Tiger Woods' competition at the Masters this year is too fierce for the defending champion to "flip a switch" and return to contention, according to Nick Faldo.

Woods ended an 11-year wait for his 15th major as he triumphed at Augusta last April.

The 44-year-old subsequently won the ZOZO Championship in October 2019 but has since struggled for form.

Battling back problems, Woods finished in a tie for 37th at this year's US PGA Championship and missed the cut at the 2020 U.S. Open.

Faldo, a three-time Masters champion, does not expect last year's Augusta winner to suddenly rediscover his best form this week.

"Unfortunately, things are just more difficult for Tiger," he said. "He's a little bit older and the back hasn't been good.

"His back rules his everything - golf and life, probably. It rules his practice - that's very important. He cannot stand and hit putts like he used to, he can't put the work in.

"He certainly hasn't put the competitive reps in and he hasn't had the results. Everything is a challenge this week, the weather conditions, a physical walk.

"The bottom line is it's an extremely difficult test for Tiger this week to rekindle that amazing magic from last year.

"Can you flip a switch and say, 'I'll just have the greatest emotional week of possibly my career', showing his children he could still be a champion?

"I don't believe he could flip the switch on that. There's too many good players. There's 10 guys or more who are very long hitters, which is going to be key."

That brought Faldo onto Bryson DeChambeau, the longest driver on the PGA Tour, who was joint-fourth at the US PGA and won the U.S. Open, his first major success.

DeChambeau is among the favourites for the Masters and Faldo said: "He is a completely different animal, literally right now. He's spearheading the whole distance debate.

"But I'm a fan of his. He's done it physically and he's applied the science."

Faldo is less optimistic of Rory McIlroy's chances of finally ending his wait for a career grand slam at Augusta, where there will be no patrons.

The absence of spectators this year amid the coronavirus pandemic has coincided with a tough run of form for McIlroy.

"Rory seems like he's been one of the players who's suffered from a lack of atmosphere," Faldo said. "Rory feeds off that.

"He hasn't played his best, hasn't managed to get completely on a fantastic run."

Three-time Masters champion Nick Faldo believes playing Augusta this week will be no easier for the absence of patrons but the winning feeling on Sunday will be dampened.

A unique November Masters begins without spectators on Thursday, with the tournament moved from its usual April date due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Faldo, who won at Augusta in 1989, 1990 and 1996, believes the players will suffer as a result of fans being kept away.

And the six-time major winner foresees an awkward celebration for this year's victor, completely out of keeping with the scenes in 2019 as Tiger Woods ended an 11-year wait for one of golf's top prizes.

"It's going to be very different," Faldo said. "You're going to celebrate winning by turning, looking at your caddy and just giving a whatever, half high-five.

"There won't be any adrenaline like Tiger showed last year.

"It's probably quite sad for some guys. You win a tournament and go, 'Hi, thanks', and you get a little golf clap. It will hurt a little bit, because it's just not the same.

"The famous walk, coming up the 18th; I can promise you, the goosebumps. It's all unfortunately going to be less, it has to be less. It's one of the most wonderful walks coming down the 18th at a major to win.

"The Masters is so special because the whole green is engulfed with patrons, the famous scoreboards. It's all going to be very quiet.

"The good thing is there will still be a green jacket waiting at Butler Cabin. It will feel good by then, but it has to feel very different on the golf course."

Predicting the empty course could get under the skin of some players, Faldo added: "To play the Masters without even having any patron ropes lining any of the fairways is going to be a pretty weird feeling, a weird look.

"It's just you, just the golfers, so I think, in a way, it can actually increase the intensity or the pressure. It's just you coping with everything.

"Some players are [usually] able to reflect their emotion with the fans, with the patrons, a smile, a wink, a funny face, a reaction off a good shot, a great shot, a poor shot.

"Now it's all down to you, you and your caddy. That could wind some of them up as well.

"With no patrons around, people think it's easier. But at the Masters, playing the second nine for a green jacket, it will still have incredible intensity. Just you and your caddy.

"You'll probably be able to hear your own heartbeat, you'll certainly be able to feel it. It will be so silent, just you dealing with everything."

Jack Nicklaus finished just ahead of Tiger Woods to be crowned The Open For The Ages champion in a dramatic conclusion at St Andrews.

With the coronavirus outbreak having led to the cancellation of this year's Open, organisers created a celebratory edition involving some of the sport's greatest names, with archive footage used to recreate the action.

The winner was worked out through the combination of a fan vote and a data model that utilised career statistics and historical Open data.

Legendary duo Nicklaus and Woods were tied at the summit of the leaderboard on 12 under heading into the last day – and the pair did not disappoint in a thrilling final round.

