It’s hard to win a green jacket. Just ask Greg Norman, whose heartbreaking meltdowns at the tournament provided the enduring images of his professional career. Win more than one Masters and you join an elite fraternity of just 16 golfers who have tasted multiple victories at Augusta National.
Eight golfers have won the first major of PGA Tour season twice, including Byron Nelson, Ben Hogan, Tom Watson, Seve Ballesteros, Ben Crenshaw, and Jose Maria Olazabal. Of course, there is one golfer who has won more green jackets than any other participant since the tournament was first played in 1934.
Who is the man in question, and who else is on our list of the eight golfers with the most green jackets? Continue reading to find out.
8. Phil Mickelson: 3 Green Jackets (2004, 2006, 2010)
It took Phil Mickelson a while to win his first Masters. Mickelson, long the “best golfer without a major victory,” secured his initial green jacket at the age of 33.
Mickelson famously holed an 18-footer on the 18th hole to beat Ernie Els by a stroke and leapt in the air, arms outstretched in celebration.
In 2006, there were no final-hole theatrics. Mickelson was simply the best man in the field all week. The left-hander cruised two a two-stroke victory that would have been three, had he not bogeyed the final hole due to a conservative “I’ve got this thing in the bag” approach.
Showing no signs of the nerves and shaky clutch putting that plagued him in majors early in his career, Mickelson got around Augusta National with a bogey-free 67 in the final round of the 2010 Masters to beat Lee Westwood by three strokes and secure his third green jacket.
7. Nick Faldo: 3 Green Jackets (1989, 1990, 1996)
Nick Faldo is one of three back-to-back Masters champions. The Englishman won the tournament in 1989 and then again the following year.
Faldo’s win in 1989 may be more accurately called “Scott Hoch’s loss.” Hoch missed a two-foot putt on his first playoff hole with Faldo that would have won the tournament. On the next playoff hole, Faldo holed a 25-foot putt for his first green jacket.
The next year, Faldo again won in a playoff, this time over Raymond Floyd. Sir Nick’s final Masters triumph came in 1996, where he was the beneficiary of Greg Norman‘s meltdown over the closing holes at Augusta.
6. Gary Player: 3 Green Jackets (1961, 1974, 1978)
Gary Player bested Arnold Palmer, and amateur Charles Coe at the 1961 Masters with a winning score of 280. Palmer had a 15-foot birdie at the final hole to win but ended up making bogey, handing the tournament to the South African.
In ’74, Player captured a Masters Tournament Jack Nicklaus was expected to win. The South African beat both Tom Weiskopf and Dave Stockton by two strokes to capture the $35,000 first prize, as well as his second green jacket.
Player’s final green jacket came in 1974. The then two-time champion entered the final round at Augusta trailing by seven strokes. Thanks to seven birdies over the course of the final 10 holes, including an 18-footer at the final hole, Player was able to capture his third and final green jacket.
5. Sam Snead: 3 Green Jackets (1949, 1952, 1954)
The first time the Augusta National Golf Club gave a green jacket to a winner was in 1949, and that winner was one Samuel Jackson Snead. Snead began the tournament with pedestrian rounds of 73 and 75. However, a pair of weekend 67s gave the West Virginian his first Masters title.
Ben Hogan and Sam Snead were tied for the lead heading into the final round of the 1952 Masters. With a resolute 72 in the final round, Snead managed to outlast all other challengers and secure his second Masters title. Sam Snead’s final Masters victory came in 1954 after a spectacular duel with Ben Hogan.
4. Jimmy Demaret: 3 Green Jackets (1940, 1947, 1950)
Many golf fans today don’t recognize the name Jimmy Demaret and that’s a shame.
Demaret was twice as good as anyone else in the field during the 1940 Masters. His eight under tally bested second-place finisher Lloyd Mangrum by four strokes.
In 1947, Demaret joined Byron Nelson and Horton Smith as two-time Masters winners. He wasn’t spectacular in any one round, but four consecutive rounds under par got the job done. Demaret became the first three-time winner in the tournament’s history with a win in 1950. The Texas native was also the beneficiary of Bobby Jones’ decision to increase the winner’s share to $12,000 from $10,000.
3. Tiger Woods: 4 Green Jackets (1997, 2001, 2002, 2005)
Tiger Woods‘ 1997 win at Augusta National is certainly his most notable. The 21-year-old fulfilled his awesome promise with a 12-stroke victory. Woods won the Masters again four years later, completing the “Tiger Slam” in the process. He’d won the previous season’s U.S. Open, Open Championship, and PGA Championship. The two-stroke victory at Augusta over David Duval made him the first man to hold all four major trophies at the same time since Bobby Jones.
It didn’t take long for Tiger to win another green jacket, as he was victorious the very next year. A final-round 71 was good enough to beat Retief Goosen by three. The striped one’s most recent Masters victory came in 2005. You know, the one where he did this.
2. Arnold Palmer: 4 Green Jackets (1958, 1960, 1962, 1964)
From 1958 to 1964, Arnold Palmer liked his Masters wins every other year. Palmer’s first Masters victory came in 1958 despite a final-round 73. In addition to being noted as the tournament in which Palmer won his first green jacket, the 1958 Masters also marked the introduction of the phrase “Amen Corner” into the golfing lexicon, when scribe Herbert Warren Wind penned the phrase.
Two years later, the Pennsylvania native again earned himself the green jacket. A 70 in the final round placed Palmer a stroke ahead of Ken Venturi. In 1962, Palmer added a third green jacket to his closet, as well as a fourth and final Masters trophy two years later in 1964.
1. Jack Nicklaus: 6 Green Jackets (1963, 1965, 1966, 1972, 1975, 1986)
Only one golfer in the near-80-year history of the Masters Tournament has won five or more green jackets. That golfer is Jack Nicklaus.
Nicklaus won his first Masters in 1963. He holed a short putt on the 72nd hole of the competition to finish at two-under, one stroke ahead of Tony Lema. Only Nicklaus and Lema were under par for the week. Like Arnold Palmer, Nicklaus won his second Masters two years later. The Golden Bear’s third major win came the very next year. At the 1966 Masters, Nicklaus beat Tommy Jacobs and Gay Brewer in an 18-hole playoff.
After wins in 1972 and 1975, Nickalus seemed finished winning majors (or PGA Tour events of any kind, really) when he showed up at the 1986 Masters. Nicklaus, who wasn’t expected to make the cut, hung around the first page of the leaderboard through three rounds. On Sunday, a remarkable final round 65 (including a spectacular back nine 30) earned him a record sixth green jacket. Nicklaus was 46. He remains the second-oldest major winner in golf history.