The Greatest Players at The Masters
The Masters is one of the most revered sporting tournaments on the planet, mythologised by players, pundits and fans alike. History and legend seeps out from every hole, helping to add to the allure of a tournament that brings together the world’s greatest players at one course each year.
The most common 2021 odds to win Masters has been for the 2020 champion Dustin Johnson to retain the Green Jacket, however as history proves, that may be a difficult feat for the current world number 1.
However, instead of concerning ourselves with whether or not Dustin Johnson can win the 2021 Masters, in this article we look back at some of the greatest players to have ever graced the tournament. The players that have written themselves into the long and illustrious history of the Augusta course.
Green Jackets: 0
It might appear odd to see an entry on this list from a player that never won The Masters, but without Bobby Jones there would not be a tournament to discuss. Born in 1902 in Atlanta, Georgia Jones would go on to become one of the greatest amateur players of all-time – winning a unique single year Grand Slam in 1930.
His place in history wasn’t sealed by his exploits on the golf course however, it was sealed by his creation of The Masters tournament. Along with private financier Clifford Roberts, Jones founded The Masters in 1933, using his well-earned reputation to attract the biggest names in the sport to the tournament.
Sadly for Jones though, his best finish in his own tournament was 13th in 1934 although it was perhaps only fair that he gave someone else a chance after dominating the sport for much of the 1920s.
Green Jackets: 4
It’s hard to think of golf’s greatest players without calling Arnold Palmer to mind, the legendary player who recorded 12 top 10 finishes and 4 wins at Augusta in a 12 year period.
In 1958 heavy rains at Augusta prompted a local rule which allowed for a lift, clean and drop for an embedded ball. When Palmer took to the 12th tee his ball was embedded on the soft ground, but rules officials insisted that he play the ball as it lay.
He did and made a five, officials then told him he could play a second ball and await a final ruling. With the second ball he made a three which officials later ruled to be proper, leading to his first ever Masters victory.
Sports Illustrated writer Herbert Warren Wind who was covering the tournament later christened the 11th, 12th and 13th holes as ‘Amen Corner’ for the miraculous way in which Palmer excelled on them. Throughout the decades the name has stuck with yells of ‘Amen’ coming from the crowd whenever the ball approaches the hole.
ESPN pay tribute to Arnold Palmer’s Masters Legacy
Green Jackets: 5
Arnold Palmer’s performance at Augusta may have spawned a new name for a corner of the course, but Tiger Wood’s exploits at the course in the early 2000s led to a complete course redesign.
Such was the power of Tiger that in the late 1990s and early 2000s he was turning the Par 5’s at Augusta into Par 4’s. In response, officials added an extra 500 yards to the length of course and added trees alongside the fairways at the 11th and 15th holes.
Despite this Tiger went on to win the 2005 tournament before a fallow period at Augusta began which coincided with his off the course personal problems. However, in 2019 Tiger rolled back the years, winning his fifth Green Jacket and cementing his name in the course’s folklore.
He is also the youngest ever winner of the tournament, picking up his first Green Jacket at the age of 21 years and 104 days in 1997.
Green Jackets: 3
Born in Ashwood, Virginia Sam Snead is one of the greatest players to have ever played the game, racking up a series of tournament victories in his illustrious career. In 1949 he became the first Masters winner to be awarded the ceremonial Green Jacket.
Prior to then, the Green Jacket was worn by players to distinguish themselves from members of the public. However, in 1949 it was decided that a jacket would be awarded to the winner which they could keep for a year before returning it and placing it on the back of the next winner.
Snead went on to win the Green Jacket in 1952 and 1954 and was chosen to hit the honorary starting tee shot at the Masters Tournament from 1984 to 2002.
Green Jackets: 6
No player in history has won as many Masters Tournaments as Jack Nicklaus who placed first in 1963, 1965, 1966, 1972, 1975 and 1986. His 18 Major championship wins mean that he is widely considered by many to have been the greatest player that has ever lived.
His consistency is what separates him from his peers, which is illustrated by his Masters top 5 finishes (15), top 10 finishes (22) and top 25 finishes (29).
He is also the oldest player to have ever won The Masters, romping to victory in 1986 at the age of 46 years and 82 days.
Green Jackets: 3
63-year-old Brit Nick Faldo has 6 Major championships to his name with 3 of them coming at Augusta in 1989, 1990 and 1996. By becoming a back-to-back winner in 1990 he cemented his name in the legend of Augusta.
Nationality: South African
Green Jackets: 3
With 3 Green Jackets Gary Player is joint with Nick Faldo for the most Masters wins by a foreigners after winning in 1961, 1974 and 1978. After finishing his professional career, Player went on to make a name for himself as one of the world’s leading golf course design architects.
Green Jackets: 3
For some players Augusta holds a special place in their hearts and that is certainly true for Jimmy Demaret who’s 3 Major championships all came at The Masters. In 1983 his golfing talent was recognised as he was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame.
Who are the early contenders to make the World Series in 2023?
