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The storied stage of Augusta National holds in its corners stories of many heartbreaks that never reach the Butler’s Cabin. The cries and the frustration stay behind the roars of triumph and elation. But as the 2024 Masters inches closer, we take a look back at the not-so-glorious moments in the Masters vault.

From Greg Norman’s 1996 collapse to Arnold Palmer’s 12th hole controversy at the 1958 Masters, here are five unfortunate moments in the Masters history. 

The controversy that threatened Arnold Palmer’s legacy

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Arnold Palmer’s maiden Green Jacket didn’t come without any controversy. When his ball plugged in the 12th green, Palmer thought he was entitled to a relief. But rules officials made him play from there. The 28-year-old made a 5 but played another ball to make three. The rules officials went ahead with 3. His playing partner, Ken Venturi vehemently opposed it and decades later wrote in a book that, “I firmly believe that he did wrong and that he knows that I know he did wrong.” 

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Jordan Spieth’s water travails at 2016 Masters 

Jordan Spieth was at the cusp of defending his Green Jacket in 2016, becoming the only fourth person in the history of the Tournament to do so. Instead, the 13-time PGA Tour started with two bogeys at the turn. At the 12th, Spieth plunged two balls into the water carding a quadruple bogey. From a five-shot lead on Saturday, Spieth eventually finished tied for the second three shots behind Danny Willett.


Rory McIlroy almost earned the green jacket 

To even think that Masters could’ve been the first Major of Rory McIlroy’s career is almost unbelievable now. Yet, that was the case in 2011. The young Ulsterman was the leader until the very end. However, on Sunday, a triple bogey on the 10th started a downtrend for the Northern Irishman. Two bogeys and a double bogey later, Rory McIlroy was 8-over 80 tied for the 15th. 

Tiger Woods bites the dust at the 2023 Masters

Last year, Tiger Woods matched the record for most consecutive cuts, 23, brushing shoulders with Gary Player and Fred Couples. But on the rain-soaked Saturday, Woods made a couple of bogeys and double-bogeys before eventually announcing “I am disappointed to have to WD this morning due to reaggravating my plantar fasciitis.” His ankle would keep him out of greens for another seven months.

Read More: The Masters 2024: 5 Most Insane Rules of Augusta National Explored

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Greg Norman shocker in 1996 Masters

Heading to the final round, Greg Norman had a six-shot lead. However, Norman collapsed in the final round. A 2-over front nine reduced his lead to just two strokes. Furthermore, three consecutive bogeys on 9,10,11 and a double bogey on the 12th meant Norman was two behind. What started with an opening round 63, ended in despair for the Aussie with 6-over 78. 

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Nick Faldo went on to win his third Green Jacket. This was also the third time Greg Norman was a runner-up at the Masters. Norman’s collapse coupled with his history of coming runner-ups at Majors is still the most tragic final-round blunder by any golfer. Norman revealed he himself lost all hope after his chip-in on the 15th didn’t go in.

Read More: What Is Par-3 Contest? All About the Fan-Favorite Masters Tradition Explored

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