The Masters Golf 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® 2018, we will uncover the story behind them all.
Jack “The Golden Bear” Nicklaus
Many refer to Jack Nicklaus as the greatest golfer of all time. He earned this by breaking many records during his professional golf career. He won 18 major championships and achieved three Career Grand Slams by winning The Masters®, The U.S. Open, The Open Championship and the PGA Championship. Nicklaus one his first major at the early age of 21 at the 1962 U.S. Open, defeating Arnold Palmer in an 18-hole playoff. He was the first professional golfer to win two Masters Tournament’s in a row.
Jack Nicklaus was an all-around athlete competing in basketball, football, baseball, tennis and track & field, and picked up the sport of golf at the age of 10.
The Masters®, 1963
The Masters Golf Tournament® in 1963 came right down to the wire. Jack Nicklaus won his first of six Masters with a three-foot putt on the final hole to finish one stroke ahead of runner-up Tony Lema. Nicklaus shot a 66 during the second round of the tournament, which sealed the deal on his 1963 victory. 85 golfers participated in The Masters®, 1963 and only 50 made the cut at eight over par.
Jack Nicklaus finished the tournament -2 with a purse of $20,000 and became a Green Jacket Legend.
The Masters®, 1965
Jack Nicklaus won this tournament setting a record at the time of 271, 17 under. It was equaled in 1976 but wasn't surpassed until 1997 by Tiger Woods. He won by the largest winning margin at the time of nine strokes ahead of Arnold Palmer. "The Big Three" were tied for the lead after 36 holes, Nicklaus, Palmer and Gary Player.
The Masters®, 1966
Nicklaus won his third Masters Tournament in an 18-hole Monday playoff with Tommy Jacobs and Gary Brewer. At the end of the playoff, Nicklaus won two strokes ahead of Jacobs. His win this year made him the first professional golfer to become a back to back Masters champion. Three months following The Masters® 1966, Nicklaus completed his first of three career grand slams at The Open Championship.
The Masters®, 1972
Jack Nicklaus took the 1972 tournament wire-to-wire to win three strokes ahead of the three runners-up. This would be his tenth of 18 major titles throughout his career and later that year he went on to win the U.S. Open. Nicklaus became the third wire-to-wire winner after Craig Wood in 1941 and Arnold Palmer in 1960.
The Masters®, 1975
The 1975 Masters Tournament was widely known as one of the greatest tournaments in its history. It was the last year that a potential 18-hole playoff could have been played, before the 1976 sudden-death format went into effect. This year brought Nicklaus his fifth Masters win, making him the first and only golfer to achieve this.
The Masters®, 1986
Jack Nicklaus won his sixth and final Masters Tournament with an historic one-stroke victory. At the age of 46 he became the oldest winner of The Masters® and the second oldest to win any major championship. The winners share for the 1986 tournament was $144,000, seven times more than the earnings Nicklaus received after his first Masters win.
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