Mize and Lyle to play final Masters; Hoge wins Par 3 Contest

AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — Larry Mize and Sandy Lyle delivered two of the most memorable shots in Masters history in consecutive years.

Mize, the first champion born in Augusta, holed a 140-foot chip from right of the 11th green in the second hole of a playoff to beat Greg Norman in 1987, probably the one shot that haunts Norman the most. The next year, Lyle hit 7-iron from the fairway bunker on the 18th hole to 10 feet and made the birdie putt to win.

Now they are linked again. They announced this will be their final year playing the Masters.

“As they were in 1988, when Larry presented the green jacket to Sandy, they are connected again this week,” Masters Chairman Fred Ridley said. “We commend them for their fine play over four decades and for representing the Masters so well. Rest assured, their victories will forever be remembered.”

This is Mize’s 40th consecutive Masters, while Lyle was part of the “Big Five” from Europe who once seemingly ruled the Masters. Lyle, Bernhard Langer, Seve Ballesteros, Ian Woosnam and Nick Faldo combined to win nine times between 1980 and 1996, including a stretch of seven wins in 12 years.

The news was shared with the 33 champions at the Masters club dinner Tuesday night.

“Larry got a little emotional,” two-time champion Jose Maria Olazabal said. “He had a hard time trying to speak. Actually, he didn’t. It was a very emotional dinner. So it was nice.”


Tom Hoge aced the eighth hole over Ike’s Pond on his way to winning the Par 3 Contest on Wednesday.

Hoge received a crystal vase for the hole-in-one, a crystal bowl for his winning round of 6 under, and some steep history to overcome: No winner of the Par 3 Contest, which goes back to 1960, has gone on to win the Masters.

“I made a few birdies early and then the hole-in-one on 8, so that was cool to see that go in,” Hoge said after walking off the recently renovated Par 3 Course in the northeast corner of the property. “Just a fun day out here this afternoon.”

Bubba Watson also had a hole-in-one and finished second at 5 under, while Seamus Power stole the show with back-to-back aces, joining Claude Harman in 1968 and Toshi Izawa in 2002 as the only players to accomplish the feat.

“Obviously to get one was special,” Power said, “but to get the second one was a bit surreal.”


Ridley tipped his hand without trying to during his annual news conference Wednesday when it came to the USGA and R&A proposal for a modified local rule rolling back the golf ball.

It would mean tournaments could choose to require a different ball, and use it to curtail distance, and it’s clear the U.S. Open and British Open will go along. It’s not a done deal, though, as the comment period goes through Augusta.

“Our position has always been that we support the governing bodies,” Ridley said of the Masters. “I think, in a general sense, we do support the proposal, but because it’s in the middle of a comment period, it could change. … So we will look at the final product and make a decision.

“We believe distance needs to be addressed,” Ridley added. “I think the natural conclusion is, yes, we will be supportive.”


Even as Augusta National said in December it would keep its criteria for invitations, which allowed LIV Golf players to get in, Ridley offered a reminder that the club looks at every aspect of the Masters and was open to changes.

The ones made this year were minor, though.

The Masters offered a special invitation to Gordon Sargent, the NCAA champion from Vanderbilt, and starting next year the college champion will be a permanent category. That means seven amateurs will be offered spots.

Everything else was roughly the same. The Masters added language similar to the U.S. Open that says those that qualify and are eligible for the Tour Championship will be offered invitations. Talor Gooch qualified for East Lake by being in the top 30 in FedEx Cup points, but he wasn’t eligible because the PGA Tour suspended him for joining LIV Golf.

The language also was tweaked on giving spots to winners of PGA Tour events offering full FedEx Cup points, only because starting in 2024 the tour is going away from a wraparound season. The short version: Players winning tournaments in the fall will still get into the Masters.


Blue skies, puffy white clouds and warm, humid temperatures greeted players for their final practice rounds Wednesday, but the forecast for the weekend calls for much different conditions around Augusta National.

The opening round Thursday will still be warm, with highs in the mid-80s, but rain is expected to move through the area on Friday. With it comes a cold front, dropping highs into the 50s, and there is a near-100% chance of rain this weekend.

“I think it will be a long week,” Patrick Cantlay said. “Usually when there’s weather, the rounds drag on and it looks like there may be some delays as well. I imagine the golf course will play particularly long this year.”

That also doesn’t bode well for players such as Tiger Woods, whose bodies get a bit creaky when temperatures take a dive.

Asked whether he’d seen the forecast, Woods replied: “Oh, yeah. I’ve seen it.”

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