Greg Norman’s career Mulligan: the 1986 Masters

The Australian who’s had more than his fair share of Augusta misery tells Jeremy Ellwood where he would take his one career Mulligan…

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The Australian who’s had more than his fair share of Augusta misery tells Jeremy Ellwood where he would take his one career Mulligan…

Think of Greg Norman and you’ll probably think of heartache and near misses before the Major wins and countless other victories , with 1996’s final-round Masters capitulation to turn a six-shot lead over Nick Faldo into a five-shot defeat springing most readily to mind.

But this was a tournament that Norman ‘could’ve, should’ve’ won several times over during the period from 1981 to 1999 when he finished in the top six nine times and runner-up three times.

One of those 2nd places finishes was, indeed, 1996, with the previous one in 1987 when Larry Mize had the audacity to chip in on the second play-off hole with Norman contemplating a potential two-putt for victory from the fringe.

But when we met up with Norman at his Emerald Reef Golf Course in The Bahamas last year, and asked where he would take his one career Mulligan, he had little hesitation in pointing to the final hole of the 1986 Masters, in what famously became the year of the Golden Bear, rather than the year of the Shark…

“It would probably be the 4-iron at 18 at Augusta in 1986. It was just the wrong club. I had 187 yards and I’d been playing so well all day and hitting everything solid all day. I just tried to finesse a 4-iron in there. Under pressure you’re better off going with as close to a full aggressive swing as you possibly can. I wouldn’t go at 100% but I would go at a full 80%.

“But I was taking a 4-iron in there and had to take a lot off it as I was trying to hit a high cut shot to get back to the flag. The 18th has got a lot of upslope - I didn’t fire my right hip up through the ball and gravity kept me back a little bit and that’s why I flailed it out to the right. So I’d have that one again.”


Jeremy Ellwood
Contributing Editor

Jeremy Ellwood has worked in the golf industry since 1993 and for Golf Monthly since 2002 when he started out as equipment editor. He is now a freelance journalist writing mainly for Golf Monthly. He is an expert on the Rules of Golf having qualified through an R&A course to become a golf referee. He is a senior panelist for Golf Monthly's Top 100 UK & Ireland Course Rankings and has played all of the Top 100 plus 91 of the Next 100, making him well-qualified when it comes to assessing and comparing our premier golf courses. He has now played 1,000 golf courses worldwide in 35 countries, from the humblest of nine-holers in the Scottish Highlands to the very grandest of international golf resorts. He reached the 1,000 mark on his 60th birthday in October 2023 on Vale do Lobo's Ocean course. Put him on a links course anywhere and he will be blissfully content.

Jezz can be contacted via Twitter - @JezzEllwoodGolf

Jeremy is currently playing...

Driver: Ping G425 LST 10.5˚ (draw setting), Mitsubishi Tensei AV Orange 55 S shaft

3 wood: Ping G425 Max 15˚ (set to flat +1), Mitsubishi Tensei AV Orange 65 S shaft

Hybrid: Ping G425 17˚, Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro Orange 80 S shaft

Irons 3-PW: Ping i525, True Temper Dynamic Gold 105 R300 shafts

Wedges: Ping Glide 4.0 50˚ and 54˚, 12˚ bounce, True Temper Dynamic Gold 105 R300 shafts

Putter: Ping Fetch 2021 model, 33in shaft (set flat 2)

Ball: Varies but mostly now TaylorMade Tour Response