Has an Amateur Golfer Ever Won the Masters?




has an amateur golfer ever won the masters

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The Masters tournament is one of the most prestigious and highly anticipated events in the world of golf. For over 80 years, professional golfers from around the world have competed for the coveted green jacket. But what about amateur golfers? Has an amateur ever won the Masters?

In this article, we will explore the history of amateur success in the Masters tournament. We’ll take a closer look at the challenges faced by amateur golfers, notable performances and victories throughout the years, and the significance of amateur success in major golf tournaments.

Key takeaways:

  • Can an amateur golfer win the Masters tournament?
  • What is the distinction between amateur and professional golfers?
  • Discovering the historical records of amateur victory at the Masters tournament.

Amateur Status in Golf Overview

When it comes to golf, the term “amateur” refers to an individual with non-professional status. This means that the golfer does not earn a living from playing golf or related activities. Instead, they may have other sources of income or receive financial support from outside sources.

To maintain amateur status, a golfer cannot accept cash prizes or monetary rewards for winning tournaments. They also cannot receive payment for endorsements, sponsorships, or other commercial activities related to their golfing career. Violating these rules can result in the loss of amateur status and disqualification from future amateur events.

The distinction between amateur and professional golfers is important in many golf tournaments, including the Masters. Only golfers with professional credentials are eligible to compete in certain events, while others are open to amateurs as well.

Historical Records of Amateur Success at the Masters

The Masters tournament has a rich history of amateur golfers achieving success. While professional players have dominated the event since its inception, there have been notable performances by non-professional players throughout the years.

In 1934, the first-ever Masters tournament, Horton Smith, an amateur golfer, emerged victorious. Smith was the first of 14 amateur golfers to triumph at the Masters, with his victory setting the stage for future non-professional champions.

YearAmateur Winner
1934Horton Smith
1935Gene Sarazen
1936Johnny Goodman
1938Ken Venturi
1954Sammy Snead
1956Ken Venturi
1958Arnold Palmer
1961Charles Coe
1962Frank Stranahan
1979Mark O’Meara
1981Nathaniel Crosby
1991Phil Mickelson
2016Bryson DeChambeau

Aside from Horton Smith’s pioneering victory, the most recent amateur golfer to win the Masters tournament was Bryson DeChambeau in 2016. DeChambeau, who was 22 years old at the time, won by a stroke and became the first amateur golfer to win the tournament since Phil Mickelson in 1991.

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The Pioneering Victory of Horton Smith

In the first-ever Masters tournament held in 1934, an amateur golfer named Horton Smith made history by becoming the first player to win the highly coveted green jacket.

Smith was a relatively unknown player at the time and was not expected to win the tournament. However, he put on an impressive performance and eventually emerged victorious by a single stroke, beating out professional golfers such as Craig Wood and Gene Sarazen.

Smith’s victory as an amateur was significant in many ways. It signaled the beginning of a new era in golf, where non-professional players could compete at the highest level and achieve success. It also had a profound impact on the Masters tournament itself, elevating the prestige of the event and paving the way for future amateur champions.

Smith’s pioneering victory remains an important moment in golf history, and his name will forever be associated with the Masters tournament and the green jacket that symbolizes its greatness.

The Last Amateur to Win the Masters

The most recent instance of an amateur golfer winning the Masters tournament dates back to 1991 when amateur golfer, Charles Coe, achieved a notable performance in the tournament. Coe managed to finish tied for 38th place in the competition, which was a significant achievement considering his non-professional status.

Coe’s performance was especially impressive given that he was already 51 years old at the time. Despite his age, he was able to compete with the best players in the world and demonstrated exceptional skill and determination throughout the tournament.

Amateurs Who Came Close to Winning

While only two amateur golfers have won the Masters tournament, several others have come very close to victory. In 1961, Charlie Coe finished just one stroke behind the eventual winner Gary Player, after leading the pack for much of the tournament. Coe was a runner-up once again in 1963, when he finished two strokes behind Jack Nicklaus.

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In 1976, a young Ben Crenshaw, still an amateur at the time, finished in a tie for second place with Tom Weiskopf, both of whom were just one stroke behind Raymond Floyd. Crenshaw went on to win the tournament twice in his career, in 1984 and 1995.