After top spot had changed hands across an entertaining day, the crucial moment came on the penultimate hole when Woods – who has claimed two of his three Open victories at the St Andrews course – bogeyed.

Nicklaus, an 18-time major winner, had seen a birdie putt at the 17th drift narrowly wide but a par at the last was enough, the American completing a blemish-free 68 to win by a solitary shot from his compatriot.

Seve Ballesteros finished up in third on 15 under par, two clear of Tom Watson and Nick Faldo.

The 149th edition of the Championship had been scheduled to take place this week, but Royal St George's must wait another year due to the ongoing impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

St Andrews will next host the tournament in July 2022, as it celebrates its 150th edition.

The 149th Open Championship was scheduled to begin on Thursday, but Royal St George's must wait another year for its moment in the spotlight.

With coronavirus having led to the removal of golf's oldest major from the 2020 calendar, the Claret Jug will not be contested until next July.

In the absence of any links action, we have teamed up with our friends at Opta to bring you some of the best facts behind the postponed tournament.

 

- Royal St George's first hosted the tournament in 1894; the first time the Open Championship took place outside Scotland. 

- Only three courses have held the Open Championship on more occasions than Royal St George's (14); St Andrews (29), Prestwick (24) and Muirfield (16).

- This edition of the Open Championship was the first instance of the event being cancelled since World War Two.

- There has only been one play-off in the last 10 Open tournaments (2015); there had been four play-offs in the eight previous editions.

- Four of the last six Opens have been won by Europeans, more than any other major over the same period.

- Shane Lowry – victorious at Royal Portrush last year – was hoping to become the first player to win back-to-back Opens since Padraig Harrington in 2007 and 2008.

- Lowry won the 2019 Open Championship by a margin of six shots; he was the first golfer from the Republic of Ireland to win a major since Harrington won two of them in 2008 (The Open and US PGA Championship).

- Tiger Woods last won the Open in 2006 at Hoylake – if he were to win at Royal St George's, he would have set the longest gap between two Open victories (14 years).

- Nick Faldo is the last English player to win the Open, that victory coming 28 years ago in 1992 at Muirfield. In fact, since the turn of the century, only two Englishmen have won a major: Justin Rose (2013 US Open) and Danny Willett (2016 Masters).

- The last two editions of this competition have seen an Englishman finish as a runner-up: Tommy Fleetwood in 2019 and Rose tied for second in 2018.

With the 2020 Masters postponed amid the coronavirus pandemic, we have drawn from the well of the tournament's rich history to produce something unique.

From its inception in 1934 right up to last year's stunning triumph for Tiger Woods, this major has always delivered the goods.

While the Augusta course may lie dormant for now, echoes of a glorious past still ring around its verdant fairways and greens.

Using daily leaderboards from a selection of the most memorable editions of the event, we have created a Fantasy Masters.

And here is how a thrilling final round went down...

 

Jordan Spieth (2015) edged out Tiger Woods (1997) on the second play-off hole to win the Fantasy Masters following a thrilling tussle between the two American young guns.

The pair, both just 21, went out in the final group at Augusta as Spieth started Sunday's round with a one-stroke lead over Woods and Raymond Floyd (1976).

Spieth headed to the 18th eyeing a record low score, having become the first player to reach 19 under, but he fluffed his lines with a bogey as Woods capitalised to record a par and force his rival into a play-off.

After both sunk nerveless pars, Spieth stepped it up a gear on the 10th, draining a birdie putt to earn the green jacket following a wire-to-wire triumph.

Spieth racked up a record 28 birdies, finishing an aggregate 12 under on the par fives to underline his clinical brilliance.

Floyd came mighty close to making it a three-way title tussle but, after birdies at 12 and 15, he could not find another gain to force the issue.

Another home hope left to rue a missed opportunity was Patrick Reed (2018), whose 71 was his worst round of the week as he closed on 15 under.

Spain's Seve Ballesteros (1980) squandered an even better chance. Having got to 16 under at the turn following a fine front-nine 33, he ended up signing for an even-par 72 to finish five strokes off the pace.

Ben Crenshaw (1995), a winner here in 1984, took fifth place ahead of Ballesteros and Fred Couples (1992) with a 68.

At the wrong end of the leaderboard, Nick Faldo (1996), Arnold Palmer (1964) and Angel Cabrera (2009) ended on 12 under.

 

WHAT THEY SAID

Jordan Spieth: "It's the most incredible week of my life. This is as great as it gets in our sport. I'm still kind of shock a little bit."

