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Heroic Putt Wins 1975 Masters For Nicklaus

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The Miracle Putt was a near-impossible task, what with the length, the glitzy opposition and the tension of the moment. It was at the 1975 Masters, it was 38 feet in length, a twister at the par-3 16th that won one of the most dramatic Masters for Jack Nicklaus.
 
Nicklaus won in a dogfight over Tom Weiskopf, who was the Player of the Year in 1973, and Johnny Miller, who was Player of the Year in 1974. Nicklaus had been Player of the Year in 1971 and '72. It was perhaps the greatest showing of the greatest players of the time in Masters history.
 
'There probably has never been a major championship in which the great players performed so remarkably - without giving quarter - down to the final putt,' said noted golf historian and author Herbert Warren Wind. For the final round, Nicklaus, Weiskopf and Miller were a combined 12 under par. Miller shot 66, Nicklaus shot 68 and Weiskopf shot 70.
 
Nicklaus was a shot behind leader Weiskopf as he played the 16th. Miller was two off the lead. Nicklaus crouched over the ball, eyed it warily, stared it down, then stroked it. 'Sometimes you get a feeling about those things,' he said. 'I thought I could make it.'
 
He looked up, and saw the ball as it dropped into the cup. Nicklaus was now tied for the lead with Weiskopf, who had a ringside seat for the 16th putt heroics from the tee.
 
Miller was waiting there with Weiskopf. Weiskopf left his tee shot 80 feet from the hole and, thoroughly shaken now, his putt wound up 18 feet away. He promptly missed the 18-footer, made bogey, and suddenly Nicklaus was the new leader.
 
Miller could hardly believe what he had witnessed from Nicklaus. 'If you putted it 100 times, you would probably make it once or twice, and you would three-putt 20 times,' he told the Augusta Chronicle. 'He (Nicklaus) just happened to hit the `once or twice.' It was just a miracle putt.'
 
Miller, who had won eight times the year before, reflected on the crowd scene as the putt went in the cup. 'There was an amazing roar,' he said. 'Nicklaus jumped.
 
'I wasn't paying attention to the putt. They asked me later if I saw the putt go in the hole and I said, `No, I just saw the bear tracks after he took it out of the hole.' He jumped and made his prints.'
 
With Nicklaus ahead now by one over Weiskopf and two over Miller, he parred 17 and 18. Miller made birdie on 17, meaning that he and Weiskopf would play the 18th only a shot behind the Golden Bear. A birdie by either would tie for the lead.
 
Miller putted first and missed a 15-footer. Now it was Weiskopf's turn. He was only eight feet away, but he turned away in agony as the putt turned at the last second. Nicklaus had won by a shot.
 
'I was just damn lucky,' conceded Nicklaus. 'Tom Weiskopf had a right to win. Johnny Miller had a right to win. Nobody gave it away. I felt a sense of history out there.'
 
Weiskopf vowed at the time that he would win the Masters one day. But he never did. And in 1995 he told Golf Digest, 'The 1975 Masters, that was the end of me. It was just so disheartening. I don't know what the right adjectives are to describe it, but it was a very deflating, very humbling type of thing.'
 
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