Masters 2013: more epic Augusta moments in store, says Ewen Murray
Commentator Ewen Murray reflects on some of the best Masters moments he's seen at Augusta.
Last Updated: 10/04/13 11:22am
After Bubba Watson's show-stopping finale in 2012, the scene is set for another epic contest.
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Commentator Ewen Murray calls the Masters 'the greatest golfing show on Earth'. Here's why...
skysports.com: What was your favourite on-course moment of the 2012 tournament?
Ewen: My favourite memory from last year's Masters was the second shot of Louis Oosthuizen at the par-five second. The other three par-fives at Augusta had been conquered in two over the years and Louis' divine strike with a four iron completed the set. He tossed the ball to the gallery and it was caught by a businessman from Pennsylvania. Within seconds, a green official buggy arrived on the scene and the gentlemen driving it invited the recipient to the clubhouse. The following morning, the ball was on show in a glass case alongside the other albatross balls and to the Pennsylvanian patron no doubt, the promise of lifetime Masters tickets.
skysports.com: Defending champion Bubba Watson has made the shortlist for a poll we're running on skysports.com to find the greatest Masters shot of all time - but which of the 10 options would you vote for?
Ewen: The greatest shot for me would be Tiger's chip in at the 16th in 2005. Never will I witness a more dramatic moment on a golf course. A normal shot with a driver stays in the air for 10 or 12 seconds. Tiger's chip seemed to take an eternity to drop into the hole. First the silence over the shot, then the strike, the bounce, the roll, the increasing roar, the moment when the world seemed to stop. The oscillation, the swoosh, and then it was gone. Pure theatre, pure genius.
skysports.com: I'm sure you've seen many other great Masters shots over the years. Is there one that sticks in your mind because it never gets the credit it deserves?
Ewen: Not so much one shot but one round. In 1996 so much of the post-Masters chat was centred around the collapse of Greg Norman who blew a six-shot lead during a final round of 78. Nick Faldo never got the credit he deserved for his last round 67 which gave him his third green jacket. His exceptional play contributed to the downfall of Greg, piling on the pressure from the word go. That was one of the truly outstanding rounds in Masters' history, a round of exquisite ball striking and a great score on what was an extremely testing day.
skysports.com: Ernie Els is back in Masters action this year and will be one of several players using a belly putter at Augusta. What is your view on anchored putting?
Ewen: I think anchored putting is against the spirit of the game. From experience, the method brings the poorer putter nearer to the good one. Those who are against the ban say that it's just as difficult to putt with a belly/chest putter as a standard one. If that is true, what's the argument? Anchoring offers stability and if the USGA and the R&A deem this method to be against the rules, then that for me is the end of the matter. They set the rules, not the PGA Tour or the players, and hopefully not the lawyers.
skysports.com: The last European player to win the Masters was Jose Maria Olazabal in 1999. Why has European golf endured such a barren spell and will it end this year?
Ewen: These records go in cycles. We must also remember the performances of Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson during this period. We had our halcyon days from Seve's magical introduction in 1980 through to Ollie's second Masters in 1999. During that time, the Americans had to take a back seat. I would however say that our current crop of players have disappointed and their talents should have produced better results. Maybe this year they can stem the flow. Donald, Westwood, Poulter, Rose and McDowell are all capable. All are in their thirties, so the time is now.
skysports.com: So with that in mind, who is your player to watch at Augusta in 2013?
Ewen: I have been impressed by the form of Justin Rose during the last year. He has the calmness to succeed, the patience, the game to match the demands of Augusta and he has developed that excellent habit of winning. If his desire is 100 per cent, I believe he can win. I like Matt Kuchar for many of the same reasons and having tucked away the Players Championship and his first world golf championship in the last year, the natural progression for him is a major title. I think both will be there come Sunday afternoon.
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