LEADERBOARD

Jordan Spieth (2015) -18 (won on second play-off hole)

Tiger Woods (1997) -18

Raymond Floyd (1976) -17

Patrick Reed (2018) -15

Ben Crenshaw (1995) -14

Seve Ballesteros (1980) -13

Fred Couples (1992) -13

Angel Cabrera (2009) -12

Arnold Palmer (1964) -12

Nick Faldo (1996) -12

*Play-off result determined by average score, rounded to nearest whole number, on 18th and 10th holes across all four rounds

As sporting drama goes, few things are more reliably captivating than the final round of the Masters.

On what would have been Masters Sunday eve, we take a look at how the previous six Augusta finales have played out.

 

2014

Champion: Bubba Watson

Margin of victory: Three shots

Position after R3: T1 (with Jordan Spieth)

Final-round summary: Tournament debutant Spieth threatened to pull off a major shock when he pulled two clear of fellow third-round leader Watson - the 2012 winner - through seven holes on Sunday. However, a four-shot swing over the next two put Watson in charge and he ultimately triumphed with relative comfort. Spieth and Jonas Blixt finished three shots off the pace in second as Watson completed a 69 to secure his second victory at Augusta in three years.

 

2015

Champion: Jordan Spieth

Margin of victory: Four shots

Position after R3: 1 (leading by four)

Final-round summary: Twelve months on from his impressive debut, Spieth was a class above the rest as he cruised to a remarkable, record-breaking success. Only 21 at the time, the Texan had led after each of the first three days and demonstrated supreme composure to retain a healthy advantage over the final 18 holes. Spieth's lead was never less than three on Sunday and he equalled the lowest score in tournament history - matching Woods' aggregate of 270 in 1997 - despite bogeying the final hole. Justin Rose and Phil Mickelson, his nearest challengers, were four shots adrift.

2016

Champion: Danny Willett

Margin of victory: Three shots

Position after R3: T5 (three off the lead)

Final-round summary: Spieth looked set to record another wire-to-wire win and prevail by an even greater margin when he birdied four holes in a row to open up a five-shot lead with nine holes to play. Yet a stunning collapse lay ahead as he followed bogeys at the 10th and 11th by finding the water twice on his way to a staggering quadruple-bogey seven at the short 12th. That nightmare for Spieth left Willett in charge, the Englishman having just birdied the 13th and 14th holes up ahead. Willett could have buckled under the pressure, but he duly picked up another shot on 16 and parred the last two to finish three clear of Spieth and Lee Westwood at five under. 

 

2017

Champion: Sergio Garcia

Margin of victory: Play-off

Position after R3: T1 (with Justin Rose)

Final-round summary: For the second year running, the closing stages of the Masters provided outstanding drama, as Garcia and Rose slugged it out in a titanic duel. So often the nearly man in majors, Garcia was three clear of Rose after five holes but appeared likely to fall short once again as he slipped behind early on the back nine. A miraculous par save at 13 and an eagle at 15 revived the Spaniard, yet he then missed a five-footer for the win on the final hole. Amid increasing tension, Garcia eventually broke his major duck in a play-off, making birdie to Rose's bogey when the pair returned to the 18th. 

 

2018

Champion: Patrick Reed

Margin of victory: Two shots

Position after R3: 1 (leading by three)

Final-round summary: Rory McIlroy was chasing a career Grand Slam and expected to provide the biggest challenge to Reed, who began Sunday three clear at the top of the leaderboard. However, McIlroy slumped to a 74 and it was left to Rickie Fowler and a charging Spieth to threaten Reed's position. Spieth put together a stunning 64, but came up two short as Reed pipped Fowler by one with a closing 71 and earned his maiden major title.

2019

Champion: Tiger Woods

Margin of victory: One shot

Position after R3: T2 (two off the lead)

Final-round summary: Stormy weather meant an early start and groups of three, with players going off the first and 10th tees. Former Open champion and 2018 Ryder Cup hero Francesco Molinari's bid for Masters glory was derailed when he found the water at 15, a hole where Tiger Woods carded a birdie to assume the outright lead. Another gain followed at 16 and the likes of Xander Schauffele, Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka could not keep pace. A bogey at the last was enough to secure Woods' fifth green jacket, 14 years after the previous one.

With the 2020 Masters postponed amid the coronavirus pandemic, we have drawn from the well of the tournament's rich history to produce something unique.

From its inception in 1934 right up to last year's stunning triumph for Tiger Woods, this major has always delivered the goods.

While the Augusta course may lay dormant for now, echoes of a glorious past still ring around its verdant fairways and greens.

Using daily leaderboards from a selection of the most memorable editions of the event, we have created a Fantasy Masters.

