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Silver anniversary of Nicklaus’ last Masters title
On the par-3 16th, Nicklaus hit 5-iron right at the flag, and as he stooped to remove his tee, his son said, “Be right.”
“It is,” Nicklaus said.
He holed the 3-foot birdie putt, then rolled in an 11-foot birdie putt on the 17th, as famous as any. Nicklaus knew it was good before it reached the cup, and he raised the putter with his left hand as it fell.
“Yes, sir!” Verne Lundquist said on the CBS telecast.
“Just how the putter went up, and how basically he walked it in,” he said. “I don’t remember anyone every walking a putt in like that.”
Furyk was 15, just starting to get into golf. He and his two buddies looked around the clubhouse and noticed how full it was.
“As word got out that Nicklaus was leading, it really filled up,” Furyk said. “About two-thirds of the way through the telecast, it was the three of us sitting at the first table in front of the television, and when I turned around, it was filled with a bunch of guys having a beer, and the place was packed. It was kind of cool.”
It was even cool for some of the guys who didn’t win _ maybe not at the time, but certainly years later. Price, who had become the first player to shoot 63 at Augusta in the third round, was in the final group with Norman.
“We were walking past 17 green on 15 fairway when Jack made that putt,” Price said. “The green is up a little bit, so we can sort of see Jack’s head. And we saw the putter go up and we knew it was going in. And the loudest roar I have ever heard on a golf course was right there and right then.”
One of the more famous rules at the Masters is no running is allowed. But there was Nicklaus, defying logic and well …
“People were running everywhere,” Price said. “You saw all of the guys just running, trying to find a spot, because they knew it was something magical that was happening.”
It all fell into place. Ballesteros hit 4-iron into the water on the 15th. Kite missed a birdie putt on the 18th to force a playoff. Norman made a charge of his own until he sent his approach into the gallery on the 18th and made bogey.
Price wound up in fifth place, but what a show.
“Outside of me winning those three majors that I did, it was one of the highlights of my golfing experience, my golfing life,” Price said. “Even when I won my majors, it didn’t feel anything like that atmosphere.”
By Emily Miller
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