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Weir, Forsman look back on milestone Masters

Published: Wednesday, April 10 2013 5:35 p.m. MDT

Tiger Woods, right, the 2002 Masters champion, helps Mike Weir don the traditional green jacket after Weir won the 2003 Masters at the Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Ga.

ELISE AMENDOLA, AP

SALT LAKE CITY — A couple of transplanted Utahns, who have each lived in the state for at least two decades, are experiencing special anniversaries as the Masters golf tournament gets under way Thursday in Augusta, Ga.

For Mike Weir, a Canadian who played golf for BYU and then stuck around to make Utah his home with his wife and two children, it’s the 10th anniversary of his victory at Augusta National, where he beat Len Mattiace in a sudden-death playoff.

For Dan Forsman, who met his future wife, Trudy, at the 1979 Pacific Coast Amateur in Provo and later made it his home and raised a family, this marks the 20th anniversary of his near-miss at the Masters where one bad hole late in the final round spoiled his chances of donning the green jacket.

The following is a look at the 1993 and 2003 tournaments where Forsman and Weir were each on the biggest stage, not only in golf, but the entire sports world. One made it to the top and fulfilled every golfer’s ultimate dream, while the other came oh, so close.

Weir, who lives in Sandy, is not 100 percent this week, coming off a rib injury he suffered during the Arnold Palmer Invitational in Florida last month. He had to withdraw from that tournament and missed last week’s event in Houston and as of Wednesday was still deciding whether he can play this week.

Forsman, meanwhile, will be watching the tournament from his home in Provo, relishing the special memories of his five appearances at the Masters.

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In April of 1993, Forsman was coming off his best season as a pro when he won $763,190 and ranked No. 10 on the PGA Tour money list. He won the Buick Open the previous August and the unofficial JC Penney Classic in December and finished second twice. Prior to Masters week, he had made five of seven cuts and had tied for 11th in the Players Championship two weeks earlier.

He had played in the Masters twice previously — in 1986, the year Jack Nicklaus made his big comeback at age 46, and again in 1990, but missed the cut both times. Forsman came to Augusta in ’93 confident, but not expecting to contend for the title. He got a thrill when he was able to play with both Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer in a practice round on Tuesday before the tournament, which gave him some added confidence.

Forsman opened with a 69, two shots off the lead, and added another 69 on Friday, which put him alone in second place, one behind Jeff Maggert. He finished the third round in a tie for second behind eventual champion Bernhard Langer after a 73, but was disappointed about a poor finish that included a double bogey at 16 and a bogey at 18.

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Weir was having a strong season when he arrived at Augusta in April of 2003. He had already won two tournaments, the Bob Hope and Nissan (L.A.) Open and was ranked No. 10 in the world golf rankings. Still, not many folks had the shorter-hitting Weir on their favorites list just after the course had been lengthened by a few hundred yards. But Weir felt he had a good chance to win even if no one else did.

“In 2003 I was so confident in playing well that it seemed like any golf course I was going to play well on,’’ he said. “I did feel under the radar, even though I felt like I was one of the favorites in my own mind. I think maybe because of the rain and how long the course was playing after they made the changes that a lot of the longer players were guys that were in contention. It kind of worked to my favor a little bit even though I was under the radar.’’

The overwhelming favorite was Tiger Woods, who had won at Augusta the two previous years, and with rain postponing play on Thursday, it was supposed to give big hitters like him an advantage on the wet course.

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