History of Masters Golf Winners

By Steve Silverman

The Masters is one of the biggest sporting events of the year. In addition to being the first major tournament on the golf calendar (the U.S. Open, British Open and PGA are the others), the Masters is generally considered to take place at one of the most picturesque courses in the world. The Augusta National Course is in full bloom in mid-April and the tournament has marked some of the signature performances of the greatest golfers in history.

Most championships

Jack Nicklaus is considered one of the greatest golfers of all-time. He has more Masters championships than anyone else. Nicklaus won six titles during his career, beginning with the 1963 title and ending with his championship in 1986. In the years that Nicklaus did not win the tournament, he was known for staying close. He finished second four times.

Greatest margin of victory

Tiger Woods won his first major championship 1997 at the Masters. He did it in breathtaking fashion, winning the championship by 12 strokes over Tom Kite. Woods had been touted as the next great phenom on the golf tour when he turned pro in 1996 and he served notice in the 1997 Masters that he would deliver on that potential.

Three or more championships

For a golfer to win one Masters title is a great achievement. Two titles means that the golfer has had a memorable career. Winning three or more titles, however, means that the golfer is one of the game's all-time greats. In addition to Nicklaus' six titles, Woods has won four Masters and so has Arnold Palmer. Nick Faldo, Jimmy Demaret, Sam Snead and Gary Player have also won three championships.

Great comebacks

The Masters has seen a number of comebacks where golfers who were trailing in the third or fourth round put on memorable spurts in the final 18 holes to win the tournament. The most notable comebacks were achieved by Jack Burke in 1956, who found himself trailing by nine strokes in the final round before coming back to win, and Gary Player, who was down by eight strokes in the final round in 1978 before he came back to win.

Lowest final score

Tiger Woods set the record for the lowest final score in Masters history when he shot a 72-hole total of 270 in 1997, 18-under par. In 2015, Jordan Spieth matched this record with his own 18-under par performance. Jack Nicklaus shot a 271 in 1965 and that figure was matched by Raymond Floyd in 1977. Sam Snead and Jack Burke hold the record for the highest winning score. Snead shot a 5-over par 289 in 1954 and Burke shot the same score to win the 1956 tournament.

About The Author

Steve Silverman is an award-winning writer, covering sports since 1980. Silverman authored The Minnesota Vikings: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly and Who's Better, Who's Best in Football -- The Top 60 Players of All-Time, among others, and placed in the Pro Football Writers of America awards three times. Silverman holds a Master of Science in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism.

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