The Masters: Six of the best
This year's Masters, which starts on Thursday, is shaping up to be a classic with all the favourites in fine form.
Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Rory McIlroy, Luke Donald and Justin Rose have all won this season and if you are not excited about the year's first major there's not much we can do for you.
Apart, that is, from have a look back over some of the best Masters in the last 30 years and ask, which is the greatest?
Of course, it's subjective and everyone has their own reasons and allegiances, but here are six of the best to kick you off.
Last year is not a bad place to start in the hunt for the best Masters. A new king seemingly marching to his coronation, the old monarch making a final-day charge, and a host of young pretenders jousting for the title on a tumultuous Sunday afternoon.
Having led for three rounds, Rory McIlroy strode onto the first tee with a four-shot cushion but few could have foreseen his transformation from heir apparent to fallen idol.
Up ahead, roars ricocheted around Augusta as players made their move. McIlroy was under fire immediately, his lead wiped out after his own bogey at the first and Charl Schwartzel's early fireworks - a birdie at the first and an eagle at the third.
Still clinging to a one-shot lead on the 10th tee, the vulnerable McIlroy hooked his drive into the trees. A triple bogey followed, and with it a collapse that proved terminal.
The destiny of the Green Jacket shifted elsewhere. Eyes were on stalks as Tiger Woods surged into contention. But the four-time champion's charge came up short and he finished fourth for the second straight year.
The momentum flicked here and there, like a flock of starlings on the wing, with eight players holding the lead at some stage on Sunday.
But out of the madness emerged Schwartzel, the South African making birdies on the last four holes to win by two shots from Australians Adam Scott and Jason Day. The crestfallen McIlroy limped home in 80. Two months later his redemption came with an utterly dominant US Open triumph.
There is nothing a Masters crowd likes better than an American on the charge and there is no-one who fires them up more than Phil Mickelson.
So when "Lefty", bidding for a fairytale third Green Jacket after a year in which his wife and mother were diagnosed with breast cancer, launched a run of eagle-eagle-birdie from the 13th on Saturday, the roars resembled howitzers. Tiger Woods and veteran Fred Couples played their part, but it was Mickelson's magic that sparked the fireworks. Still trailing leader Lee Westwood by one going into Sunday, Mickelson again lit the touch paper on the back nine.
A birdie at the short 12th gave him a two-shot lead over the Englishman. And then came the shot that will go down in Masters folklore. Seizing the moment, like a gambler inclined to twist when sticking would be more sensible, Mickelson hit a 207-yard six iron from the pine needles, through a five-foot gap between two trees, over a tributary of Rae's Creek, and to within four feet of the pin on the long 13th.
Electricity crackled through the galleries and the cheers again threatened to shake the pines from their roots. He missed the eagle, but Mickelson's swashbuckling gave him the impetus for further birdies on 15 and 18 and he surged to a three-shot win over a shell-shocked Westwood.
Ragged and regal in almost equal measure, Woods's scrap with fellow American Chris DiMarco might not have been the prettiest of his nine major wins up to that point but it had emotion, guts and a shot that ranks among the all-time Augusta classics.
Without a major title for almost three years, and with father Earl absent with cancer and heart problems, Woods trailed halfway leader DiMarco by six, but was three clear going into the final round after a stunning third-round 65.
But he could still not shake off the dogged DiMarco, and standing on the 16th tee in the shadows of late Sunday afternoon, his lead was down to one. Woods then fired his tee shot over the green and looked on the ropes. He needed some magic, but what followed was almost supernatural.
Chipping up, the ball took a right turn and teased its way down towards the cup, dropping with its last gasp of energy to a noise akin to thunder. But the drama was not over. Woods messed up 17 and 18 and DiMarco squandered a chance to clinch the title on 18.
A sudden-death play-off followed, and Woods dealt the fatal blow on the first extra hole. "I want to dedicate this to my father," Woods said. "I could feel him out there with me."
In these four days, golf changed irrevocably. At just 21 years of age, Woods became the youngest Masters winner ever when he romped to his first major title with a record 12-shot victory.
In his first major as a professional - he had played in two Masters as an amateur (tied 41st in 1995, missed cut in 1996) - Woods carded 70, 66, 65, 69 to break Jack Nicklaus's 1965 tournament scoring record by one shot.
Woods played a game that was streets ahead of his contemporaries, combining athleticism and raw power with pin-point accurate irons and a lethal putting stroke. Woods's length would lead many courses, including Augusta National, to add yardage - dubbed "Tiger-proofing" - to combat the new breed.
Woods's breakthrough win - watched at home by among others an almost eight-year-old Rory McIlroy - ushered in an era of soaring prize money, massive TV audience figures, increased focus on physical fitness and the start of a golfing legacy that may yet have further to run. Anyone remember who came second and third in 1997? (*answer below)
Not so much a tale of one man's triumph, more a glimpse into another man's tragedy. Nick Faldo may have won his third Green Jacket but the 1996 Masters will forever be remembered as the one Greg Norman threw away.
The Australian shot a course-record 63 in the first round and led playing partner Faldo by six going into Sunday, seemingly set for a first Masters title, after seven top-six finishes. But after 11 holes his lead was gone. Norman, rattled and taking ever longer over his shots, fired his tee shot to the short 12th into the water.
Now two ahead, Faldo the iceman kept up the pressure with birdies at 13 and 15. The Great White Shark again found water on the 16th and Faldo added a final birdie on 18 for a ruthless and clinical 67 to Norman's agonising 78 to win by five.
Showing uncharacteristic emotion, the Englishman embraced Norman at the end. "I don't know what to say," he whispered. "I'm sorry." A Norman collapse, or a Faldo assassination? Either way, another amazing chapter in Masters history.
The final selection has to go to Mr Augusta himself, Jack Nicklaus. The "Golden Bear" was in the twilight of his career at the age of 46, with five Green Jackets and 17 majors safely tucked away. A decent haul, many thought; time to rest on your laurels, milk the appreciation of the fans, relax.
A newspaper article at the start of the week even labelled Nicklaus "washed up". But Jack had other ideas.
Twenty-three years after landing his first Masters title, Nicklaus began the final day four behind leader Norman but an inspired back nine of 30, including an eagle-birdie-birdie streak from the 15th, gave him a 65 to beat Norman and Tom Kite by one, with Seve Ballesteros a further stroke back.
"The noise was quadrophonic," said Nicklaus's playing partner Sandy Lyle. "We knew he'd done something special and it was a great privilege to watch it unfolding."
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*Tom Kite and Tommy Tolles.