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Larry Mize, Sandy Lyle set for Masters competitive farewell

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Tour Insider

Larry Mize, Sandy Lyle set for Masters competitive farewell

    Larry Mize has decided to make his 40th consecutive start at the Masters Tournament his last.

    The Augusta native and 1987 Masters champion is 64 now, and he hasn’t made the cut since 2017.

    “This will be my last time competing,” Mize said. “It’s time. The golf course is just getting so long. It’s hard to make the cut. It’s time for me to stop playing.

    “I’ll hate not playing, but it’s definitely time. I’ve got a lot of peace about it.”

    Mize famously won in ’87 in a playoff over Greg Norman and Seve Ballesteros. The Spaniard was eliminated on the first playoff hole, and Mize and Norman proceeded to the par 4 11th.

    Mize pushed his approach well right of the green. With Norman looking at a birdie putt, Mize then hit one of the great chip shots in golf history. From 140 feet away, the ball bounced twice before landing on the green and trickling down the slope and into the hole.

    “It was a memorable way to win, for sure,” Mize said. “I get comments during the year, playing in pro-ams on PGA TOUR Champions. A guy will say, ‘I hope you don’t mind, but …’ No, I don’t mind. It’s a pretty great subject. I’m always happy talking about it. It’s flattering.

    Apr 1987:  Larry Mize of the USA chips in on the second play-off hole to win the US Masters at Augusta National in Georgia, USA. \ Mandatory Credit: David Cannon /Allsport

    Apr 1987: Larry Mize of the USA chips in on the second play-off hole to win the US Masters at Augusta National in Georgia, USA. \ Mandatory Credit: David Cannon /Allsport

    “As far as where it stands in history or how people think about it, I don’t give that much thought. I have great memories of it and the birdie on 18 that got me into the playoff.”

    The Masters was just Mize’s second PGA TOUR victory. He won twice more, and he has one victory on PGA TOUR Champions, in 2010. Mize began curtailing his competitive schedule last year, when he played only six times on the Champions Tour. He has yet to play this year.

    “I still like to play some on the Champions Tour, but I’m no longer going to play a full schedule. Probably five, six, maybe eight events,” Mize said. “I think as long as I feel … I need to play a little better than I’ve been playing. It’s not as much fun to play when you’re not competitive, not shooting scores you’d like to shoot. It becomes less fun. We’ll wait and see. I’m hoping that I can be more competitive this year and play for another year or two.”

    Mize said he has been practicing hard recently in the hopes of making his final day at Augusta National be Sunday and not Friday.

    “That’s the goal, obviously, to play on the weekend,” Mize said. “I’m going there to compete and not just play two days. Hopefully that will happen. We’re working hard to that end.

    “It will be an emotional week, no doubt. I’m hoping and praying I can keep my emotions in check. We’ll have to wait and see to what extent I’m able to do that.”

    Mize is expecting dozens of family and friends, including his wife, their children and his grandchildren. His 95-year-old father can’t make the trip, but Mize said he’ll be watching.

    Whether or not he makes the cut, Mize still will return to Augusta for the 2024 Masters.

    “I’ll still go back every year, still go to the Champions Dinner and I’ll play the Par 3 Contest,” Mize said. “I’ll still go back and enjoy the week. I remember when Ben Crenshaw quit playing, he said, ‘This is great, I don’t have to worry about getting ready to play or anything like that.’ I look forward to it.”

    Sandy Lyle, a fellow Masters champion (1988), also has announced this will be his final appearance in the tournament. Lyle, 65, is retiring from competitive golf entirely. The Scotsman had been playing steadily on PGA TOUR Champions, including four starts this year, before saying The Galleri Classic would bring his Champions Tour career to an end.

    This will mark Lyle’s 43rd Masters appearance. He last made the cut in 2014.

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