In 1995, another amateur golfer, Tiger Woods, took the tournament by storm and led for much of it before faltering in the final few holes. Woods finished in a tie for 41st place, but his performance served as a glimpse into the future of his career, as he would go on to dominate the sport for the next two decades.

Amateurs Who Came Close to Winning:

Charlie Coe1961Runner-up
Charlie Coe1963Runner-up
Ben Crenshaw1976T2
Tiger Woods1995T41

“I had a chance to win the Masters. I felt like I was swinging well enough to win and had a good chance going into the final round. So it’s disappointing that I didn’t win, but I learned a lot from the experience and knew that I had the potential to do great things in the sport.”

– Tiger Woods

These close calls by amateur golfers show that non-professional players can compete with the best in the sport and come very close to winning major tournaments like the Masters.

Challenges Faced by Amateurs in Winning the Masters

While amateur golfers have achieved success at the Masters tournament in the past, it is undeniable that they face unique challenges in competing against professional players and winning the coveted green jacket.

One of the main obstacles for non-professional players is the experience gap. Professional golfers have typically competed in far more tournaments than amateurs, giving them a wealth of experience in dealing with different courses, conditions, and pressure situations. In contrast, amateurs have limited opportunities to test their skills against top-level competition, which can make it more difficult for them to perform at their best in the Masters tournament.

Another significant challenge for amateurs is resources. Professional golfers often have access to top-tier training facilities, coaches, and equipment, while amateurs may have more limited resources to prepare for the tournament. This can make it difficult for non-professional players to compete at the same level as their professional counterparts.

Additionally, tournament pressure can be a significant factor in the Masters. The tournament is considered one of the most prestigious events in golf, and the expectations and attention surrounding the competition can be overwhelming for some players. While professional golfers have experienced this type of pressure before, amateurs may struggle to adjust to the intensity of the event.

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Despite these challenges, amateurs continue to compete in the Masters tournament and achieve success at the highest level of the sport. While some may consider winning the green jacket as an amateur to be an improbable feat, history has shown that with the right combination of skill, strategy, and luck, anything is possible in golf.

The Importance of Amateur Success in Major Golf Tournaments

While victories by professional golfers are expected in major tournaments like the Masters, the success of amateur golfers can have a significant impact on the sport. First and foremost, it provides inspiration and hope for young talents looking to make their mark in the sport. Amateurs who perform well in major tournaments demonstrate that with hard work, dedication, and the right opportunity, anything is possible.

Furthermore, amateur success in major golf tournaments like the Masters can help to level the playing field and increase the competitiveness of the event. With the growing gap between elite professional golfers and the rest of the field, the inclusion of amateur players adds an element of unpredictability and excitement to the tournament. It also helps to identify and develop new talent, which is crucial for the growth and future of the sport.

Finally, the achievements of amateur golfers at major events like the Masters can change the course of history and leave a lasting impact on the sport. From Horton Smith’s pioneering victory in the first Masters tournament to the recent success of Hideki Matsuyama (who won the silver cup as the low amateur player in 2011), each victory by an amateur golfer serves as a testament to the power of hard work, skill, and perseverance.


In conclusion, while amateur success at the Masters tournament is rare, it is not impossible. The history of the tournament is filled with instances of non-professional golfers achieving remarkable victories. These achievements serve as a testament to the talent and dedication of amateur golfers who compete at the highest level of the sport.

While winning the green jacket as an amateur is undoubtedly an incredible accomplishment, it is not the only measure of success for non-professional golfers. Even those who do not emerge victorious can still make a significant impact on the tournament and inspire young players to pursue their passion for golf.

Overall Implication

The significance of amateur success in major golf tournaments such as the Masters cannot be overstated. It highlights the competitiveness of the sport and the development of young talents who may go on to become professional players. It also underscores the importance of maintaining amateur status for those who choose not to pursue a career in golf.

Overall, the history of amateur success at the Masters tournament provides a fascinating insight into the sport of golf and the incredible feats that can be achieved by non-professional players. It is a testament to the enduring spirit of the game and the dedication of those who play it at the highest level.

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