The last five years have seen some very different Masters Champions and the manner of their Sunday victory have all varied. We take a look at how they won their titles and what we can expect this year as the Masters Tournament looms large.
2014 – Bubba wins second green jacket
While Bubba Watson won by a comfortable three shot margin over Jordan Spieth and Johan Blixt, this Masters Tournament was different; all the action unfolded on the front nine. By the thirteenth hole the tournament was effectively over. There were no more birdies from the final group (or even the top three) and Watson emerged with a second victory at a canter, choosing to celebrate at a local Waffle House.
2013 – Adam Scott becomes the first Australian to win
Three Australians battled it out in the final day. Alongside Scott was Jason Day and Marc Leishman, but it was the Argentine Angel Cabrera who who sparked the fireworks as this Masters touch fire was lit late. The lead changed hands five times due to bogeys and poor play until Scott marched up the eighteenth, believing a birdie would win it for him, he made it. Five minutes later Cabrera matched his feat and a late playoff ensued. On a wet evening in Augusta, lightning struck twice as Scott drained another birdie putt on the eighteenth to win his first major.
2012 – Bubba-golf is born
This Masters will be best remembered by the hooked wedge Watson played on the second extra hole of the playoff to defeat Louis Oosthuizen. But the final round was anything but dull. After holing out for albatross at the par five second, Oosthuizen held a four shot lead over Watson. But come the back nine, and four straight birdies from the thirteenth, Bubba had clawed his way back into a tie with the South African. The playoff was about as nervy as they come, until the shot that gave birth to Bubba-golf was hit. It left Watson two putts to win his first green jacket.
2011 – Schwartzel wins with four straight birdies
Maybe Charl Schwartzel’s win will be overshadowed by the way Rory McIlroy blew a four shot final day lead. However, Schwartzel did play the first three holes in three under and then birdied the final four holes to win by two over Jason Day and Adam Scott. When McIlroy was in meltdown around Amen Corner, Schwartzel held firm turning a one shot deficit into a joint-leading position with the two Australians. Few players get to win by making birdie, but the South African greedily bagged four for the biggest win of his career on a day that might forever be look back on as the day that gave rise to McIlroy domination.
2010 – Mickelson makes it three with a cooly struck six iron
If ever a shot summed up the cavalier spirit in which Phil Mickelson has played and won in this game, it was his six iron approach, off pine needles, through a small gap to the thirteenth green. He didn’t make eagle, but it challenged all around to come and fight him for another green jacket. A bogey-free final round 67 blew away the competition as he beat off a beleaguered Lee Westwood to win by three shots and win his third Masters title.
This year, with nine 54 hole leads already being blown on tour, the final round is going to be anticipated even more fervently. Will McIlroy complete the grand slam? Can Mickelson be re-energised? Is Henrik Stenson going to move up a level? Does Augusta favor a horses-for-courses Bubba? Or will there be a sting in the Woods somewhere?