The Masters Tournament is one of the most prestigious and iconic events in the world of golf. Every year, the world’s best golfers gather at the Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia, USA, to compete for the coveted Green Jacket and a place in golf history. In this article, we will take a deep dive into the illustrious past of the Masters Tournament, paying tribute to its champions and recounting some of the most memorable moments in the tournament’s history.
The Early Years of the Masters Tournament
Founding and First Edition
The Masters Tournament was founded in 1934 by Bobby Jones and Clifford Roberts, who envisioned a championship that would attract the best golfers from around the world. The inaugural edition of the Masters Tournament took place from March 22 to 25, 1934, and was won by Horton Smith, who posted a score of 284 (-4) to claim the first-ever title.
The 1930s Champions
Following Horton Smith’s victory in the first Masters, the tournament saw a string of memorable winners throughout the decade. The list of champions in the 1930s includes:
- 1935: Gene Sarazen
- 1936: Horton Smith (second victory)
- 1937: Byron Nelson
- 1938: Henry Picard
- 1939: Ralph Guldahl
The Golden Age: Masters Champions of the 1940s and 1950s
The 1940s: War and a New Generation of Golfers
The 1940s witnessed a new generation of golfers emerging as Masters champions, while World War II led to the cancellation of the tournament from 1943 to 1945. The decade’s list of Masters champions is as follows:
- 1940: Jimmy Demaret
- 1941: Craig Wood
- 1942: Byron Nelson (second victory)
- 1946: Herman Keiser
- 1947: Jimmy Demaret (second victory)
- 1948: Claude Harmon
- 1949: Sam Snead
The 1950s: The Rise of the Big Three
The 1950s saw the rise of golf’s “Big Three” – Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, and Gary Player – who would go on to dominate the world of golf for decades. The list of Masters champions in the 1950s includes:
- 1950: Jimmy Demaret (third victory)
- 1951: Ben Hogan
- 1952: Sam Snead (second victory)
- 1953: Ben Hogan (second victory)
- 1954: Sam Snead (third victory)
- 1955: Cary Middlecoff
- 1956: Jack Burke Jr.
- 1957: Doug Ford
- 1958: Arnold Palmer
- 1959: Art Wall Jr.
The Modern Era: Masters Champions from the 1960s to Today
The 1960s: The Golden Age Continues
The 1960s saw the Big Three continue to shine at Augusta National, as well as the emergence of other notable golfers. The list of Masters champions during this decade includes:
- 1960: Arnold Palmer (second victory)
- 1961: Gary Player
- 1962: Arnold Palmer (third victory)
- 1963: Jack Nicklaus
- 1964: Arnold Palmer (fourth victory)
- 1965: Jack Nicklaus (second victory)
- 1966: Jack Nicklaus (third victory)
- 1967: Gay Brewer
- 1968: Bob Goalby
- 1969: George Archer
The 1970s: A Decade of Memorable Moments
The 1970s saw a variety of golfers claiming the coveted Green Jacket, with several unforgettable finishes and historic milestones. The list of Masters champions during this decade includes:
- 1970: Billy Casper
- 1971: Charles Coody
- 1972: Jack Nicklaus (fourth victory)
- 1973: Tommy Aaron
- 1974: Gary Player (second victory)
- 1975: Jack Nicklaus (fifth victory)
- 1976: Raymond Floyd
- 1977: Tom Watson
- 1978: Gary Player (third victory)
- 1979: Fuzzy Zoeller
The 1980s: A New Generation of Golf Legends
The 1980s saw the emergence of golf legends like Seve Ballesteros and Nick Faldo, as well as the continued dominance of players like Tom Watson and Jack Nicklaus. The list of Masters champions during this decade includes:
- 1980: Seve Ballesteros
- 1981: Tom Watson (second victory)
- 1982: Craig Stadler
- 1983: Seve Ballesteros (second victory)
- 1984: Ben Crenshaw
- 1985: Bernhard Langer
- 1986: Jack Nicklaus (record sixth victory)
- 1987: Larry Mize
- 1988: Sandy Lyle
- 1989: Nick Faldo
The 1990s: The Rise of Tiger Woods
The 1990s saw the arrival of one of the greatest golfers of all time, Tiger Woods, who won his first Masters in 1997. The list of Masters champions during this decade includes:
- 1990: Nick Faldo (second victory)
- 1991: Ian Woosnam
- 1992: Fred Couples
- 1993: Bernhard Langer (second victory)
- 1994: José María Olazábal
- 1995: Ben Crenshaw (second victory)
- 1996: Nick Faldo (third victory)
- 1997: Tiger Woods
- 1998: Mark O’Meara
- 1999: José María Olazábal (second victory)
The 2000s: A New Millennium of Masters Champions