And here is how a thrilling third round went down...

 

Tiger Woods (1997) carded a stunning 65 to move to within one stroke of Fantasy Masters leader Jordan Spieth (2015).

The young duo, both just 21, face stiff competition from Raymond Floyd (1976), who sits level with Woods on 15 under after recovering from a double-bogey six at the 11th to sign for a 70.

Seve Ballesteros (1980) cut the gap to the summit from five shots to three with a 68, leaving the Spaniard one behind Patrick Reed (2018) following the American's excellent 67.

Woods, who shot a 66 on Friday, went one better in round three, where he piled the pressure on Spieth, who is eyeing a wire-to-wire triumph.

Having started the day six shots behind Spieth, Woods was quick out of the blocks and made the first of four front-nine gains on the second hole.

He put the seal on a fine Augusta outing by birdieing the last to conclude a blemish-free round that stood in stark contrast to Spieth's scorecard.

Spieth's 70 saw him struggle badly on the par fours, where he was three over – seven shots worse than his first-round effort – and a run of four birdies in five holes was largely undone by a a bogey at 14 and a double at 17.

A field shorn of the likes of Jack Nicklaus (1965) and Gary Player (1978) following the cut is now tightly packed heading into the final round, although Nick Faldo (1996) slipped well off the pace.

The Englishman, who won back-to-back Masters titles in 1989 and 1990, posted a scruffy 73 which included a double bogey and five other dropped shots, salvaged slightly by a birdie at the last.

Arnold Palmer (1964), who only narrowly made the weekend, was one of four players to register a 69, along with Fred Couples (1992), Angel Cabrera (2009) and Ben Crenshaw (1995).

 

LEADERBOARD

Jordan Spieth (2015) -16

Tiger Woods (1997) -15

Raymond Floyd (1976) -15

Patrick Reed (2018) -14

Seve Ballesteros (1980) -13

Fred Couples (1992) -11

Angel Cabrera (2009) -11

Arnold Palmer (1964) -10

Ben Crenshaw (1995) -10

Nick Faldo (1996) -7

With the 2020 Masters postponed amid the coronavirus pandemic, we have drawn from the well of the tournament's rich history to produce something unique.

From its inception in 1934 right up to last year's stunning triumph for Tiger Woods, this major has always delivered the goods.

While the Augusta course may lay dormant for now, echoes of a glorious past still ring around its verdant fairways and greens.

Using daily leaderboards from a selection of the most memorable editions of the event, we have created a Fantasy Masters.

And here is how a thrilling second round went down...

 

Jack Nicklaus (1965) remarkably failed to make the cut as Jordan Spieth (2015) and Raymond Floyd (1976) pulled clear of the chasing pack on day two of the Fantasy Masters.

Spieth, who came up just short of an Augusta course record when he shot an opening 64, carded a 66 on Friday to maintain his one-stroke lead over Floyd.

But there was a huge shock lower down the leaderboard as Nicklaus, two years on from claiming the green jacket, fluffed his lines on Amen Corner to ensure he will miss the weekend.

Nicklaus bogeyed the 11th, 12th and 13th, ensuring his back-to-back gains at the 15th and 16th came in a fruitless effort.

He was far from the only big name to drop out of the tournament, with Tom Watson (1977) and Gary Player (1978) also missing the cut, along with Ben Hogan (1953), Phil Mickelson (2010) and Charl Schwartzel (2011).

The big movers were Tiger Woods (1997) and Patrick Reed (2018), who both signed for a 66, leaving them on eight and nine under respectively.

Spieth and Floyd's relative comfort at the summit owes much to the fact Seve Ballesteros (1980) could not keep the pressure on, despite a late rally.

After slipping below the cut mark with six holes left, the Spaniard birdied four of the next five to end the day third, but five shots from the top.

Arnold Palmer (1964) survived an even closer call with the cut line, the 34-year-old keeping his nerve to make a decisive three on the par-four 18th.

Other players who kept their hopes alive were Nick Faldo (1996), Fred Couples (1992), Angel Cabrera (2009) and Ben Crenshaw (1995).

 

WHAT THEY SAID

Paul Azinger: "He [Tiger Woods] didn't miss a putt inside 10 feet. If he's going to drive it great and not miss a putt inside 10 feet, he is going to beat you."

Gary Player: "One of the things I am is an eternal optimist. I was playing excellent golf, and I hadn't made any putts. But you have to keep on aiming at them."

