Top 10 Masters tournaments of all time
As we head into this weekend’s showcase tournament, Chris Sheridan reveals the 10 greatest Masters tournaments of all time.
Defending Masters champion Scottie Scheffler has chosen his menu for the Masters Champions Dinner, one of the most exclusive get-togethers in golf. In order to attend, you must have a Masters title. You cannot even get in if you are a member at Augusta. It is past Masters winners only. Sorry, Rory.
Scheffler’s dinner for past Masters winners Tuesday night will consist of four courses. First, he’ll serve cheeseburger sliders and a firecracker shrimp dish, then tortilla soup. Texas ribeye steak or blackened redfish is the main course with sides of mac & cheese, jalapeño creamed corn, fried Brussels sprouts, and seasoned fries, and dessert is a warm chocolate chip skillet cookie with “milk and cookies” ice cream.
This is one of the rewards for the Masters players who completed one of the toughest 72-hole challenges in the sport, and there already is conjecture that the dinner gathering will have a high level of tension because of the feud between LIV golfers and PGA golfers that we alluded to in our weekend column looking at the top picks, including a couple of well-priced longshots.
Where is the Masters held?
The Augusta National course first opened 90 years ago in 1933 and has been modified many times by different architects. Among the changes: greens have been reshaped and, on occasion, entirely re-designed, bunkers have been added, water hazards have been extended, new tee boxes have been built, hundreds of trees have been planted, and several mounds have been installed.
Who has the most Masters wins?
Jack Nicklaus of Columbus, Ohio, had six, Tiger Woods of Cypress, Calif., has five, Arnold Palmer of Latrobe, Pa., has four, and five golfers have three apiece, including one of this year’s entrants, Phil Mickelson of San Diego.
The tournament is the most prestigious on the PGA Tour calendar and has been held every year since 1934 except for a three-year hiatus during World War II. Dustin Johnson posted the best Masters score ever in 2020 by shooting 20 under par for a five-shot victory in a tournament played without fans present due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ranking the Top 10 Best Masters Tournaments of all time
- 1935 Masters Tournament – Gene Sarazen Gene Sarazen of Harrison, N.Y., holed out from 235 yards on the par-5 15th during the final round for a rare albatross, forcing a tie with Craig Wood. In a 36-hole playoff the following day, Sarazen prevailed.
- 1995 Masters Tournament – Ben Crenshaw One of the guys at this year’s Masters dinner will be Ben Crenshaw of Austin, Texas, who played in the ‘95 Masters shortly after attending the funeral of his mentor, Harvey Penick, where he was a pallbearer. Needing a bogey putt to win, Crenshaw rolled it in and collapsed in tears. Pure drama.
- 1956 Masters Tournament - Jack Burke
Amateur Ken Venturi took a five-shot lead into the final round but shot 80 that final day and lost by a stroke to Jack Burke Jr. of Fort Worth, Texas, who finished at +1. Masters founder Bobby Jones had always wanted to level the field between pros and amateurs, which is why there are seven amateurs in the field this week.
- 1954 Masters Tournament – Sam Snead
At the time, Sam Snead and Ben Hogan were the two top golfers in the world, and one or the other had won five of the past six Masters. They finished Sunday tied and duked it out in a Monday playoff that Snead, of Ashwood, Va., captured with a 2-under par 70 after making up a three-stroke deficit Sunday.
- 2012 Masters Tournament – Bubba Watson
Hitting a hook shot is tough. Hitting a 40-yard hook with a pitching wedge around trees is nearly impossible, but Bubba Watson of Bagdad, Fla., did it in a playoff against Louis Oosthuizen from the pine straw to set up a two-putt that won it for him.
- 1997 Masters Tournament – Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods, who was 21 and had just turned pro, opened with a 40 on the first nine holes. Done, right? No. His back nine was a 30, and he went on to shoot 66-65-69 to win by 12 strokes. It was his first Masters win and his most dominant. He became the youngest golfer to win the Masters.
- 2011 Masters Tournament – Charl Schwartzel
As we told you over the weekend in our Masters picks column, this thing will be won on the final nine Sunday. Never was that demonstrated more clearly than when Charl Schwartzel of Johannesburg, South Africa, birdied the final four holes to win after eight players had held a share of the lead on the final Sunday.
- 1987 Masters Tournament – Larry Mize
A little-known pro from Augusta, Larry Mize, chipped on from off the green for a birdie to defeat the most dominant player of the time, Greg Norman. Like Sarazen's albatross in 1935 and Bubba Watson's improbable hooked wedge shot in 2012, it is one of the most memorable shots in Masters history.
- 2001 Masters Tournament – Tiger Woods
This was the tournament in which Woods completed the Tiger Slam, winning all four majors in a single year. Woods held off David Duval, who posted a five-under 67 on Sunday and finished at 16 under par, Woods added the fourth-lowest score in Masters history.
- 1986 Masters Tournament – Jack Nicklaus
Greg Norman, Seve Ballesteros, Bernhard Langer, Nick Price, Tom Kite and Tom Watson were all ahead of Jack Nicklaus when Sunday began, but at age 46, Nicklaus had one bogey, five birdies and an eagle at No. 15 on the back nine for a six-under par 30 and his sixth green jacket.
Parameters of Rankings
Everyone’s top 10 is different, but what we went for here were memorable moments and drama. Hopefully, there will be plenty more this weekend.
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