Top 10 biggest Masters comebacks of all time
Jack Burke Jr. could be an inspiration in Round 4 of The Masters. Here’s why, as we rank the 10 greatest comebacks in Masters history.
Only one thing is certainly heading into the remainder of the Masters: Those three tall pine trees on the 17th hole that came down in bad weather are not making a comeback. Unless being converted into pine straw qualifies as a comeback.
And if Brooks Koepka is able to increase his big lead after going 65-67 in the first two rounds, those looking up at him on the leaderboard may choose to draw inspiration from Jack Burke Jr., who had only 15 minutes to warm up at Augusta National in 1956 after attending church that morning.
He was eight shots behind amateur Ken Venturi Jr., and whatever prayer he said that morning worked out nicely. Burke shot a 71 (−1) Sunday and was one of only two players to break par in the final round. He rallied from eight shots back to pass Venturi, who had led the entire tournament but shot 6-over on the final nine holes to lose by one stroke. It was the biggest comeback in Masters history.
How many players play in the Masters?
This year’s tournament began with 88 Masters players competing for the green jacket, and the cut line was 3-over, the exact number Tiger Wood finished his round of 73 in the ring. All those who made the cut will not be out of contention if history is used as a guide.
How many holes are there in the Masters?
There are 18 holes that each have a specific name, beginning with Tea Olive (No. 1) and ending with Holly (No. 18). If we are going to have drama when this thing is all said and done, which could be Monday or Tuesday if Mother Nature is uncooperative, Holly will be only slightly more critical than Nandina (No. 17) and Redbud (No. 16).
Who has won the most Masters?
Jack Nicklaus holds the record with six Masters victories, a number that Woods has been chasing since he won his fifth green jacket in 2019. Arnold Palmer has four, and nobody else has more than three.
Ranking the Top 10 Biggest Masters Comebacks of all time
- 1978 Masters Tournament - Gary Player:
The South African trailed Hubert Green by seven shots after three rounds, but a brilliant 64 included seven birdies in his final 10 holes. Tom Watson bogeyed the 72nd hole to miss out on a playoff.
- 1979 Masters Tournament - Fuzzy Zoeller
He came from six back to shoot 8-under and got into a playoff after Ed Sneed bogeyed the final three holes. Zoeller birdied No. 11 from 6 feet to win.
- 1936 Masters Tournament - Horton Smith
The final two rounds were played Monday. On the back nine of the final round, Smith chipped in for birdie from 50 feet at the 14th hole, birdied 15, then parred out to win after starting the day trailing by six strokes. Harry Cooper led after each of the first three rounds but shot 76 in the final round.
- 1956 Masters Tournament - Art Wall Jr.
Wall Jr. started the final round six strokes behind the leaders, in a tie for 13th place, but shot a final-round 66 (−6) with birdies on five of the last six holes.
- 1985 Masters Tournament - Bernhard Langer Jr.
Curtis Strange led by three strokes with six holes to play but made key bogeys at 13 and 15 when his attempts to reach both greens in two shots found water. Langer birdied four of the last seven holes to win.
- 1978 Masters Tournament - Gary Player.
The player trailed Hubert Green by seven strokes, and Green shot even par in the last round, while Player shot 8-under to win. Perhaps the biggest Masters upset ever.
- 2011 Masters Tournament - Charl Schwartzel
Rory McIlroy dropped six shots in three holes from 10 through 12, and Schwartzel emerged as the champion thanks to birdies on the final four holes that gave him a two-shot victory Jason Day and Adam Scott.
- 1996 Masters Tournament - Nick Faldo
After beginning the day down by 6, Faldo had a closing birdie for a 67 and beat Greg Norman by 11 strokes to win by five. This is also known as the biggest Masters choke in history.
- 1956 Masters Tournament - Jack Burke Jr.
Venturi took a four-shot lead into the final day but posted six bogeys in a seven-hole stretch around the turn, allowing Burke to pull level with two holes to play. Burke made a 15-foot birdie at the 17th and then got up and down from the bunker to save par at the last. It was the biggest comeback in Masters history.
- 1986 Masters Tournament – Jack Nicklaus
In one of the most memorable and exciting final rounds in Masters history, five different players held at least a share of the lead in the final round. Nicklaus birdied 9, 10, and 11 and began his legendary charge at 15 with an eagle to pull within two. He then birdied 16 and 17 and parred 18, winning when Greg Norman missed an 18-foot par putt at the final hole.
Parameters of Rankings
Everyone’s top 10 is different, but what we went for here were memorable moments and drama as we did in our Masters predictions column. Hopefully, there will be plenty more this weekend.
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