par 3 and the Masters in the same year. But he said he didn't worry about it, he said he could win them both." -- S.W.
Arnie's gutsy tee shot
Of all the shots on this list, this might be the only one where the result didn't matter. The 85-year-old Arnold Palmer fell in his home and dislocated his shoulder late last year, so the question of whether he would be able to hit his ceremonial opening tee shot at all lingered -- especially after he announced he wouldn't play the par-3 contest. When asked on Golf Channel earlier in the week if he'd hit the shot, Palmer responed: "Damn right I'm gonna tee it up," and damn right he did. His low, weak hook dived into the left rough, and the patrons cheered it every inch along the way. Johnny Miller, who came to watch Arnie because he thought it could be his last time hitting the ceremonial shot, said it was a "gutsy display." Let's hope he's wrong. -- Luke Kerr-Dineen
Tiger's gut check at 11
Whatever he displayed in practice rounds, Woods needed to make a statement during tournament play, which he did on the 11th hole on Thursday. Stuck behind a bunker with the green sloping toward the water long, Tiger hit a beautiful, high flop that trickled to a few feet. He made the putt, and in doing so ended any and all rumors of his so-called yips. -- L.K.D.
Jordan Spieth's opening statement
Perhaps the most impressive thing about Jordan Spieth's opening 64? He was still frustrated by the lone bogey he made in his post-round press conference. Spieth's blemish came on No. 15 when he chose hybrid instead of 4-iron to make sure he cleared the water on his second shot and wound up going way long. "I needed to bet on myself to hit a good, solid shot there and I didn't," Spieth said. The decision ultimately cost Spieth a chance at the Masters and major championship record of 63, but more importantly, it didn't cost him the green jacket. It also proved once again just how competitive the young man is. -- Alex Myers
Rory's rally-killing 40
With a late second-round starting time, McIlroy teed off 13 shots behind Jordan Spieth. If he was to have any chance of completing the career Grand Slam this week, he needed to kick things into top gear. Instead, he went in reverse. McIlroy shot 40 on the front nine to all but end his Masters chances. He bounced back with a 31 on the back nine and then played the front eight shots better the following day, but the damage was done. -- A.M.
Ben Crenshaw's emotional finish
As he finished up at last year's Masters, Ben Crenshaw openly debated whether he had the game to play in another Masters. Good thing he came back for 2015 because it allowed us a chance to toast the two-time Masters champion. All day on Friday at the 2015 Masters, Ben Crenshaw received standing ovations from the Augusta National patrons. And on the 18th green, a celebration befitting the legend ensued, with wife Julie, their three daughters, and Crenshaw's longtime Carl Jackson there to greet him. -- S.H.
James Hahn's noble (and costly) penalty
James Hahn's first Masters appearance didn't turn out the way he would have liked, but in the process, he may have won some new fans. Hahn called a penalty on himself when his ball moved ever so slightly on the first green on Friday. Unfortunately, the extra shot was the difference in him making it to the weekend. In a way, though, it was fitting. It was Augusta National co-founder Bobby Jones, who famously did the same thing in a tournament and said "You might as well praise a man for not robbing a bank." Hahn echoed that sentiment on Twitter, saying "Sometimes you don't get rewarded for doing the right thing, but it doesn't mean you shouldn't do the right thing." -- A.M.
Sergio's preemptive tweet
When the tee times for the third round came out, one pairing in particular jumped out: Tiger Woods and Sergio Garcia. The two have a well-documented history of friction, which is why Garcia took to Twitter Friday night to dismiss any talk of simmering tension. The gesture didn't help Garcia's game much -- Woods beat him by two -- but it suggested Garcia thinks about Woods almost as much as the rest of us. -- S.W.
Tiger reverts to old form
Just as Woods showed he still had the short game touch that won him 14 majors, he showed he also had the fire -- the good and the bad. When Woods on Saturday snap-hooked his drive on the par-5 13th into the pine straw, he unleashed a profanity that was caught on a live microphone. The outburst was met with all kinds of criticism on social media, and it exemplified how the softer, gentler Woods we've seen this week still has his limits. -- S.W.
Spieth's wild finish
Sunday at the Masters seemed dangerously close to becoming academic, Spieth taking a seven-stroke lead at one point in the afternoon during Saturday's third round. But a poor drive from Spieth on the 17th hole, a cautious chip back to the fairway and some iffy play around the green resulted in double-bogey 6, and with it, a little bit of doubt crept in. An amazing up-and-down par save on the 18th hole took some of the sting away, but entering the final round up by four rather than six at least meant there was some uncertainty come Sunday. -- R.H.
Jordan Spieth's nerve-settling putt
After three nights of sleeping on the lead, one couldn't help but wonder how the 21-year-old Spieth would handle the early part of his final round. The answer came on the first green, when, after Justin Rose made birdie, Spieth rolled in a 10-foot birdie putt of his own. It was a crucial moment for Spieth in settling his nerves, and for the most part he never looked back. -- S.W.
Tiger turns into a chiropractor
When Tiger Woods winced upon impact after his approach shot on the 9th hole, he looked injured enough that a withdrawal seemed possible. But Woods was able to save par, and play even par the rest of the way. What happened? According to Woods, "a bone popped out" when he met resistance on the shot, but he was able "to put it back in." Amazing that the guy could perform minor surgery on himself, and still play golf, but it was Tiger Woods. -- S.W.