Opening Day is fast approaching. With pitchers and catchers reporting to major league camps across Arizona and Florida this week, baseball is officially back and for the first time since 2019, we have a full spring training ahead of us. The start of camp means a first chance to view stars such as Jacob deGrom, Justin Verlander and Trea Turner in their new uniforms, and this year we’ll get to see MLB’s 2023 rule changes in action. To no one’s surprise, the reigning World Series Champion Astros are the team to beat heading into 2023. The Houston outfit will be looking to secure back-to-back World Series titles for the first time since the Yankees achieved the feat in the laste-90s. But can anyone knock the seemingly unbeatable Astros off their perch and stop them from laying their hands on the Commissioner’s trophy once again? Here’s our look at what to expect from some of the top contenders in the 2023 MLB season.
Astros the favourites to defend their title
The reigning-champion Houston Astros are the current favorites to take home the 2023 World Series title, but do they really have enough to repeat? The bookies would have you believing they do. Even in a loaded AL West, the Astros are priced as a two-dollar favorite to emerge as the division winner, so expectations are still sky-high at Minute Maid Park. Those wanting to bet on the 2023 MLB season should look across various US betting sites before they do. Having lost Justin Verlander this offseason, the Astros’ season will likely boil down to how well they can replace this era-defining pitcher. Their new-look top three of Framber Valdez, Cristian Javier, and Lance McCullers possess all the necessary tools and should be more than formidable enough to mitigate his departure. Houston’s lineup looks to be even more lethal this season, signing 2020 AL MVP José Abreu to a three-year deal to shore up their lone hole at first base. Houston ended last season ranking second in the AL in isolated power and strike-rate. Michael Brantley’s return from a right shoulder injury that cut his 2022 season short is a welcomed sight. The Astros look poised to win the AL West for a sixth time in seven seasons and with it make a fourth trip to the World Series in five years.
New York Yankees the most likely to challenge Astros dominance
The New York Yankees last won the World Series in 2009, going more than a decade without even winning the American League pennant. For the most successful franchise in MLB history, short trips to the postseason have become the norm as of late and that is a trend the Yankees will look to buck. Thankfully for New York fans they have retained the services of MVP hitter Aaron Judge into this year while adding Cy Young candidate Carlos Rodon to a six-year $162million deal. This will give them the best possible chance to replicate their immense offensive output from last year while adding some much-needed depth to the dugout. Finding stability outside of Judge is a must, as Anthony Rizzo, Josh Donaldson, and Giancarlo Stanton need to provide some protection in the middle of the lineup. There’s a chance the Yankees claim one of the three wild-card spots with the AL East being such a deep division, but still, the Yankees have more than enough pieces to make a run into October. The Yankees had a very strong start to the season in 2022, followed by a slump in the second half that culminated in an ALCS defeat to eventual World Series champions Astros. If these signings are anything to go by, they are ready to end the drought.
New York Mets are the best of the rest
Over on the other side of town, the Mets at Citi Field have been making a lot of noise this offseason. The last two seasons, the Mets had the National League East title well within reach late in the season, and both times they let it slip away to the Braves. For the second straight offseason, the Mets responded to that disappointment by spending a bunch of money on very good players. They enter the year with a slightly improved and much more expensive roster looking to finally take home that elusive NL East crown for the first time since 2015. So far this Winter, the Mets have signed Justin Verlander, José Quintana, David Robertson, Kodai Senga, Omar Narváez, and Carlos Correa. Brandon Nimmo, Edwin Diaz, and Adam Ottavino have also been re-signed, which puts the Mets’ total outlay this offseason at $806.1 million; the most money ever spent by a team in a single offseason. Their intentions are clear, they’re here to win this year, and they have taken all the necessary steps to ensure they do just that. Having said that, the NL East was probably the most active division in the offseason for signings and the question remains whether they would have done enough to pose a credible threat to the Yankees’ or Astros’ World Series ambitions. At the very least though they will be competing for a divisional title.
San Diego hoping to silence the doubters
Given how complete San Diego’s roster is coupled with the fact they advanced to last season’s NLCS, it’s a bit surprising to see the Padres priced at only +1000. Sure, oddsmakers are still expecting a successful season with the Padres boasting the sixth-best odds to win the 2023 Fall Classic, but a +750 price tag is more in line with this team’s ceiling. The San Diego Padres lost the NLCS in five games to the Philadelphia Phillies, but three of the four losses were decided by two runs or fewer. While San Diego struck out on landing Aaron Judge, it dramatically improved its lineup depth with Matt Carpenter and Nelson Cruz. Keep in mind, San Diego is already making up for the Fernando Tatís Jr. suspension with perennial All-Star hitter Xander Bogaerts sliding in at shortstop. Tatís Jr. should be at peak form long before the playoff race, giving San Diego a lineup with multiple NL MVP candidates and excellent depth, with a strong rotation and excellent bullpen backing them. If there’s ever a time the Padres dethrone the Dodgers and claim the NL West regular season title, now’s the time, and past that, why not dream of a visit to the Fall classic?
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