via Imago

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It has been 88 years since the first Masters Tournament started. In nearly nine decades, the event has crowned 54 different champions and created several memorable moments that will be remembered for years to come. Among these, there were some heartwarming ones when Hideki Matsuyama won as the first Japanese and his caddie paid tribute to Augusta National with a bow.

Or the moment when Rory McIlroy was to win the Masters at the Augusta National in 2011, but cruelly lost the lead in the back nines and started his complicated relationship with the green jacket. There might be many more such moments if one digs into the rich history of the Masters. However, today it is about the five most controversial moments that you might have forgotten but are and will always be etched in history.

5. 2009 Rory McIlroy


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In 2009, Rory McIlroy made his debut at the 74th Masters. At par-4 on the on the 18th, the Northern Irishman was prepared to play his last hole of round two. However, his ball was in the sand bunker near the hole, and when he couldn’t get it out, seemingly, McIlroy kicked the sand in anger. A few minutes later, he signed the card.

Rumors about him breaching rule 13-4 started, and the 4-time was on the verge of being disqualified. However, the committee took in McIlroy’s explanation that he was only smoothing the sand and not showing a fit.

4. 2013 Tiger Woods

In 2013, though Tiger Woods didn’t win another green jacket, he was still talked about in the tabloids. The 15-time major champion took his third shot for the par-5 15th hole. Just for his ball to hit the flagstick and end up in the pond. Woods went back to his place and kept the ball a couple of yards back from the original place.

The mishap wasn’t reported on the day of round two. The very next Augusta National penalized two strokes for the 5-time Masters winner and took accountability for not informing Woods sooner.

3. 2003 Martha Burk 

Martha Burk, a women’s activist back then, was utterly frustrated with the R&A not including women in its committee or giving them any membership. To rebel against the discriminatory policy, Burk wrote a letter to Hootie Johnson (then chairman). However, his reply troubled the activist more, as he said the policy would not change “at the point of a bayonet.” Burk then announced a rally for the 2003 Masters. Though only 40 people joined, it became a huge talking point, and no one sponsored the 2003 and 2004 editions.

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In 2012, the Augusta National Policy changed, and two women, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and South Carolina banker Darla Moore, were added as members. The most recent female member to join the ANGC is Annika Sorenstam from the LPGA Tour.

2. 1968: Roberto De Vicenzo 

Remember Jordan Spieth being disqualified from the 2024 Genesis for signing the scorecard wrong? Something similar happened in 1968 too but at the grander stage. But it was not the golfer but the attester, Tommy Aaron. For the par-4 18th hole, Vicenzo shot a birdie putt. However, Aaron recorded it as a bogey, and the Argentine golfer missed the chance to play in a playoff against Bob Goalby, who went on to win the Masters that year. There was quite a discussion on what the outcome should be, but the committee settled on the signed score.

1. 1958 Arnold Palmer 


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It was a historic year for Arnold Palmer. That year, Arnie won the Masters for the first time, but not without a controversial moment surrounding it. For the final round, Palmer was paired with Ken Venturi. The duo were playing the par-3 12th hole when the 4-time Masters champion’s ball went into the bank between the bunker and a fringe.

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The rule official denied Palmer a free drop, and he ended up making a double bogey. However, he went back to the original spot and hit a provisional shot, making a par putt. Later, the official backtracked on his statement and gave Palmer the score for the second, which was three. He then won his green jacket, and Venturi was left lost for words.


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In the history of Masters, many could have been the many moments that aren’t listed here. Share your favorite one in the comments!

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