Larry Maze says goodbye.
The 1987 Masters champion assured that the 2023 Masters tournament – his 40th in a row – would be his last.
Miz, an Augusta native who lives in Columbus, Ga., hinted last April that 2023 might be his last competitive appearance, but after missing the cut on Friday the 78th, he remained uncommitted about his future.
Will next year be the last year? Miz said in 2022. “I don’t know. I really don’t. That decision will come, but I can’t say for sure right now.”
A year later, he is sure.
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For the last time, the local kid who spent his teenage years running the #3 scoreboard will take to the field at Augusta National.
“It’s going to be an emotional week, but the time has come,” said Miz, 64. “I know it’s time.”
In addition to a win in 1987—which earned Mize a lifetime exemption to the Masters—he finished third in 1994 and tied for sixth in 1992. His last cut came in 2017.
When asked about his silver medal anniversary at the Augusta National, Mize thought of 1994, where he slept on the lead on Thursday and Friday, but after Sunday gigs at No. 12 and 14, his chances evaporated as he strode to No. 18 Square T.
“I hit my car and a stranger yelled, ‘Thank you, Larry,’” Miz said. “I wasn’t going to win the championship. Jose (Maria Olazabal) had withdrawn. But that appreciation I felt, I will never forget.”
Which leads to his gold medal memory.
The chip, which is 140 feet long.
A purple shirt is a nod to Georgian traditions.
No, The Miz’s business will not be stamped among all-time greats: one win. Three of the top 10 players. There were no nineteen cuts. As Larry admits, “I don’t belong in the same sentence as most of these guys.”
But what The Miz does have is a moment. A wedge of sand from MacGregor bounced twice over the bank, hopped once onto the green, rolled 60 feet and disappeared. Sure, Mize’s resume isn’t the most decorated in Masters history, but he may be responsible for the tournament’s most famous shot.
“It’s the greatest shot ever, and I’ll tell you why,” said Carl Jackson, who has been stuck at the Masters for 54 years. “It was a boardwalk. She won the tournament. People talk about the Tiger chip (in 2005) or Sarazen’s double eagle (in 1935) but neither has won the championship. Miz walked “Em.”
1971 Masters winner Charles Cody added, “The two greatest shots of all are The Miz’s chip and Sarazen’s double eagle, and I don’t know which is No. 1. Larry won the tournament and Sarazen let him win.”
One day before turning 100, Jackie Burke was asked if Miz’s chip was the best ever. “You’re really right,” said the 1956 Masters winner.
Charles Miz witnessed every take on April 12, 1987, except for the slide. Looking back, Charles, 95, claims his anxiety peaked on the 72nd hole when his son needed a birdie to join a playoff with Greg Norman and Seve Ballesteros.
“I’m still nervous that the putt won’t go in,” said Charles.
When the six-foot-tall fell, Charles turned to his wife, Elizabeth, who died in 2018, and asked for medicine.
“I thought I was going to faint,” said Charles, whose wife of 67 years gave Valium. “We were watching with our friends, John and Tammy Hurley, and I said to John, ‘If you pass out, you better not call a doctor. You throw me over your shoulder and walk down No. 10.’”
Charles admits that Larry’s best chance should have been on the first playoff hole. In a three-man sudden death, Norman and Ballesteros (who had been eliminated with a bogey) had already missed chances for the birdies, and Mizzy had pulled off the victory.
The batter slid at No. 10 left, causing Mize to lower his head.
When Larry put his head down, Charles said. “I lowered mine, too.”
Charles and Elizabeth race towards No. 11, but only make it to the lane. With Amen’s Corner flooded with patrons, Miz’s parents made no attempt to approach out of respect for those who waited.
“I knew Larry had a bad second shot, but that’s all I can say,” said Charles. “The next thing I remember is that roar.”
This roar. that moment.
After April thirty-six, the author of the best shot in the history of the Masters will say goodbye. Larry Hogan Mize will likely never become Writer Emeritus or have an Augusta landmark named for him. But in the final week, the audience will serenade the hometown hero with his second favorite.
They will tell him, “Thank you.”