AUGUSTA, Ga. — Greg Norman said losing the Masters in a playoff to Larry Mize was the toughest defeat he has ever suffered.
"I'm more disappointed now than in any tournament I ever played," Norman said Sunday after Mize sank a 140-foot chip shot on the second playoff hole. "I had my chance to win it. That shot of Larry's was so tough, it made it tougher to lose.
"But as long as you get in contention all the time you are more likely to get into that situation," said Norman, who lost the PGA Championship last summer when winner Bob Tway sank a bunker shot on the final hole.
"I'd rather see someone make a freakish shot," said Norman, "than have someone win a tournament because someone else bogeyed."
Last year, Norman beat Mize in a playoff in the Kemper Open.
"That was a different situation," Norman said. "That one went six holes. We both parred the first five and then Larry got into trouble at the sixth hole and that was that.
Norman shot an even-par 72 Sunday that was good enough to put the 32-year-old Australian at 3-under 285 and into a playoff with Mize and two-time Masters champion Seve Ballesteros of Spain.
Norman led going into the final round of all four major championships last year, but got his only major victory in the British Open.
"I had hoped I might have a shot at the Grand Slam this year," he said. "I can't win the Grand Slam now, but I can still win the other three majors.
"When Bob Tway did it to me last year, I had no more majors to play. This time, I still have three more majors ahead."
Norman, tied for the lead after the first hole Sunday, ran into bogey trouble and found himself three shots off the lead with only seven holes left to play. But starting at 12 he carded three birdies in four holes to move back into contention.
"At 12, I knew I had to start going," he said. "I took the bull by the horns and it paid off."
Norman was tied for the lead with Ben Crenshaw after getting a birdie at No. 15, fell back again with a bogey at 16, and then regained a share of the lead when he sank a 27-foot birdie putt at 17.
"Going into 18, I was trying to get another birdie to win," he said. "I still don't know how that (20-foot) putt stayed out. I told myself not to say a word because it was going in. I couldn't believe I missed and neither could my caddy, Pete.
It looked like Mize might win on the first playoff hole when Norman and Ballesteros both were on the fringe and Mize needed only a short putt for a birdie. But Mize missed the putt to keep Norman alive, although Ballesteros dropped out when he three-putted.
"I was surprised to see Seve bail out that quickly," said Norman. "It was a shock to see him three-putt. He doesn't do that in major competitions."
Norman thought he had the playoff won when he reached the green with his approach shot after Mize missed far to the right on the second playoff hole.
"I figured I'd have no trouble getting down in two and that Larry would be struggling," he said. "I couldn't believe it when his ball went into the hole. I figured it would wind up four or five feet away. He could stay there three more days and not make that shot again."
After Mize chipped in for a birdie, Norman needed to make a 25-foot putt to keep the playoff going.
"I knew I still had a chance," said Norman. "The length of the putt and the speed of the green made it tough. But you have to keep grinding, do the best you can."
Norman said his goal now, in addition to trying to win the three remaining major championships, is to have an overall better year than last when he was the leading money winner on the PGA Tour with a record $653,296.
"This was a good shot in the arm," said Norman, "to get the year going."