US Masters Action Replay: Greg Norman and Nick Faldo 1996

Thirteen years on, Golf Monthly relives the infamous 'choke' of Greg Norman at the 1996 Masters - the biggest final-round turnaround at Augusta in its history.

Greg Norman

Strangely for a man who reigned at the summit of the World Rankings for the best part of a decade, Greg Norman’s darkest days have come on the game’s grandest stages. On no fewer than seven occasions has the Australian held the lead going into the fourth round of a Major, and yet for all his bite and tenacity, the ‘Great White Shark’ has become all too brittle and erratic when opponents have sniffed out any scent of self-doubt.

Only once has such Saturday supremacy seen Norman over the finishing line safely in one of the big four – at the 1986 Open. But during that same year, he surrendered third-round leads in all three other Majors; at Augusta he was charged down by Jack Nicklaus; Ray Floyd smothered hopes at the US Open; a miraculous bunker shot from Bob Tway thwarted victory at the USPGA.

Despite being labelled as an easy touch by some, Norman was still regarded by his peers as the man to beat. There was also the accepted wisdom that his shortcomings came as a result of his opponents’ skill being splashed with a savage dose of bad luck on his part. But then, on April 14, 1996, the golfing world witnessed perhaps the most notorious Sunday crumble in Major history when the then 41-year-old blew a six-shot lead to Nick Faldo at Augusta National. Just as Sports Illustrated’s Rick Reilly had commented: “Where there is a Saturday lead for Norman, there are always Sunday banana peels.”

Alex Narey
Content Editor

Alex began his journalism career in regional newspapers in 2001 and moved to the Press Association four years later. He spent three years working at Dennis Publishing before first joining Golf Monthly, where he was on the staff from 2008 to 2015 as the brand's managing editor, overseeing the day-to-day running of our award-winning magazine while also contributing across various digital platforms. A specialist in news and feature content, he has interviewed many of the world's top golfers and returns to Golf Monthly after a three-year stint working on the Daily Telegraph's sports desk. His current role is diverse as he undertakes a number of duties, from managing creative solutions campaigns in both digital and print to writing long-form features for the magazine. Alex has enjoyed a life-long passion for golf and currently plays to a handicap of 13 at Tylney Park Golf Club in Hampshire.