The new millennium brought a mix of familiar faces and rising stars to the winner’s circle at Augusta National. The list of Masters champions during this decade includes:
- 2000: Vijay Singh
- 2001: Tiger Woods (second victory)
- 2002: Tiger Woods (third victory)
- 2003: Mike Weir
- 2004: Phil Mickelson
- 2005: Tiger Woods (fourth victory)
- 2006: Phil Mickelson (second victory)
- 2007: Zach Johnson
- 2008: Trevor Immelman
- 2009: Ángel Cabrera
The 2010s: A Decade of Surprises and Comebacks
The 2010s was marked by unexpected victories and remarkable comebacks in the Masters Tournament. The list of Masters champions during this decade includes:
- 2010: Phil Mickelson (third victory)
- 2011: Charl Schwartzel
- 2012: Bubba Watson
- 2013: Adam Scott
- 2014: Bubba Watson (second victory)
- 2015: Jordan Spieth
- 2016: Danny Willett
- 2017: Sergio García
- 2018: Patrick Reed
- 2019: Tiger Woods (fifth victory)
- 2022 — Scottie Scheffler
- 2021 — Hideki Matsuyama
- 2020 — Dustin Johnson
The Masters Tournament has a long and storied history, filled with legendary champions and unforgettable moments. From the early years of the tournament to the present day, each decade has brought new legends, rivalries, and memorable victories. As we look forward to future editions of the Masters, it’s essential to remember and honor the champions and moments that have shaped this prestigious event’s history.
Frequently Asked Questions about the Masters Tournament
1. When and where is the Masters Tournament held?
The Masters Tournament is held annually in the first full week of April at the Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia, USA.
2. What is the significance of the Green Jacket?
The Green Jacket is a symbol of membership at Augusta National Golf Club and is awarded to the winner of the Masters Tournament. It represents the champion’s entry into the exclusive group of Masters winners and is worn by the champion during the following year’s tournament.
3. Who holds the record for the most Masters Tournament victories?
Jack Nicklaus holds the record for the most Masters Tournament victories with six titles, won in 1963, 1965, 1966, 1972, 1975, and 1986.
4. What is the Masters Tournament’s cut rule?
The Masters Tournament cut rule states that the top 50 players, including ties, after the first two rounds of play, along with any player within 10 strokes of the lead, advance to play the final two rounds.
5. What is Amen Corner?
Amen Corner is a nickname for the 11th, 12th, and 13th holes at Augusta National Golf Club. The name was coined by writer Herbert Warren Wind in a 1958 Sports Illustrated article. These three holes are considered some of the most challenging and iconic in golf due to their strategic layout and the potential for dramatic swings in the leaderboard.
6. Can the general public purchase tickets to the Masters Tournament?
The general public can apply for practice round tickets and a limited number of tournament tickets through the Masters Tournament’s official website. However, the demand for tickets far exceeds the supply, and a random drawing is held to determine who receives the opportunity to purchase tickets.
7. Are there any traditions associated with the Masters Tournament?
There are several long-standing traditions at the Masters Tournament, including:
- The Champions Dinner: Held on the Tuesday evening before the tournament begins, the Champions Dinner is attended by past Masters winners and the current champion, who selects the menu for the event.
- The Par 3 Contest: On the Wednesday before the tournament, a fun and relaxed Par 3 Contest is held on Augusta National’s Par 3 course, with players often accompanied by family members as caddies.
- The Ceremonial Opening Tee Shot: On Thursday morning, before the start of the first round, honorary starters (usually past champions) hit the ceremonial opening tee shots to officially begin the tournament.
8. How can I watch the Masters Tournament?
The Masters Tournament is broadcast on television and streamed online through various networks, including ESPN and CBS in the United States. International broadcasters also provide coverage of the event in their respective countries. Additionally, the official Masters website and mobile app offer live streaming and featured group coverage, along with live scoring and other tournament information.