In the last twenty five years at Augusta National, six tournaments required a 73rd hole at minimum. Eight men finished the 72nd with a share of the lead but weren’t asked for their green jacket measurements.
The list of men who fell just short of immortalizing their names in golf lore is lined with a couple of stars and some names the casual fan might strain to remember.
Which one will the 29 year-old Oosthuizen become?
In 2009, Angel Cabrera bested Chad Campbell and Kenny Perry. Campbell hasn’t scored a victory on the PGA Tour since and his finest accomplishment is probably a tie for fifth at the 2011 British Open. Perry won the Travelers Championship later in 2009 but hasn’t been competitive in any major in which he participated.
In 2005, Chris DiMarco fell to Tiger Woods. The Florida Gator alum sports no PGA Tour victories since Tiger’s Sunday red foiled his green dreams and his most notable performance was a second place finish at the British Open in 2006.
2003 saw lefty Mike Weir outlast Len Mattiace. The runner-up didn’t notch a PGA Tour win after the Masters playoff and has experienced little success in the major tournaments.
1990 represented the second consecutive Augusta playoff victory for current golf analyst Nick Faldo. Raymond Floyd, who retired competitively in 2010, was Faldo’s adversary. Floyd would produce five more top ten finishes at the majors but only one PGA Tour trophy, the 1992 Doral-Ryder Open.
In 1989, Faldo lucked into a Masters triumph when Scott Hoch famously missed a two-foot putt on the first playoff hole. Hoch’s subsequent demise that year wouldn’t hinder the rest of his career though. He won seven times on the PGA Tour after his flub and added thirteen top ten’s at majors, three times placing in a tie for fifth (1993 Masters, 1996 Masters, 2002 U.S. Open).
The dramatics of 1987 were commemorated this year, the silver anniversary of Larry Mize’s clinching chip. His down on their luck opponents? Greg Norman and Seve Ballesteros. The Shark managed to accumulate fifteen more victories on the PGA Tour after the playoff loss, including the 1993 British Open. His Spanish counterpart experienced plenty of success on the European Tour but on the PGA, two wins followed that loss, highlighted by a victory in the 1988 British Open.
Oosthuizen’s age, talent and demeanor tend to make me think his post-Masters playoff career will be more steady than the men who all but disappeared from leaderboards. He already boasts a major championship (2010 British Open), so his confidence shouldn’t be leveled by being on the precipice of history and not walking the last step.
Augusta National has a way with golfers though. It’s the premier PGA Tour locale and though he’ll say all the right words tonight, the missed shots may eat at him.
Finding reconciliation with those memories is the difference between people associating his name with Bubba Watson and standing on its own.
Outside of the Open title, Oosthuizen doesn’t have another PGA Tour win on his resume.
As the brutal tales woven by Masters playoff history show, the possibility exists he might never add another.