The Masters Tournament® has a long-lived legacy as one of golf’s most prestigious tournaments. Starting back in 1934 and progressing on today, Augusta National® has seen many champions walk onto its course.
These Green Jacket Champions are nothing short of legendary, and as we count down to The Masters® 2019 we will uncover the story behind them all.
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Seve Ballesteros knew during his upbringing that he could make a difference in how European golfers were perceived, but no one could have predicted how quickly he would do it. The Spaniard sent shock waves around the golfing world in 1976 when he finished second at The Open at the age of 19, and only gained momentum from there. Ballesteros became one of the biggest names in golf for over two decades, winning five major championships (three wins at The Open and two at The Masters), 50 European titles and was even named the World No.1 on several occasions. He didn't just find success for his country, but also for his continent by leading the European Ryder Cup squad to five victories.
And while Ballesteros had a trophy room that would capture the envy of any golfer, it was who he was beating, rather than what he was winning, that meant the most to him.
Unfortunately, the Spanish legend passed away in 2011 at the age of 54 due to brain cancer.
The Masters®, 1980
For the first 48 years of The Masters, the coveted Green Jacket had eluded the entire continent of Europe. For years, Europeans from all around the landmass traveled across the Atlantic to try and make their mark at Augusta, but every one of them fell flat. That is, however, before a 23-year old Seve Ballesteros came storming into Georgia in 1980.
Ballesteros ran through the competition and never looked back. He sat atop the leaderboard heading into Sunday with a seven-stroke edge over the field. He extended his lead to ten strokes on the front nine, but then had to hang on for dear life on the back half of the course. He saw his lead cut to three strokes after the 13th hole, but regrouped to finish the day at par and earn his first Green Jacket with a four-stroke victory.
At 23, Ballesteros became the youngest Green Jacket winner before a 21-year old Tiger Woods took that title from him in 1997.
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