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.
Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, Gary Player entered the world of professional golf at the age of 17. He played his first round of golf at the young age of 14 and the more he played during his teenage years the more he was determined to become one of the greatest in the game of golf. In 1974, he was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Game and in the year 2000, Player was named “Sportsman of the Century” in South Africa.
In addition to being a legend on the golf course, he also contributed to the creation of golf courses, executing over 300 projects in 35 countries on 5 continents. Throughout his career, Gary Player had many professional wins including two PGA Championships, two Open Championships, and one U.S. Open, in addition to three total Masters Tournament wins. 16 years ago, Player participated in his final Masters Tournament but it was the 1961 Masters that really left a mark on his career.
The Masters®, 1961
Arnold Palmer took the lead during the first two rounds of the 1961 tournament and it wasn’t until the third round that Gary Player took control. Player had a four-shot lead over Palmer but had to wait a day to play the final round due to heavy rain.
It wasn’t until the 15th hole that Player gave up his lead and Arnold Palmer took it back on the back nine as Gary Player found the par-5’s difficult. Palmer’s confidence got the best of him on the 18th hole and he had to make a 15-foot putt to avoid a bogey and a playoff. Palmer missed the shot and Gary Player became the first international golfer to wear a Green Jacket.
The Masters®, 1974
Winning two strokes ahead of Dave Stockton and Tom Weiskopf, Gary Player clinched his second win at The Masters® 10 under. Due to a leg and abdominal injury, Player did not participate in The Masters Golf Tournament® in 1973, but came back in full force for the 1974 tournament. Tommy Aaron, the 1973 champion missed the cut by two strokes. Player solidified his two-stroke win on the 17th hole with a tap-in birdie.
The Masters®, 1978
Gary Player ended the first round of the tournament tied for tenth. The weather at Augusta National® in 1978 was uncharacteristically warm and threw many golfers off. Player overcame a seven shot deficit to achieve his third and final win at The Masters® at a record-tying 64 (-8). He had to wait over 40 minutes to find out he won and to be crowned The Masters Champion 1978 for the third time. During the final round he shot a 30 on the back nine, holing seven puts ranging from 10 and 30 feet. His final shot on the 18th hole was a 15 foot putt for birdie, setting him up to be the 1978 champion!
Secure Access to The Masters® 2019
Choose from grounds access to practice or tournament rounds or both and round out your experience with one of these incredible hospitality options! In addition, you can add local hotel accommodations and get everything you need for the perfect trip in one stop. Make your experience to the one of the world’s most prestigious golf tournaments, one you’ll never forget and start planning today!