The Masters Tournament is and always will be, the most anticipated golf event of the year. This time, due to the extended wrap-around schedule, the wait has felt longer than usual. But for many golfers located in Northern latitudes, the sudden appearance of colourful flowers, vivid greenery and the growing number of references to Magnolia Drive, heralds not just the arrival of the first major of the year, but something more primal. Its a signal to golfers that their golfing season is nearly here, the temperatures are up and the days are getting longer.
For the PGA pros on Tour who make a living of following the sunshine, the season almost never ends, and whilst we fine-tune parts of our game grown rusty over the winter, they are found in top gear and preparing to make their bid for a place in the history books.
Being a Masters champion is an exclusive club, admission is statistically less likely to happen than holing out for an albatross (double-eagle) in a professionally sanctioned event. There have only been 48 winners, the smallest roster of any major championship.
During its short history a number of players have excelled, this is Part 1 of the Top 10 Masters Tournament Champions (and yes, before you ask, this IS yet another one headed by Jack and Tiger):
1. Jack Nicklaus – winner 1963, 1965, 1966, 1972, 1975, 1986 (22 top tens)
The Golden Bear’s golden era at the Masters would be the 1970s, an entire decade where he won twice and never failed to finish lower than 8th. No one gets close to being as good as Jack here, he was so good he managed to win his last green jacket at the age of 46 and weighed in with a final top ten twelve years later at the grand age of 58!
2. Tiger Woods – winner 1997, 2001, 2002, 2005 (13 top tens…and counting)
Ever since Tiger burst onto the major scene with a victory in his first major start as a professional in 1997, he looked destined to break every Masters record there is. After his 4th place last year he surpassed Arnie’s record, yet its becoming increasingly unlikely he’ll ever match Jack’s.
3. Arnold Palmer – winner 1958, 1960, 1962, 1964 (12 top tens)
The King is a big part of Augusta, his royal status is courtesy of winning four times in a seven year period between 1958-64. In fact he beats even Jack’s record of consecutive top tens with 11 of them between 1957-67.
4. Gary Player – winner 1961, 1974, 1978 (15 top tens)
The Black Knight loved winning the Masters, he was the first overseas player to do so and went on to dominate the 1960s alongside Nicklaus and Palmer. His most successful decade was the 1970s where he matched Nicklaus’s two wins despite competing at a time when the Bear stood tallest.
5. Jimmy Demaret – winner 1940, 1947, 1950 (8 top tens)
The Wardrobe entertained the crowds at Augusta during the 1940s and 50s. Its unfortunate that the black and white television cameras of the day didn’t pick up on his bright custom-made clothing, or his witty repertoire. Demaret was the first three-time winner of The Masters and was a well-loved character at by the patrons of Augusta even through to the end of the 1960s.
Coming up in next week’s blog is Part 2, which includes a couple of surprises, can you guess who they might be?
If you find yourself watching the Masters and haven’t yet dusted off your golf clubs. Or perhaps your spikes are still flecked in last year’s mud, then perhaps you might want to consider heading South and paying us a visit in Cabo sometime. You can enjoy sunny weather all year round on one of the finest courses anywhere in the world. Give us a call on 520-509-9040 to discover why every day here is a golf day.