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The Biggest Feuds/Rivalries in Masters History, Ranked

Published 04/06/2024, 8:30 AM EDT

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The Masters was inaugurated in the year 1934 and since then, it has crowned 64 players as champions. Undoubtedly, each year, the strongest golfers from various leagues battle it out at the Augusta National Golf Club. Vying for one of the most prestige titles brings out phenomenal gameplay. However, the extremely competitive environment also brews some healthy or not-so-healthy rivalries among the players.

Over the 88 years, the on-course rivalry did add a bit more dramatic touch, which sometimes has also shocked the golf world. Nonetheless, they are etched into the history of the event and have at times, urged many to watch the Masters more. Here are four such memorable rivalries straight from the Augusta greens.

4. 2005 Masters: Vijay Sign vs Phil Mickelson

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Although it was Tiger Woods who won the Masters in 2005, before he did that on Sunday, the spotlight was on Phil Mickelson and Vijay Singh. Singh was the world number one then and Mickelson was the defending champion. What transpired was that Mickelson was wearing larger-than-usual spikes, which were still under the legal limit. However, Mickelson’s footwear did not sit well with Singh. The latter noticed spike marks that were left by Lefty’s shoes. Since the LIV golfer was in a group ahead of him.

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Singh contacted the officials and Mickelson was checked twice while he took a shot on the 13th tee. Nothing happened on the course. However, the two took it into the locker room, and, per the eyewitnesses, they got into a “heated conversation.” But later, it surely resolved, as Mickelson explained that he just didn’t like how it was handled on the greens.

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3. Arnold Palmer vs Jack Nicklaus

Two legends of golf are next on the list, the Golden Bear and the King. If one adds the two golfers’ Masters wins, it tallies up to 10 victories. Palmer won the Masters four times in his life, while Nicklaus won it six times and held the most-win record. The two had dominated the sport all through the early 1960s and late 1970s. Even though, near the end of their careers, the two became best friends, initially they were arch rivals.

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In the book ‘Arnie & Jack’ by Ian O’Connor, he said, “Jack had the trophies that Arnold wanted, but Jack didn’t have the love of the fans that Arnold had.” The two were envious of each other as they rivaled. However, it later uplifted the game of golf for the better.

2. 1996 Masters: Greg Norman vs Nick Faldo

It was the third time Greg Norman was the runner-up at Masters. But the way he lost his lead was devastating. Coming into the final round, Norman had a six-stroke lead. However, soon he lost too many bogeys, and Nick Faldo slowly yet steadily took charge. After a slip-up on the 15th hole, Norman lost hope and the green jacket. Faldo won his third Masters over Norman. The Great White Shark was indeed not happy with Faldo’s win.

The dramatic turn of events made Norman cry after it ended and it is still remembered as one of the most tragic losses at the Masters. After all, Norman could never win the green jacket.

1. Tiger Woods vs Phil Mickelson

Woods-Mickelson were the two who created havoc during the peak of their careers in the 2000s. For Woods, his first win at Augusta came in 1997 and then he went on to win the green jacket four more times in 2011, 2002, and 2005. When Mr. T did not win the green jacket, it was Lefty, with his exemplary left-handed skills, that took the glory.

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He has won the Masters three times: in 2004, 2006 and 2010. While Mickelson is argued to be the most successful left-handed golfer at Augusta National, Woods holds the title of most wins after Jack Nicklaus. The two will now be coming back to the 88th Masters, enticing further excitement in the masses to watch them play against each other.

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Which is your favorite rivalry of all time? Tell us in the comments.

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Written by:

Khambe Huda Imran

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Huda Khambe is a Golf Writer for EssentiallySports. Growing up watching Tiger Woods and Annika Sorenstam bag one major after the other, Huda Khambe set herself on a path to becoming a sports writer early on. With a year of prior experience in writing, Huda now brings the greens to life with her unique insights on her favorite storylines, such as Jack Nicklaus's record rivalry with Tiger Woods and its impact on both stars.
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Edited by:

Tushhita Barua

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