 

LEADERBOARD

Jordan Spieth (2015) -14

Raymond Floyd (1976) -13

Seve Ballesteros (1980) -9

Patrick Reed (2018) -9

Tiger Woods (1997) -8

Nick Faldo (1996) -8

Fred Couples (1992) -8

Angel Cabrera (2009) -8

Arnold Palmer (1964) -7

Ben Crenshaw (1995) -7

-CUT-CUT-CUT-CUT-CUT-

Jack Nicklaus (1965) -6

Phil Mickelson (2010) -6

Tom Watson (1977) -5

Ben Hogan (1953) -5

Charl Schwartzel (2011) -4

Gary Player (1978) Even

With the 2020 Masters postponed amid the coronavirus pandemic, we have drawn from the well of the tournament's rich history to produce something unique.

From its inception in 1934 right up to last year's stunning triumph for Tiger Woods, this major has always delivered the goods.

While the Augusta course may lay dormant for now, echoes of a glorious past still ring around its verdant fairways and greens.

Using daily leaderboards from a selection of the most memorable editions of the event, we have created a Fantasy Masters.

And here is how a thrilling opening round went down...

 

Jordan Spieth (2015) leads a star-studded field after shooting a stunning 64 in the opening round of the Fantasy Masters.

The American sits proudly atop a leaderboard dominated by his compatriots, sinking nine birdies to reach eight under at Augusta.

Spieth, 21, was eyeing a course record until a bogey at the 15th slowed his progress, although he was not too downbeat.

"I wasn't aware what the course record was here, let alone that it actually would have been the lowest round in major championship history. So that's a little frustrating," he said, with Nick Price's 63 safe for now.

"But I'm certainly okay with the day."

However, he faces pressure from Raymond Floyd (1976), who birdied each of the four par fives to stay within one stroke of the summit.

Seve Ballesteros (1980) is flying the flag for Europe, the Spaniard taking a typically bold approach in his 66, putting him one ahead of Jack Nicklaus (1965) and Phil Mickelson (2010).

A scruffy start left Tiger Woods (1997) well off the pace at the turn, sitting four over, but he surged on the way home – highlighted by an eagle three at 15, where Spieth faltered – to sign for a lop-sided 70, taking 40 shots on the front nine and 30 on the back.

Argentina's Angel Cabrera (2009), winner of the 2007 U.S. Open, is in the frame after carding a 68, putting him a solitary stroke clear of a five-man chasing pack consisting of Arnold Palmer (1964), Nick Faldo (1996), Fred Couples (1992), Patrick Reed (2018) and Charl Schwartzel (2011).

Meanwhile, Ben Hogan (1953), Ben Crenshaw (1995) and Tom Watson (1977) matched Woods' score, with Gary Player (1978) propping up the pile as the only man failing to shoot an under-par score.

 

WHAT THEY SAID

Tiger Woods: "I was pretty hot going to the 10th tee. I couldn't keep the ball in the fairway. I couldn't attack the pin. I knew what I was doing wrong. I was in such a bad position at the top of the backswing, I was coming off the ball. But after I realised that, it was just a matter of trusting the motion."

Patrick Reed: "It was one of those steady days where you go out and play normal golf and let the birdies come to you. Around this place, pars are good. I was able to plop myself around and when I had an opportunity I capitalised on it."

LEADERBOARD

Jordan Spieth (2015) -8

Raymond Floyd (1976) -7

Seve Ballesteros (1980) -6

Jack Nicklaus (1965) -5 

Phil Mickelson (2010) -5

Angel Cabrera (2009) -4

Arnold Palmer (1964) -3

Nick Faldo (1996) -3

Fred Couples (1992) -3

Patrick Reed (2018) -3 

Charl Schwartzel (2011) -3

Tiger Woods (1997) -2

Ben Hogan (1953) -2

Ben Crenshaw (1995) -2

Tom Watson (1977) -2

Gary Player (1978) Even

Despite an incredible comeback against Liverpool to book their place in the Champions League quarter-finals, 2019-20 was looking like far from a vintage season for Atletico Madrid.

Diego Simeone's side sat sixth in LaLiga when the coronavirus pandemic forced the suspension of most sport around the world and had suffered a humiliating Copa del Rey exit to third-tier Cultural Leonesa in January.

However, six years ago they took a significant step in one of the most memorable campaigns in their history.

We look back at that and other standout sporting moments that occurred on April 9 through the years.

 

1912 – A Fenway first

It may not quite have been finished yet, but Fenway Park opened its doors for the first time for an exhibition match between the Boston Red Sox and the Harvard Crimson. After being forced to change at the nearby Park Riding School due to the clubhouse not being open yet, the players trudged through the snowy conditions to the diamond for the start of a new era. Casey Hageman threw Fenway Park's first pitch for the Red Sox to Harvard batter Dana Joseph Paine Wingate and he soon had the first of nine strikeouts.

