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While Kobe Bryant and the Lakers remain the best in the West for the second straight season, do they have what it takes to bring L.A. its 10th NBA championship? This week SI.com has complete coverage of the 2009 NBA playoffs, including breakdowns and key matchups in every series, a roundtable discussion by SI's panel of experts, Ian Thomsen's playoff analysis and year-end awards from Thomsen and Chris Mannix.
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FROM SPORTS ILLUSTRATED
APRIL 20, 1992
SI's Rick Reilly described Fred Couples's legendary bank shot on the 12th hole at Augusta, which helped earn Couples his first Masters victory and established him as golf's top player.
ONE MORE run of the mower. A cup less of fertilizer last fall. One more breath from a nearby butterfly. A blade of grass with weak knees. Any of these things could have cost Fred Couples the Masters. But somehow, some way, Couples's golf ball hugged the steep slope at Augusta National's 12th hole, clung to it the way a sock clings to a towel fresh out of a hot dryer. Does Maxfli use Velcro? A ball has about as much chance of stopping on that bank as a marble does of stopping halfway down a drainpipe. Does not happen. Said Furman Bisher of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, who has been coming to Augusta since 1950, "In all my years of coming here, I can't remember one staying on that bank." But on Masters Saturday 1992, on the biggest day of Couples's 32½ years, with Ray Floyd and Corey Pavin breathing hot down his neck and with a brilliant career waiting to bloom, one finally did. "The biggest break, probably, in my life," said Couples.
PHOTOGRAPH BY WALTER IOOSS JR.
INSET PHOTOS: Fred Vuich (Cabrera); John Biever (Mickelson and Woods)