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Wednesday, November 19, 2003
Nicklaus oldest, Woods youngest to win Masters
By Larry Schwartz
Special to

April 13, 1986

Jack Nicklaus read the story about his chances for this year's Masters. He couldn't miss it. A friend had clipped the article from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and pasted it on the refrigerator of the Augusta home where the Nicklaus family stayed this week. "Nicklaus is done," the story said. "He's gone."

"I kept thinking all week, 'Through, washed up, huh?'" Nicklaus said. "I sizzled for a while."

But not like how he sizzles on the back nine in the final round today at Augusta National. Down by four strokes, he plays like the Golden Bear of another era. Driving awesomely long and putting deadly, he charges past the field with a brilliant 30 to shoot a 65 for the day and 279 for the tournament. He wins his sixth Masters green jacket by one stroke over Tom Kite (who misses a 12-foot birdie putt on the final hole) and Greg Norman (who bogeys 18).

At 46, Nicklaus is the oldest to win the Masters.

April 13, 1997

Exactly 11 years later, to the day, 21-year-old Tiger Woods becomes the youngest Masters winner. He also shatters several records with his astonishing performance in becoming the first African-American to win one of the four major championships.

His 69 today gives him a Masters record 18-under-par 270, breaking the mark of 271 shared by Nicklaus (1965) and Raymond Floyd (1976). His 12-stroke victory over runner-up Kite, a bridesmaid again, is the largest major championship victory margin in the 20th century, three better than the Masters record of nine set by Nicklaus in 1965.

"I've never played a whole tournament with my 'A' game, but this was pretty close, except for the first nine holes Thursday," Woods says.

About being the first of his race to win at Augusta, Woods says, "I wasn't the pioneer. Charlie Sifford, Lee Elder and Ted Rhodes played that role. I said a little prayer and said thanks to those guys. You are the ones who did it for me."

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