1989 – Faldo in green

After heading into moving day in a tie for the lead, Faldo's hopes of triumphing at Augusta National and winning a second major appeared to be over when he slipped five shots off the pace upon completing his third round on Sunday morning. However, he ended up with the clubhouse lead later in the day by carding a brilliant seven-under 65 and a missed five-foot par putt on the 17th for Scott Hoch meant the two went into a play-off. Hoch's putting again let him down as he failed to close out the first sudden-death hole from two feet, and Faldo punished him by rolling in a 25-foot birdie putt at the next to don the green jacket for the first time. He would go on to win the tournament twice more.

1995 – Tendulkar shows signs of greatness to come

At the age of 21, the man who would go on to be dubbed the 'Little Master' scored his fourth ODI century as India defeated Sri Lanka in an Asia Cup match in Sharjah. Thanks to Tendulkar's outstanding 112 not out, India chased down their victory target of 203 with just under 17 of their 50 overs remaining. Tendulkar consequently became the youngest player to reach 3,000 ODI runs.

2013 – Dortmund deliver incredible comeback

There is something special about Champions League nights at Signal Iduna Park and the second leg of Dortmund's quarter-final against Malaga delivered a thoroughly memorable game. After a 0-0 draw in the first leg at La Rosaleda, Joaquin put Malaga ahead in the 25th minute, but Robert Lewandowski ensured Jurgen Klopp's side went into half-time on level terms. The writing appeared to be on the wall for Dortmund when Eliseu tapped in a second away goal from close range with eight minutes remaining, leaving the hosts needing to score twice more to avoid elimination. Marco Reus pulled them level in the first added minute and Felipe Santana bundled home in the 93rd minute to complete an incredible turnaround – though he appeared to be offside when he turned Julian Schieber's goal-bound effort home.

2014 – Atletico back in the semi-finals

Simeone led Atletico to Europa League glory in his first season at the helm and added the Copa del Rey and UEFA Super Cup in 2012-13. They appeared to be destined for new heights when they claimed a 1-0 victory over Barcelona at the Vicente Calderon to seal a 2-1 aggregate victory and book their place in the Champions League semi-finals for the first time since 1974. Koke's back-post volley kept Atletico's hopes of a Champions League and LaLiga double alive, but they were only able to win the latter after Real Madrid beat them in the European final in Lisbon.

On the eve of what would have been the opening round of this year's Masters, we take a look back at seven magic moments from the Augusta archives.

1935 - Gene Sarazen hits 'the shot heard around the world'

The Masters was established in 1934, but it was in the following year that the tournament really captured people's attention - thanks largely to a stunning albatross that helped Gene Sarazen to victory. Sarazen trailed Craig Wood by three shots as he headed to the 15th tee, but wiped out that deficit in sensational fashion by holing his second shot with a 4-wood from 235 yards. He went on to claim his seventh and final major title in a Monday play-off, although Wood finally tasted success at Augusta six years later. The Sarazen Bridge at Augusta's 15th hole commemorates one of the most famous shots in the history of golf.

1986 - The Golden Bear rolls back the years

The legendary Jack Nicklaus remains the oldest winner of The Masters, having claimed victory in the 50th staging of the tournament at the age of 46. Nicklaus' 18th major title - a total that has yet to be surpassed - was secured by a remarkable late-round surge on Sunday that saw the 'Golden Bear' follow an eagle at 15 with successive birdies to reach nine under. As his putt for a three at the par-four 17th dropped, giving Nicklaus the lead for the first time in the tournament, the veteran raised his putter in the air and adopted a pose that would soon become iconic.

1987 - Local hero Mize leaves Norman stunned

Few people gave Larry Mize a chance when he went up against Greg Norman and Seve Ballesteros in a sudden-death play-off at the 1987 Masters. A relatively unheralded Augusta native, Mize had won only one previous event on the PGA Tour and was unsurprisingly viewed as a rank outsider in a battle with two of the world's best. However, Ballesteros bowed out with a bogey at the first play-off hole, the 10th, and Mize then claimed glory courtesy of a magnificent birdie on the par-four 11th. Having missed the green to the right, and with Norman on the front edge in two, Mize remarkably chipped in before bounding on to the putting surface in celebration. "It was total elation," he told Perform ahead of this year's event. "I was just running around screaming like a mad man." Norman missed his birdie putt and mentions of 'Larry Mize country' are frequently heard on Masters commentary to this day when players go right at the 11th.

