Golf season is in full swing. Although golf tournaments tend to be associated with long awaited excitement, followed by Sunday afternoon naps, there is one tournament each year that has sports fans buzzing: the Masters. A great tournament to kick start your golf knowledge, the Masters is one of the biggest of the PGA Tour.
Held each year at the infamous Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia, the Masters opens up the golf season for the summer and inspires golfers worldwide to hit the range. But for professional golfers, there's just something special about the Masters tournament -- and the prize waiting at the end is a big part of it.
You may be imagining a briefcase full of bills at the very least, but arguably the most recognizable prize on the PGA Tour is the Masters' famous Green Jacket, awarded to the tournament champion each year. The Green Jacket has been worn by the best of the best and it reigns as the ultimate symbol of golfing greatness.
So what does it take to have the jacket draped over a golfer's shoulders? Find out in this countdown of some of the top finishes from the Masters, brought to you by The Gal's Got Game.
Sam Snead, 1952
It was a whirlwind experience at the Masters in 1952, literally and figuratively. With strong winds whipping across the course throughout the tournament, each golfer's score was higher than normally expected. Sam Snead, or Slammin' Sam as he would later be called, was the only golfer to finish under par that year and claimed the Green Jacket. To this day, that windy rendition of the Masters remains one of the few times only one golfer has scored below par.
Arnold Palmer, 1960
Arnold Palmer, nicknamed "The King" in his time, showed the most exceptional stamina and confidence in the back end of Augusta's tricky course in 1960. Coming from behind, he birdied the last two holes to win the Green Jacket by just one stroke. His victory was a popular one at the time as fans viewed Palmer as the first superstar of golf's television age.
Jack Nicklaus, 1966
On this year in Masters' action, three players ended up forcing a three-way tie for the lead, which added an extra 18 holes of golf! It was Jack Nicklaus who came out on top but that only added to the excitement. The game marked Nicklaus' second straight win at the Masters and made him the only repeat champion at the time. Nicklaus went on to win the Masters six times in his career, a tournament record.
Tiger Woods, 2005
It's not surprising that this name makes the list, as Tiger Woods has won the Masters a whopping four times, but his most recent win was by far his most memorable. After losing a four-stroke lead during the final round, Woods faced a playoff hole against Chris DiMarco. On the 18th green, Tiger Woods made a historic 15 foot putt that sat on the edge of the hole for a second while the world held its breath, and then fell into the cup to absolute uproar from the crowd. You need to see it to believe it!
Charl Schwartzel, 2011
The 2011 Masters is referred to by just about everyone with two simple words: Crazy Eights. Viewers, broadcasters, and golfers everywhere were stunned as eight golfers were tied going into the last nine holes. It was literally anyone's game and the level of depth on the course this particular year was a rare and marvelous sight. Despite the tight race to the Green Jacket, it was Charl Schwartzel who came out on top.
The 2014 Masters will swing into action this weekend, but it's just the beginning of an exciting summer of tournaments featuring some of golf's best from around the world. Now that you know your stuff about the Masters, be sure to follow The Gal's Got Game to stay up to be speed with other PGA and LPGA tournaments.
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