75 years ago (1942): You think it’s difficult waiting 12 months for the next Masters? Try four years, especially after one of the greatest head-to-head battles in Augusta National history. In what would be the last Masters before World War II, Ben Hogan made up an eight-shot deficit against Byron Nelson over the final two rounds with scores of 67-70 to force an 18-hole playoff. Hogan led by three shots after four holes when Nelson battled back and took the lead at the turn. Nelson ran off birdies on the 11th, 12th, and 13th holes, and while Hogan answered with birdies on the next two holes, he never caught up. Nelson shot 69 to beat Hogan by one and win his second Masters. Hogan finally won his first of nine majors in 1946 at the PGA Championship.
50 years ago (1967): Gay Brewer remains the only player to follow a playoff loss at the Masters with a victory the following year. Brewer thought he had the 1966 Masters won until three-putting for bogey on the last hole to fall into a three-man playoff that Jack Nicklaus won. The next year, Brewer was two shots out of the lead going into the final round when he made three straight birdies starting on the 13th hole to take the lead. He closed with a 67 and held off Bobby Nichols by one shot to win his only major.
25 years ago (1992): The 1992 Masters was remembered as much for a blade of grass as any shot. Fred Couples, who had just returned to No. 1 in the world, had a three-shot lead when his 8-iron to the par-3 12th faded to the right, came up short and then began the slow roll toward Rae’s Creek. And then it stopped, held up by a blade of grass, which Couples called the ”biggest break of my life.” He chipped up and saved his par, closed with a 70 and held on for a two-shot victory over Raymond Floyd, who at 49 would have been the oldest major champion in history.
20 years ago (1997): This really was a Masters for the ages, and 21-year-old Tiger Woods had 20 records at Augusta National to show for it. Just over seven months after he won his third straight U.S. Amateur, Woods shot 40 on the front nine and a 30 on the back nine to stay in the game. And then, it was game over. Woods shot 66 the next day for a three-shot lead over Colin Montgomerie, and then a 65 in the third round to build a nine-shot lead. He was hitting pitching wedge into par 5s and playing Augusta National like it had never been played. Woods closed with a 69 to set the 72-hole scoring record (270) with a 12-shot victory. Adding to this historic occasion was Woods becoming the first player of black heritage to win a green jacket. And that was only the start.
10 years ago (2007): Zach Johnson described himself as a “”normal guy”” from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, though this was hardly a normal week. It was the first time Tiger Woods played in the final group of a major without winning. The weather was chilly, and the course was so firm and fast that Stuart Appleby had the 54-hole lead at 2-over 218, the highest score to lead the Masters going into the final round. Out of this chaos – five players had at least a share of the lead on Sunday – Johnson closed with a 69 for a two-shot victory. He finished at 289, matching the Master’s record set in 1956 for the highest winning score.