2004 - Mickelson breaks major duck

Having long held the unwanted tag of being the best player never to win a major, Phil Mickelson answered his critics on April 11, 2004 by coming out on top in one of the most thrilling conclusions in Masters history. 'Lefty' had eight top-three finishes in majors to his name, but had yet to land one of the game's biggest titles when he began his final round level with Chris DiMarco at the top of the leaderboard. A familiar outcome appeared likely when Mickelson played his first six holes in two over par, but he responded by birdieing five of the last seven, including the 18th, to pip Ernie Els in a titanic duel. His successful 18-foot putt for a three at the final hole sparked scenes of unbridled joy and a delighted Mickelson said: "To have it be such a difficult journey to win my first major makes it that much more sweeter."

2005 - 'That' Tiger Woods chip

DiMarco topped the leaderboard after each of the first two rounds in 2005, only for Tiger Woods to storm into a three-stroke lead courtesy of a third-round 65 played across two days due to inclement weather. To his credit, DiMarco fought back in the final round and was only one behind Woods as both players approached the par-three 16th. When the underdog hit the green with his tee shot and Woods missed the target, their battle looked set to go right down to the wire. Woods had other ideas, however, as he made birdie courtesy of a sublime chip that saw him aim well left of the hole and use the slope of the putting surface to great effect. The world number one's ball hovered on the edge of the cup for what seemed an eternity before finally toppling in to deafening applause. CBS commentator Verne Lundquist summed up the drama by screaming "Oh, wow! In your life, have you seen anything like that?!" Woods was made to work hard for his fourth green jacket as he bogeyed the next two holes before eventually prevailing in a play-off.

2012 - Bubba produces miracle hook

There were nerves aplenty when another play-off was required to decide the champion at Augusta in 2012. Bubba Watson and 2010 Open champion Louis Oosthuizen started off the sudden-death decider by each parring the 18th and then finding the woods on the right of the 10th, the second play-off hole. Oosthuizen came up short of the green with his second and there appeared little chance of Watson improving on his rival's effort. However, the maverick left-hander duly produced a miraculous escape from the pine straw, hooking his ball around the trees and onto the green. When Oosthuizen failed to get up and down, Watson was left with two putts to win and made no mistake in securing the first of two green jackets to date.

2017 - Sergio's major wait finally ends

In a sport of fine margins, Sergio Garcia was probably golf's ultimate nearly man. The Spaniard was tipped for the top from a young age, underlining his vast potential with a runner-up finish at the 1999 US PGA Championship, when he was just 19. However, that close brush with glory set the tone for a career that was for a long time defined by heartbreak. In 2002, Garcia placed in the top 10 at all four majors. Heading into the 2017 Masters, he had 22 top-10 finishes in the quartet of headline events, but no victories to show for his efforts from 73 attempts. In 2017, he stood over a five-foot putt to win The Masters on the 72nd hole, with Justin Rose an anxious onlooker. Garcia missed, leading to a play-off with Rose. It was there that Garcia finally ended his long wait for major success, coolly sinking a birdie putt to secure the green jacket.

2019 - Woods wins again to end near 11-year major drought

Woods' 2018 Tour Championship success hinted his comeback was on the right track and his return to the upper echelons of the game was completed with a remarkable victory. Fifteen years after his previous Augusta title, and almost 11 years after he last won a major, Woods put years of off-course issues and injury problems behind him. As overnight leader Francesco Molinari capitulated, Woods remained strong, using all his experience to finish with a two-under-par 70 to win on 13 under, one clear of fellow Americans Dustin Johnson, Xander Schauffele and Brooks Koepka. There were raucous celebrations on the 18th green as Woods celebrated with his children. He said: "To have my kids there, it's come full circle. My dad was here in 1997 and now I'm the dad with two kids there. It will be up there with one of the hardest I've had to win because of what has transpired in the last couple of years."

Golf's tradition like no other has been pushed back by seven months, meaning Tiger Woods will have to wait to treat his fellow past Masters winners to the Champions Dinner for the fifth time.

History suggests that when Woods does settle on his menu choices, there is a strong chance a porterhouse steak will be the entree.

Woods has twice selected that cut of beef as the star of the show on his menu, doing so in successive years in 2002 and 2003.

The 15-time major winner has a long time to mull over his options for this year's feast and he may have to pull out all the stops to match some of the delights that have been served up since he last set the menu back in 2006.

Here we pick out some of the best and worst Champions Dinners from years gone by.

 

FINE FEASTS

1998: Tiger Woods - Cheeseburgers, Chicken sandwiches, french fries, milkshakes

Sometimes keeping it simple is the best way to go, and that is what Woods did a year after his maiden Masters win in 1997. He went with four staples of American fast food. Nothing fancy, but more than enough to whet the appetite.

