FILE PHOTO: Six-time Masters champion Jack Nicklaus puts his arms around four-time Masters champion Arnold Palmer and three-time Masters champion Gary Player after the three completed the first round at the 2000 Masters at Augusta National. Picture: Reuters
FILE PHOTO: Six-time Masters champion Jack Nicklaus puts his arms around four-time Masters champion Arnold Palmer and three-time Masters champion Gary Player after the three completed the first round at the 2000 Masters at Augusta National. Picture: Reuters

WATCH: The South Africans who have worn the famous Masters green jacket

By Jacques van der Westhuyzen Time of article published Apr 10, 2020

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JOHANNESBURG   The 84th edition of the Masters would have teed off in Augusta, Georgia, this week. But, like so many other sporting events around the world, the tournament - where Tiger Woods is defending champion - has been postponed due to the outbreak of the coronavirus.

Here, to reminisce and feed your hunger for some golf news, Jacques van der Westhuyzen looks back at the five occasions when South Africans were handed the famous green jacket

2011 - Charl Schwartzel

It was the Masters that Rory McIlroy should have won. The Northern Irishman had held at least a share of the lead after the first three rounds and went into the final day with a four-stroke lead. He had been in stupendous form. But, a bad run around the turn allowed a host of other players, including Schwartzel, to catch him. The South African was tied for seventh after the first round and after day three was tied for second, four off McIlroy. While McIlroy ended up shooting an 80 in the final to finish 10 strokes back, Schwartzel shot a stunning 66, including birdieing the final four holes, to win by two strokes.

2009 - Trevor Immelman

The richly talented South African was in the form of his life as he started strongly and ended equally well to win the 72nd edition by three strokes over Tiger Woods. After an opening 68 Immelman was tied for the lead with Justin Rose but he claimed a one shot lead after round two, following a second straight 68. After a third round 69, Immelman (-11) went into the final day with a two-shot lead over Brandt Snedeker (-9). On a difficult final day, Immelman shot 75, while a charging Tiger Woods came home in 72 strokes, while the other challenges fell by the wayside. In the end, Immelman won by three for the biggest day in his golfing life.

1978 - Gary Player

There is no doubt Player’s third triumph at Augusta was his best and most thrilling. The Black Knight overcame a quite unbelievable seven-shot deficit going into the final round to win by one stroke by shooting a fourth round, record-tying 64 (-8). The 42-year-old was tied for 10th at the start of the final round, with the likes of Seve Ballesteros, Lee Trevino, Hale Irwin and Tom Watson all ahead of him and in the hunt, and shot 30, with six birdies, on the back nine. It was Player’s ninth Major championship win.

1974 - Gary Player

The seventh Major victory by Player came a year after he had to withdraw from the 1973 tournament due to leg and abdominal surgery - the only Masters he missed in 53 years. It was his second triumph at Augusta and he won by two strokes with a score of 278 (-10). After a slow start to the tournament - he didn’t feature in the top 10 after rounds one and two with a pair of 71s - he shot 66 in round three to shoot up the leaderboard to be one behind leader Dave Stickton going into the final round. Player ten finished with a steady 70 to win by two from Stockton and Tom Weiskopf.

1961 - Gary Player

The South African became the first international player to win the tournament after the final round on Sunday had been scrapped due to water on the course (even though some players had finished their rounds) and replayed on the Monday. It was 25-year-old Player’s first Masters triumph and second Major overall. After an opening 69, Player was one off the pace, held jointly by Arnold Palmer, and shot 68 in round two to join Palmer at -7 at the top of the leaderboard. A third round 69 and a 73 by Palmer saw the South African take a four-shot lead into the final round. A final round 74 saw Player finish at -8 and when Palmer double-bogey the final hole for a 71, it was the South African who finished on top, by one stroke.

@jacq_west


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