US Masters Action Replay: Nick Faldo wins Green Jacket

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 and Nick Faldo

With only a one-shot lead at the 11th, Norman punched to the green in regulation. However, his 12ft birdie effort shaved the lip. Even worse, the returning two-footer also stayed out. Bogey. The lead was now gone.

Despite his outstanding play in the first three rounds, Norman had already flirted with danger at the infamous par-3 12th: on Friday his ball missed the green and rested on the bank (a la Fred Couples in 1992); on Saturday it slid into Rae’s Creek. On Sunday, after Faldo had hit his tee shot to the left of the pin, Norman watched as his 7-iron ran up short, gripped for a second that must have felt like an age, before slipping back into the water. Double bogey. Faldo two-up.

After making birdie at the 13th (which Faldo also did), Norman looked to be settling. In somewhat of a sympathy vote, the Augusta galleries were now firmly rooting for the victim of the carnage. No more so on the 15th, where Norman’s chip for eagle glided past the hole when it had looked in all the way. As Norman collapsed to the ground, the groans that echoed suggested any lingering hope had now gone.

With Faldo still two-up at the par-3 16th, Norman’s final nail came when he hooked into the water short and left. Double bogey. Faldo by four. Two holes later, the Englishman would close with a final birdie for a 67. From six behind he had won his third Green Jacket by a now emphatic five strokes. Embracing his beaten opponent, he would later reveal his private words as, “Don’t let the bastards get to you,” referring to the treatment that would follow from the world’s golfing press. But there was little sniping to be done – and Norman was as gracious in defeat as Faldo was sporting in victory.

Where next?

US Masters: Augusta hole-by-hole guide Generation Game: Gene Sarazen and Padraig Harrington winners with Wilson Staff

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.