Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Mize Remembers Thrill of the Shot That Sank Shark

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Mize Remembers Thrill of the Shot That Sank Shark

Article excerpt

The purple shirt is sealed away in a plastic bag, never to be worn again. The wedge is on display at Augusta National Golf Club, donated for the sake of history. The memory is as fresh as yesterday.

Larry Mize, who grew up in Augusta and once worked at the tournament as a volunteer, holed a miraculous 140-foot chip shot for a birdie to stun Greg Norman in a sudden-death playoff to win the Masters.

Ten years ago. "It doesn't feel like it has been 10 years," said Mize, 38. "I didn't even know it was 10 years until some people started talking about the anniversary of it. It's been fun because I've been able to relive it." Nobody gave the hometown favorite much of a chance when he stepped to the 10th tee for the playoff tied with Norman and Seve Ballesteros. He had just one PGA Tour title to his name. And he was known much more for his collapse a year earlier at the Players Championship, where he blew a 4-shot lead during the final round. But Mize had shot a final-round 71 at Augusta, including a birdie at 18, to finish at 285, 3 under par. He led after the 13th hole, gave the lead back with consecutive bogeys, then made his crucial birdie on the 72nd hole. Norman and Ballesteros each birdied 17 and parred 18 to join the playoff. "I was thinking, `These guys don't have a chance,' " Mize joked. "No, I was really excited to be there. I played really well. I just had really done whatever I needed to do that week. "Obviously, I respected those guys. And they're great players. But they hadn't beaten me over 72 holes. And I couldn't go in there thinking they could beat me now. I knew I was the underdog, and I was happy to be there." At the 485-yard, par-4 10th, Mize gave himself the best chance, knocking his approach to 12 feet. Both Norman and Ballesteros hit their shots to the back fringe, with Ballesteros unable to make par and bowing out of the playoff. Norman got up and down, then Mize missed his birdie putt to the left. So the playoff continued to the par-4, 455-yard 11th, where Mize blocked his approach shot well right of the green. Norman's approach landed safely on the putting surface, some 30 feet from the hole. …

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