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One of the perks of winning The Masters is getting a lifetime exemption into the first men’s major of the year.
One of the burdens is knowing when to give it up.
For the 1987 champion, that time is now.
Larry Mize has confirmed to The Augusta Chronicle that the 2023 Masters Tournament will be his last.
The 64-year-old, who made history as the first Augusta native to win the Green Jacket when he famously defeated Greg Norman and Seve Ballesteros in a playoff 36 years ago, has decided that the course is too long for him to continue.
“It’s going to be an emotional week, but it’s time,” he told the newspaper. “I know it’s time.”
Mize finished in a tie for 11th on his debut in the tournament in 1984, the year after winning the first of his four PGA Tour titles, and has been an ever-present ever since.
All told, he has made 39 starts, placing him 13th in all-time appearances, but hasn’t made a cut since 2017. Indeed, he has made it to the weekend only five times in his last 22 starts.
Speaking to bunkered last year, Mize reflected on his career-defining victory in 1987.
“It was total excitement, total elation,” he said. “I mean, it’s almost indescribable. It was a dream come true just to play in The Masters, so to win it was beyond my wildest expectations.”
“You know, the Masters is a special tournament for any golfer to win but for a kid from Augusta, it’s unbelievable. Undoubtedly, it’s the highlight of my career. Nothing I could do, indeed nothing I ever did, would top it. It has been the greatest blessing of my professional life.”
He added how special it had been to receive the Green Jacket from his childhood hero Jack Nicklaus, who had won the previous year in record-breaking fashion.
“I can’t remember exactly what he said but it was along the lines of ‘you played like a champion today’,” recalls Mize. “He couldn’t have been nicer and to get that kind of compliment from somebody I had looked up to for so long just made the whole thing so much more special.”
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