1986 Masters: Lyle's caddie had a ringside seat

Jack Nicklaus on the 18th green during the final round of the 1986 Masters. He would win his sixth Masters title.

English caddie Dave Musgrove turned up at Augusta National that Sunday hoping boss Sandy Lyle would walk away in the green jacket. Musgrove had been on the winning bag at two majors by then – the 1979 and ’85 British Opens with Seve Ballesteros and Lyle, respectively – but both paled in comparison with the ‘86 Masters.

“I’ve never known such noise on a golf course as I heard that day,” Musgrove remembers. “When Nicklaus birdied the 11th, I could hardly hear, it was so noisy.”

Musgrove not only is one of the game’s best caddies, he is one of its most astute observers. He disagrees with those who say Nicklaus won because he shot 30 on the back nine. He believes the key moment came when Nicklaus stood on the 16th green.

“Jack and Sandy both hit to about 4 feet on 16. (Tom) Watson and (Tommy) Nakajima were playing behind us but wouldn’t putt out on the 15th until Nicklaus had hit his putt,” recalls Musgrove. “That meant Seve (who was playing two groups behind) had to wait at the top of the hill on 15 to play his second shot.

“If Seve hadn’t had to wait, then he would have pulled out a 5-iron and hit it as hard as he could and put it on the green. But because he had to wait, he was given time to think. It put him in two minds. So he went with a 4-iron and tried to cut it up and land it softly on the green. He put it in the water and that cost him the Masters. I believe he would have won if not for the long wait on the 15th fairway.”

Musgrove’s other abiding memory is the way Nicklaus treated it like a social round.

“I’ve always loved playing with Jack, but that day it was like we were just having a day out,” he says. “He talked to us the whole way around.”

Musgrove also was at Lyle’s side two years later when the Scot won his green jacket, a feat Musgrove still believes Nicklaus inspired. But, to Musgrove, even Lyle’s victory does not compare with that special Sunday in ’86.

“It’s my best moment in golf – better than winning majors with Sandy and Seve,” Musgrove says. “I got a ringside seat to watch history being made.”

Welcome to Golfweek.com's comments section.
Please review the posting guidlines here: Golfweek.com Community Guidelines.
All accounts must be verified using Disqus email verification