Since the first playing of the Masters Tournament in 1934 there have been 46 different winners. Here and there the Masters has had a champion that did not have a stellar career away from Augusta National, but for the most part the Masters Tournament has been won by the greats of the game.
Let us start with the best golfers of all-time. Jack Nicklaus won six Masters championships. From his first title in 1963 to his final thrilling victory in 1986, the Golden Bear left an indelible mark on Augusta National. Tiger Woods has won four Green Jackets in his career and he has his eye on this Nicklaus record too. One can have quite a discussion about Jack versus Tiger, but everyone must agree that they are two of the greatest Masters champions of all time. With 10 combined titles it would be hard to deny that fact.
Another all-time great champion, that also has four Masters titles, is Arnold Palmer. South Africa's Gary Player won three Masters titles including the first won by an international golfer. There was a stretch from the late '50s through the mid '60s where every Masters title, with the exception of one, was captured by Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer or Gary Player. That is dominance by three legends.
England's Nick Price won three Green Jackets. Spain's Seve Ballesteros claimed two Masters titles, becoming only the second non-American to win the Masters. Phil Mickelson, while playing in the shadow of Tiger Woods, has three Green Jackets to his credit. Before Nicklaus, Player and Palmer the patrons at Augusta National witnessed Sam Snead, Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson each capture multiple Masters titles. These three men are all legends of the game.
If there were a Mount Rushmore of the world's greatest golfers that came of age since the inception of the Masters, not a figure on that mountain would not have at least one Green Jacket to his name. Of the 10 players at the top of the all-time career PGA Tour titles list nine have won Masters titles. The lone exception is Walter Hagen. I think that had the Masters begun 10 or 15 years earlier then Mr. Hagen, a great in his own right, would also have a Masters title to his name.
Dwight is an avid golfer. While still relatively new to the game, he plays as often as the weather and his schedule will allow.
More from this contributor:
- Jack Nicklaus
- Tiger Woods
- Augusta National
- Arnold Palmer