Born: September 23, 1958
Birthplace: Augusta, Georgia
Height: 6 ft, 0 in
College: Georgia Tech
Turned Pro: 1980
Larry Mize is best known as the player who holed an improbable pitch shot shot to win the 1987 Masters and deny star-crossed Major champion Greg Norman a Green Jacket of his own. The fact that Mize was born and raised in Augusta, Georgia made this victory even more special.
Mize stayed in-state and attended college and played golf for Georgia Tech. He turned professional in 1980.
Mize was an incredibly consistent PGA tour pro. After earning his card in 1982, he retained it for 20 straight PGA seasons, never having to return to qualifying school or golf’s top minor league tour (Web.com).
The 1983 Danny Thomas Memphis Classic was the first of Mize’s 4 PGA Tour victories. His last PGA win came a decade later at the 1993 Buick Open.
Still, it was Mize’s dramatic win at the 1987 Masters that everyone remembers. Mize was a dramatic underdog in the playoff that featured arguably the two greatest players of the late 1980’s – Spain’s Seve Ballesteros and Australia’s Greg Norman. After Ballesteros was eliminated on the first hole of sudden death, Mize pushed his approach shot more than 40 yards right of the flag on Augusta National’s 11th hole. With Norman on the green, it appeared Mize might have difficulty getting up and down for par.
That’s when Mize slid a sand wedge under his ball and sent it on a historic path that ended in the bottom of the cup. A stunned Norman didn’t scare the hole on his longish birdie putt.
Proving he wasn’t a one-trick pony, Mize was in contention at the year’s next Major, the 1987 U.S. Open. He finished in a tie for 4th place and entered the top 10 of the Official World Golf Ratings the only time in his career.
Mize has gone on to make a nice career on the Champions Tour after turning 50 in 2008.