Commentary

Mize refuses to replicate historic shot

Updated: April 10, 2013, 10:51 PM ET
By Bob Harig | ESPN.com

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Here is one really neat tidbit about the Larry Mize shot, the one at the top of ESPN's list of the top 10 shots in Masters history: He has never tried to duplicate it.

Mize, an Augusta, Ga., native, has played the storied course numerous times since his 1987 playoff victory over Greg Norman and Seve Ballesteros, the one in which he holed a pitch shot from off the 11th green in a sudden-death playoff.

Surely by now you've seen the shot -- the seemingly impossible up-and-down he had from the right of the green; Norman on the front edge in two, seemingly destined to win the green jacket; Mize hoping to get it somewhere close with a reasonable chance to save par.

Planning to play a bump-and-run shot, Mize still chose a 56-degree wedge, figuring he needed the loft because the greens were so fast.

"I picked a spot and landed it right there," he said.

The ball tracked toward the cup and dropped for birdie, sending Mize dancing around the green, his purple shirt still popping out of the screen.

Norman was felled by a holed shot from off the green to lose a second straight major. He still had a putt to tie, but nobody ever figured he would make it from there. He thought he'd have two putts to win; instead, he needed to hole it not to lose.

And Mize was the winner.

Now 54, Mize still returns to play the tournament every year. And while he has shown many people the place from where he hit -- and been near it a time or two after an errant approach -- he has steadfastly refused to try to reproduce the shot.

"The thing is, if I go back and hit the shot again, then my memory is not of the shot," Mize said. "Now when I see the shot, it keeps the memory pure. It's one of the great decisions I've made. I've never gone back. The only way I go over there is if I hit the ball in that area during the tournament. It keeps it a great memory."



Bob Harig | email

Golf Writer, ESPN.com