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Miller found himself 11 shots behind Nicklaus going into the weekend, but he answered with a 65 on Saturday to make up eight of those shots against Nicklaus. Even so, Miller still was four shots behind Weiskopf when he put together another sensational run of birdies.

Miller played in the last group with Weiskopf, and both were on the 16th tee when Nicklaus made his 40-foot putt. Miller wound up with a 66 and another silver medal.

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3. ERNIE ELS

The Big Easy was one shot out of the lead going into the weekend in 2000 and thought he had shot himself out of the tournament with a 74 in the third round to fall four shots behind. But he was right there with a chance when David Duval couldn’t keep pace with Vijay Singh. He had three good birdie chances at the end and didn’t make any of them, settling for a 68 to finish three shots behind Singh. “I was really trying to push too hard,” Els said.

That didn’t hurt nearly as bad as 2004.

In one of the best duels in years at the Masters, Els made an eagle at No. 8 and No. 13 and looked like this might be his year. He played two groups in front of Mickelson, and they were trading birdies throughout the back nine. Els closed with two pars for a 67, and then headed to the practice green to see if there would be a playoff. He never saw Mickelson hit his 18-foot birdie putt. He didn’t have to see it. The cheer was deafening, and Els picked up his golf ball and walked quietly to the clubhouse.

“I played as good as I could,” he said. “What more can you do, you know?”

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2. DAVID DUVAL

When he reached the top of the world rankings in 1999, Duval was the only player to be No. 1 in the world without ever having won a major. Most figured he would take care of that at the Masters. Much like Tom Weiskopf, Duval seemed to have a chance at Augusta every year.

Turns out the closest call might have been his first runner-up finish. He was in Jones Cabin in 1998, having closed with a 67. He was poised to get into a playoff with Mark O’Meara, and club chairman Jack Stephens felt the same way. “Don’t worry, David. Nobody ever makes this putt,” Stephens told him. O’Meara made the putt.

A year later, Duval recovered from a poor start and was closing in on the lead when his tee shot on No. 11 clipped a tree and dropped down, and it killed his momentum. The next year, he was back for more. Duval had the 36-hole lead until a 74 in the third round. He still was right there and appeared to have the advantage when Singh found the water on the 11th. The hole location was in the one spot where relief is granted near the green, and Singh escaped with only a bogey. Duval hit into the water on No. 13 and thus ended his chances.

And then there was 2001, when he missed birdie putts of 12 feet and 6 feet on the last two holes, and wound up two shots behind Tiger Woods. That was only his second runner-up finish, but he went four straight years with a solid chance on the back nine and failed to win.

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Story Continues →