• The Masters

Norman reveals reason behind infamous 1996 collapse

ESPN staff
September 10, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »
Norman, complete with bad back, throws himself to the ground during the final round © AP
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It has only taken 17 years, but Greg Norman has finally come up with an explanation for his infamous final-round collapse at the 1996 Masters - a bad back.

The Australian held a six-shot lead going into the final round at Augusta, but carded a 78 in what is widely considered the worst choke in the sport's history.

But speaking to magazine show 'Australian Story' in his homeland, Norman admitted it was not just a case of nerves getting to him.

"There's more to it than people realise because I did have back issues that morning," the 58-year-old said.

"I tried to walk it off but I couldn't. I told my coach, 'Today's not going to be easy.'"

Norman ended up losing out to England's Nick Faldo, who recorded an impressive 67, by five shots in what was his third near miss at claiming the coveted green jacket. Norman finished runner-up in 1986 when he bogeyed the 72nd hole to miss out on forcing a play-off with 46-year-old Jack Nicklaus, and lost in extra holes to Larry Mize the following year.

"I disappeared down to the beach after the Masters and lay on the beach and cried," Norman added.

"I had completely screwed up winning a tournament that I wanted to win more than any other.

"That would be about the only time that I would have brought the emotion of a golf tournament back home."

Adam Scott ended Australia's long wait for a Masters winner earlier this year, before dedicating his maiden major championship to his long-term mentor Norman.

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