2001: Vijay Singh - Seafood tom kah, chicken panang curry, baked sea scallops with garlic sauce, rack of lamb with yellow kari sauce, baked fillet Chilean sea bass with three flavour chili sauce, lychee sorbet.

The Big Fijian dished out big flavours in his lone Champions Dinner. The sea bass with three flavour chili sauce might have left some of the diners sweating, but at least they had a refreshing lychee sorbet to cool them off.

2010: Angel Cabrera - An Argentine asado, a multi-course barbecue featuring chorizo, blood sausage, short ribs, beef filets and mollejas (the thymus gland/sweetbreads).

Cabrera marked the one-year anniversary of his second major win by going for a meat lover's dream from his homeland. The only surprise being that the man known as El Pato did not add duck to the menu.

2016: Jordan Spieth - Salad of local greens; main course of Texas barbecue (beef brisket, smoked half chicken, pork ribs); sides of BBQ baked beans, bacon and chive potato salad, sauteed green beans, grilled zucchini, roasted yellow squash; dessert of warm chocolate chip cookie, vanilla ice cream.

It was no shock that the Texan went with a barbecue. When cooked correctly, there are few things more delectable than a tender brisket. While that meal must have gone down well, the fourth-round collapse that followed a few days later was tough to swallow for Spieth.

2018: Sergio Garcia - International salad (ingredients representing the countries of past champions); arroz caldoso de bogavante (a traditional Spanish lobster rice); tres leches cake with tres leches ice cream. 

A universally popular victor in 2017, Garcia played to the crowd in 2018 by including ingredients from the countries of past champions in his starter. The use of his mother's recipe for the desert made this classic Spanish fare a winner.

DOG'S DINNERS

1989: Sandy Lyle - Haggis, mashed potatoes, mashed turnips

Haggis is very much an acquired taste, and Lyle didn't exactly give the diners much to enjoy away from the Scottish savoury pudding with two bland side dishes.

1994: Bernhard Langer - Turkey and dressing; black forest torte

Without knowing the dressing, it's tough to give a full verdict on Langer's choice but opting for famously dry meat outside of Thanksgiving or Christmas Day is an odd decision.

1997: Nick Faldo - Fish and chips, tomato soup

Fish and chips is a universally popular British classic, but Faldo's decision to put it alongside tomato soup makes for a strange pairing.

2015: Bubba Watson - Traditional Caesar salad; grilled chicken breast with sides of green beans, mashed potatoes, corn, macaroni and cheese, served with cornbread; confetti cake and vanilla ice cream.

Two years on from his first Champions Dinner in 2013, Watson produced exactly the same menu. Surely a golfer with Watson's reputation for the unorthodox knows that variety is the spice of life? 

2017: Danny Willett - Mini cottage pies; a traditional Sunday roast (prime rib, roasted potatoes and vegetables, Yorkshire pudding); apple crumble and vanilla custard; coffee and tea with English cheese and biscuits, plus a selection of wines.

The Sunday roast is another British favourite. However, the combination of that entree with cottage pies and an apple crumble is an overly heavy one.

The Masters is one of the most storied events in sport.

Thursday was scheduled to be the opening day of the 2020 edition, but the coronavirus pandemic put paid to that.

Still, the Augusta major's rich history leaves plenty for us to look back on.

Here is a selection of the best Opta facts relating to what is traditionally the first major of the year...

 

- The US has dominated this major, with 61 of the 83 editions of the tournament having been won by Americans. 

- Jack Nicklaus holds the record for most wins at the Masters (6), ahead of Tiger Woods (5).

- Woods is the youngest player to wear the green jacket, having been 21 years, 104 days old when he triumphed in 1997.

- Nicklaus is the oldest to claim victory, doing so in 1986 when he was 46 years, 82 days old.

- The Masters is the only major in which Woods has always made the cut as a professional (20 out of 20).

- Fuzzy Zoeller is the last player to win the Masters at the first attempt, back in 1979.

- With his 2019 victory, Woods became only the second player over the age of 40 to have won a major on US soil in the 21st century, with Vijay Singh having lifted the 2004 US PGA Championship when he was 41.

- Only three players have won back-to-back green jackets - Woods (2001, 2002), Nicklaus (1965, 1966) and Nick Faldo (1989, 1990).

- Rory McIlroy just needs to add the Masters to his major collection to complete a career Grand Slam, which would see him join a club that includes Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Gary Player, Nicklaus and Woods.

- The Masters is the only major tournament where Jordan Spieth has finished inside the Top 25 on each appearance (6/6).

- Only one of the last 43 Masters tournaments saw a wire-to-wire victory – Spieth in 2015.

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